Author Topic: The frustrating collapse of the rental car industry  (Read 1553 times)

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Offline HikeBikeCook

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The frustrating collapse of the rental car industry
« on: June 21, 2021, 04:38:51 pm »
Okay, our usual plan for week long trips on a bike path is to drive to one end and rent a one-way truck/van and drive to the other end. Trying to finally do the Erie Canal after injury and COVID delays and finding most local car rental offices (drop off near the trail) closed, and no vehicles left to rent - particularly one-way. Amtrak is an option, but no long-term (or safe) onsite parking at their stations. The only option to arrive in Buffalo from Boston area is just after midnight in a sketchy part of town. - Got a hotel to agree to pick us up. Now trying to figure out how to get home.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline TCS

Re: The frustrating collapse of the rental car industry
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2021, 12:26:16 pm »
Back story, if any of you haven't tried to rent a car lately:

COVID hit.  Nobody was going anywhere.  The car rental companies had lots full of unearning, depreciating assets.  So they had a fire sale on their fleets.

We all got vaccinated and the lockdowns ended.  The car rental companies went to buy new cars.  Surprise!  Because of the chip shortage, there were very few new cars available and what was available was fully loaded at high margin prices, not the low margin fleet pricing basic rental fleets usually get.

"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: The frustrating collapse of the rental car industry
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2021, 12:54:12 pm »
Before I could even finish planning the week the Amtrak option was off the table as the few slot they had sold out. Resorted to renting a small U-Haul truck one way.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline TCS

Re: The frustrating collapse of the rental car industry
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2021, 10:25:23 pm »
FlixBus Boston --> Buffalo (via NYC!  :o  ) is showing 'no bike slots available' for the random dates I sampled.
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline BikePacker

Re: The frustrating collapse of the rental car industry
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2021, 07:48:33 am »
Resorted to renting a small U-Haul truck one way.
Your 'dedication' is applauded! : ).

Offline staehpj1

Re: The frustrating collapse of the rental car industry
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2021, 08:05:46 am »
FWIW, I have always found that walking up to a rental desk in any old rental office almost always either resulted in a huge one way fee or a refusal to let a car or van go out one way.  Walking up to a desk at an airport was a little better.  Reserving online was better.

Reserving online airport to airport better yet.  I have never been refused a one way rental that way and the fees have never been bad.  I reserve online using an aggregator even if I am in the airport.

IME if you want a truck one way forget uHaul.  I have had good luck with Enterprise and Penske for one way truck rentals.

Also, It seems like airport to airport cars are available in recent searches for family member travel even at the last minute, but prices are through the roof compared to the not too distant past.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2021, 08:07:25 am by staehpj1 »

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: The frustrating collapse of the rental car industry
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2021, 01:08:22 pm »
Fortunately for us U-Haul has the Northeast saturated with a U-Haul dealer on every corner. While I could not rent a pickup truck or van one-way, I got a small 10' box truck 1/4 mile from the trail and the place has a fenced storage facility and agreed to let us leave our car in their gated yard for the week. The drop off point is another dealer just across the canal by bridge, 1/8 mile maybe from the trail. Price worked out as cheap as the shuttle driver, who was already booked and we have safe place to leave the car. No one else had anything available. I have rented Penske, Budget, and Enterprise in the past but in New England U-Haul is king.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline jcostanz

Re: The frustrating collapse of the rental car industry
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2021, 02:42:53 pm »
Uhaul has always been reliable, they had a truck when they said they had a truck.
I rented a Budget truck for a one way, about 4 years ago.  I was the first person to arrive at the location.  As I was dealing with the paperwork for the rental, 3 customers who also had paid reservations came in and I had the only truck.  The owner/operator of the site said he had 2 more additional reservations for the same day.  Budget truck rental was all handled by the national website and had oversold the truck multiple times.  Budget also made you pay at time of reservation.  I had made the reservation the night before.

 

Offline David W Pratt

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Re: The frustrating collapse of the rental car industry
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2021, 01:06:32 pm »
Airport car rental places are likely to be open longer hours.  Coming back from Buffalo to Albany (post Erie Canal) I dropped my Hertz at a closed place on Saturday afternoon, and they tried to charge my until they opened up on Monday. I called them and a woman with a very nasty attitude refused to even discuss it.  Fortunately, there was nice guy at the Buffalo end and it got corrected.