As peer-to-peer car sharing gains popularity, it’s still a very small market. Many people are afraid to rent out their car to strangers. The logistics are sometimes complicated. And in my calculations it’s often not cheaper than a commercial rental. But I remain a big fan of this concept for airport parking. If you need to park at the airport for a few days, these companies offer you free parking and a chance to make some money renting your car out. They manage the rentals so all you have to do is drop your car off like you would at any other parking lot at the airport.
But now we have a new company expanding operations from Europe into the United States: TravelCar. They recently launched services at the San Francisco and Los Angeles airports. In April TravelCar raised €15 million for this expansion into the U.S. market. Interestingly, the fundraising came in part from MAIF, a French insurance company that is underwriting insurance policies and providing significant funding for the Guest to Guest home exchange network. MAIF is definitely making a big move into sharing economy travel.
TravelCar anticipates offering services in many U.S. cities after the initial launch at SFO and LAX. In addition to peer to peer rentals they are offering paid airport parking at relatively low rates. If you allow TravelCar to rent out your vehicle they will pay you between 7 and 21 cents per mile, depending on the age and type of car. That’s a bit less than FlightCar used to pay for my vehicle, and there is no bonus payment for excessive mileage. I don’t generally park at the airport, but with TravelCar it might make sense, especially if I need the car when I land. I will report back one I’ve had a change to try out their services.