City Attorney Files Lawsuit Against Turo, Alleges Permit Violations at SFO

San Francisco International Airport sees about 53 million travelers every year. Photo via GPS/Flickr
San Francisco International Airport sees about 53 million travelers every year. Photo via GPS/Flickr

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a lawsuit against peer-to-peer rental company Turo for operating at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) without proper permits.

Turo relinquished its airport permit effective Aug. 10, 2017, and represented that it would cease operations at the city-owned airport. However, since then, Turo has continued to operate at SFO without the requisite permits despite repeated warnings from city officials, according to a press statement from the San Francisco City Attorney's office.

SFO’s permit system helps control traffic congestion, enhances safety for travelers, and maintains airport facilities, the statement says.

As a condition of its permits, SFO requires all rental car companies to pick up or drop off customers at the Rental Car Center. Customers can travel from the terminals to the Rental Car Center via the AirTrain — a free light-rail system that connects SFO’s terminals, parking garages, Rental Car Center, and BART station.

There are two types of rental car companies that operate at SFO, “on-airport” rental car companies that lease physical space at SFO’s Rental Car Center through a competitive bidding process, and “off-airport” rental car companies, that maintain headquarters outside SFO property but target SFO travelers and use airport roadways to collect and drop off their customers.

Just like “on-airport” rental car companies, “off-airport” rental car companies must pick up their customers at the Rental Car Center instead of the terminal curbside.

Both “on-airport” and “off-airport” rental car companies are required to pay an “AirTrain fee” of $18 per rental contract, which is passed through to customers, as well as 10 percent of gross receipts above a certain threshold for SFO rental car transactions. “On-airport” rental car companies additionally pay rent to SFO to occupy space at the Rental Car Center.

The City is seeking a court order prohibiting Turo from engaging in rental car transactions at SFO; making reference to SFO on its website, mobile application, or other promotional materials; and encouraging or facilitating SFO transactions in any other manner until Turo fully complies with SFO’s permit and fee requirements. The lawsuit also seeks civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation, reimbursement for costs from the lawsuit, and other relief.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the People of the State of California under California Business and Professions Code section 17200.

Comment On This Story

Comment: (Max. 10000 characters)  
Please leave blank:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


Newsletter: Sign up to receive latest news, articles, and much more.

Read the latest

Auto Focus Blog: A blog covering fleets, auto rental and the business of cars

What a Connected Fleet Means to Avis (and Car Rental)

Counter bypass is just the beginning. The promise of a “data-driven ecosystem” that connects renters with the rental agency, retail services, and even the city is a better managed fleet, an improved user experience, and new revenue opportunities during the rental itself.

Should Peer-to-Peer Renters Pay Airport Car Rental Fees?

The question is central to the City of San Francisco’s lawsuit against Turo for operating without a permit at San Francisco International Airport.

Hard Times Ahead for the Compact SUV Segment?

The hottest segment today is facing a glut of models and volume in tomorrow’s wholesale market.

Job Finder: Access Top Talent. Fill Key Positions.