A pilot program testing Car2Go, a popular car-sharing service, will soon be offered at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which operates the airport, on Monday approved the 18-month program that is expected to begin by Dec. 31.

Car2Go users book online or through a smartphone app, drive the distinctive Smart cars to destinations within a certain geographic area and leave them in legal parking spots. Members pay an annual fee of $35, and then a per-minute charge of 41 cents, or $84.99 per day, and a separate fee of $1 per trip, plus tax.

At MSP, Car2Go will have five spots near the Terminal 2 (Humphrey) light-rail station, paying $7,665 a space. Two cars can use each spot, so 10 cars theoretically will be available at any given time. (The cars are demand-based, so patrons are not necessarily assured of getting one.)

The pilot program differs from ride-sharing services UberX and Lyft, where passengers book rides from drivers who use their private cars. UberX and Lyft do not have holding areas at the airport, like taxis do.

The Car2Go pilot program will help the MAC determine whether there's demand for car-sharing.

Two other ride-sharing services, Zipcar and Hourcar, were considered, but Car2Go emerged as the final (and only) company opting for the spaces.

Zipcar, which is owned by car-rental giant Avis Budget Group, operates at more than 50 airports worldwide, including elsewhere at MSP.

Janet Moore