Turo app, dubbed AirBnB for car rentals, comes to Calgary

A new car-sharing app has come to Calgary in an effort to put parked cars to good use and allow residents to make some extra cash.

Dubbed the AirBnB of car rentals, the U.S.-based app Turo started business in the city April 19.

READ MORE: Turo launches in Canada, lets people rent out their vehicles

The app allows owners of vehicles to lend out their cars to pre-approved travelers.

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It’s something that’s made a difference for one Calgary driver who recently lost his job.

“It’s bringing in about $600 a month,” said Calgary driver Ryan McCourt. “So that more or less covers the cost of the car, and being laid off, any extra bit helps.”

READ MORE: Does Canada need a women-only ride-share service?

The average price to rent a vehicle through Turo is typically 30 per cent cheaper than traditional car rentals, with some options in Calgary currently as low as $28 a day.

“To make sure that the experience is a safe experience we screen every traveller on the platform,” said Cedric Mathieu, head of Canadian operations for Turo. “We verify people’s identity, we verify their age, their driver’s licence. We also analyze the risk, and based on that we make an eligibility decision.”

Turo also covers the cars with their own commercial insurance through Intact Insurance and belairdirect. The insurance includes $2-million third party liability, up to $75,000 in physical damage repair, and 24-hour roadside assistance.

If an accident happens while the car is being rented out, Turo’s commercial insurance will cover the claim instead of the personal insurance of the car owner.

Turo is still working on bringing other Canadian insurance companies on board with the car-sharing app, so vehicle owners won’t have to deal with increased premiums to stay covered.

Membership is free for all travelers and car owners.

Currently Turo is in Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, and will continue to expand nationwide. Founded in 2009, it now operates in over 2,500 cities across the continent.