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Thread: Rental vehicles

  1. #1
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 45,021

    Rental vehicles

    With all the interest centered on villas , hotels, restaurants and flights I havenít heard anything about the availability of rental cars so I emailed Gumbs the other day with no response and I also emailed Wimco and PIV. Iím waiting for an answer. Without a rental car I canít go. Iíll let everyone know what I find out.


    Andy

  2. #2
    steelpe is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2010 Posts: 453

    Re: Rental vehicles

    I think I saw someone in TA say that they contacted gumbo and they do have rentals available.

  3. #3
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 45,021

    Re: Rental vehicles

    I just heard back from Wimco. They say that although some cars were damaged they don’t expect any problems finding vehicles. I’m not surprised I haven’t heard back from Gumbs. I doubt if there are any tourists on the island renting cars yet.


    Andy

  4. #4
    Jim Kelly-Evans is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2010 Philadelphia and Fire Island, NY Posts: 1,081

    Re: Rental vehicles

    I emailed Maurice...will see what they say...
    "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy." - Dorothy Parker

  5. #5
    amyb is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Apr 2008 Glen Cove,L. I., NY Posts: 28,232

    Re: Rental vehicles

    Keep in mind-the electricity is not fully back. Location matters for internet connectivity too.
    Remember Yesterday, Dream About Tomorrow, But Live Today.

  6. #6

    Re: Rental vehicles

    Anecdotally speaking, something that I have really only noticed in recent days is that there are a lot of damaged cars here. Broken windows covered seems to be the style of the season. Grills & bumpers blown off many cars. Large dents from projectiles, etc.

    Personally, my car survived but I did lose the radio antenna trying to navigate the debris covered roads immediately after the storm. With all the rumble on the roads at that time, I would guess there was some flat tires too.

    Rental cars are in use but not so much by tourist but rather as replacements (perhaps paid for by insurance?) for local residents who obviously lost their vehicles.

    It wouldn't shock me if 50% of the cars on the island suffered damage. So, yes, it is possible that it may be more difficult than usual to secure a rental car. But of course, that is also dependent on other factors such as tourist demand, speed of replacement/repairs, etc.

    Personally, I believe that there are already far too many cars clogging the roads here so I would love it if the damaged cars were shipped off never to return. But given the nature of business on this island that is clearly a pipe dream. Instead, they will probably all be replaced with upgrades such as larger SUVs. Ugh.

  7. #7

    Re: Rental vehicles

    As a visitor to the island I would not have rented a car if there was some form of getting around(small trolley service, van, uber,etc.) without one. Even walking or bicycle isn't the greatest of options on tight curvy roads, especially at night. Doubt the rental car companies want it but doesn't hurt for island residents to make a push for some other options for tourists to get around that doesn't add more cars to the tight roads. I know I would have gladly used transportation rather than a rental car. Rental car just seems like a waste for a lone traveler like myself.

  8. #8

    Re: Rental vehicles

    Quote Originally Posted by zcrambler View Post
    As a visitor to the island I would not have rented a car if there was some form of getting around
    I don't think that you are alone in this regard. My gut feeling is that most tourist have little interest in driving a car here. They'd rather have a "license to drink" than a "license to drive".

    Unfortunately, the rental car business has deep roots here and will resist change. Until we get to the type of gridlock that Bermuda once experienced (and forced their hand to make changes for the sanity of that island), I don't see the political situation here opening up to alternatives.

  9. #9
    thomasj is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Toronto Posts: 283

    Re: Rental vehicles

    Agree 100% - the car traffic on SBH prior to Irma was getting crazy - I'm with you guys - if there was a easy to use, viable alternative I would totally use it - how much time of our vacation do we actually use the car? Let's be honest, we just use it for beaching, Marche runs and trips into Gustavia, therefore plugging up the streets. How great would it be to order a quick car with your phone?

    Trolleys wouldn't work due to the topography, why doesn't an entrepreneur bring over a small fleet of electric cars and drivers and offer an on demand (Le Uber St Barth?) to pick up at hotels and villas with a circle to beaches, shopping and town? Imagine you can have more than 1 drink at Bonito without worrying about driving at night. I would use it instead of renting for sure...

    Quote Originally Posted by survivior View Post
    I don't think that you are alone in this regard. My gut feeling is that most tourist have little interest in driving a car here. They'd rather have a "license to drink" than a "license to drive".

    Unfortunately, the rental car business has deep roots here and will resist change. Until we get to the type of gridlock that Bermuda once experienced (and forced their hand to make changes for the sanity of that island), I don't see the political situation here opening up to alternatives.
    LAST VISIT: December 2018
    NEXT VISIT: March 2019 (for my Birthday!)
    St. Barth Je t'aime (except all the smoking...)

  10. #10
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 45,021

    Re: Rental vehicles

    Quote Originally Posted by thomasj View Post
    Agree 100% - the car traffic on SBH prior to Irma was getting crazy - I'm with you guys - if there was a easy to use, viable alternative I would totally use it - how much time of our vacation do we actually use the car? Let's be honest, we just use it for beaching, Marche runs and trips into Gustavia, therefore plugging up the streets. How great would it be to order a quick car with your phone?

    Trolleys wouldn't work due to the topography, why doesn't an entrepreneur bring over a small fleet of electric cars and drivers and offer an on demand (Le Uber St Barth?) to pick up at hotels and villas with a circle to beaches, shopping and town? Imagine you can have more than 1 drink at Bonito without worrying about driving at night. I would use it instead of renting for sure...
    Someone tried small buses but the taxi drivers literally drove the
    buses out of town.


    Andy

  11. #11
    LindaP is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Denver, Co Posts: 2,817

    Re: Rental vehicles

    Trolleys wouldn't work due to the topography, why doesn't an entrepreneur bring over a small fleet of electric cars and drivers and offer an on demand (Le Uber St Barth?) to pick up at hotels and villas with a circle to beaches, shopping and town? Imagine you can have more than 1 drink at Bonito without worrying about driving at night. I would use it instead of renting for sure...


    I used Minicab in March; they aren't electric, but it was nice to be able to call and have them pick us up whenever. They were also very good at replying to emails.....they were sort of the "Uber" company on the island , available 24-7.
    I hope they are ok after the hurricane, and continue with business, I think if more people were aware of their services, they would be a great asset.
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance !

  12. #12
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 45,021

    Re: Rental vehicles

    Linda- anything that jeopardizes the taxis is going to have a hard time succeeding. It was tried a couple of years ago and died. Now is the time that taxis are needed if there is a dearth of rental cars.


    Andy

  13. #13

    Re: Rental vehicles

    I'd be ok with Taxi but I heard it was a horrible time to get a hold of them and had to plan out trips. That's fine going to a bar a night but the uncertainty of having a way to get home later in the evening is not ideal. Not St Barts but I've had Taxi issues in bigger cities without uber where it would be an hour wait for a taxi and some just never would come at all. Sucks being stranded after you've had a few drinks and its getting late.

  14. #14
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 45,021

    Re: Rental vehicles

    If you tell the driver when to pick you up I hear that works pretty good. Several posters here have reported good results with that.


    Andy

  15. #15
    LindaP is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Mar 2003 Denver, Co Posts: 2,817

    Re: Rental vehicles

    That's why there is a need for a company such as Mini Cab .....Andy, we stayed in a villa in March where the owners husband (who had passed away) was, for many many years a cab driver on SBH.
    There were severa; Mini Cab business cards right on the desk by the door. I think there is room for both.
    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance !

  16. #16
    Eve is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jun 2008 Boston Posts: 8,307

    Re: Rental vehicles

    I think I saw the car rental wing of the airport was destroyed

  17. #17

    Re: Rental vehicles

    I am slightly surprised that Uber has not taken off here given how many people here have cars, smartphones, and are often driving alone. Plus it is some extra cash on an expensive island.

    St Barth taxis are a difficult group of people here. Very protective of their turf.

    In my utopia vision of St Barth, there would be ample taxis (more like NYC than France) available to quickly move people about the various hot spots of the island. I would trim rental car industry by about 80%. Add sidewalks & paths to improve walking conditions for the hardy souls that choose that option. A modest bus system circulating between Gustavia, St Jean,etc with stops by beaches could also be a reasonable & affordable option.

    Eventually some of this will happen but I would bet the traffic jams become much worst before the political will arrives to make hard changes for improvement.

  18. #18
    cec1 is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 6,770

    Re: Rental vehicles

    Quote Originally Posted by andynap View Post
    It was tried a couple of years ago and died.
    Funny story about the bus experiment, Andy! During that brief period, a couple of friends & I went to the Yacht Club after dinner . . . they wanted to leave while I was visiting with some friends, so I confidently said, "Don't worry -- I'll take the bus." WELL . . . it turns out that you couldn't get on the bus (& I even knew the driver, one of the owners of the venture!) without a ticket purchased at one of a small number of outlets, all of which were only open during daylight hours! The result was that I had a very sobering, late evening walk from Gustavia to Lorient, where some nice Americans staying at The Guanahani offered me a ride to Marigot Bay. Of course, it was the taxi "lobby" that limited ticket sales . . . and I doubt that their tight-fisted grip on island commutes will loosen any time soon.

  19. #19
    thomasj is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Nov 2009 Toronto Posts: 283

    Re: Rental vehicles

    THIS!!!!!! -----> "I am slightly surprised that Uber has not taken off here given how many people here have cars, smartphones, and are often driving alone. Plus it is some extra cash on an expensive island."

    you would think the locals would love to make the extra money, especially considering what just happened with less cars on island...

    As for the Taxis - of course they will be pissed off (this is happening in every single city where Uber operates) but hell either deal, adapt or die I say - lets bring Uber to SBH!

    Quote Originally Posted by survivior View Post
    I am slightly surprised that Uber has not taken off here given how many people here have cars, smartphones, and are often driving alone. Plus it is some extra cash on an expensive island.

    St Barth taxis are a difficult group of people here. Very protective of their turf.

    In my utopia vision of St Barth, there would be ample taxis (more like NYC than France) available to quickly move people about the various hot spots of the island. I would trim rental car industry by about 80%. Add sidewalks & paths to improve walking conditions for the hardy souls that choose that option. A modest bus system circulating between Gustavia, St Jean,etc with stops by beaches could also be a reasonable & affordable option.

    Eventually some of this will happen but I would bet the traffic jams become much worst before the political will arrives to make hard changes for improvement.
    LAST VISIT: December 2018
    NEXT VISIT: March 2019 (for my Birthday!)
    St. Barth Je t'aime (except all the smoking...)

  20. #20
    Canuck is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Apr 2015 Canada Posts: 80

    Re: Rental vehicles

    Personally, I want a vehicle always and not a taxi or Uber. My day starts at 6am on St Barths with a trip to the bakery or the wharf for some fish. Then back to the Villa for a walk down the hill and a stroll around Gustavia with my bride. After breakfast it's off to the beach till about 2 or 3. Then lounge around the pool, drink way too much Goose or Red and then either BBQ, cook in or walk down the hill yet again to one of the many restaurants there. Bed by 9 or 10 pm...SAD eh? On a day of no libations then we like to drive around a bit, go out to a restaurant not in Gustavia, or whatever. If we have to wait on a taxi or shuttle to get us around I'm afraid St Barths will be history for us. Yes, the Island needs fewer cars (which I think they can control) but what they really need is fewer hotels and billion dollar Villas that never get used! There are enough hotels already and more hotels means most likely more cars. Development needs more control and soon. They also need to get rid of those noisy, stinking ATVs!! Why were they ever allowed on the Island to begin with? There's no moose hunting on St Barths! They also don't need those really inappropriate, huge SUVs. Come on, what idiot needs to drive that around St Barths!

  21. #21
    belinda is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jul 2017 U.K. & USA Posts: 150

    Re: Rental vehicles

    I do agree, somewhat. On each visit I notice more and more cars and they seem to be getting bigger and bigger. However twice we were cut off by young people on motorbikes. I think they are more reckless than the cars. As we were slowing down near the speed bump at the airport a motorbike flew round us and because of a truck coming in the opposite direction he could hardly get through. He had to reach out to balance himself on our car.

  22. #22
    Bart -my real name- is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Nov 2009 Alexandria, VA Posts: 5,427

    Re: Rental vehicles

    Quote Originally Posted by Canuck View Post
    They also don't need those really inappropriate, huge SUVs. Come on, what idiot needs to drive that around St Barths!
    You already know the answer................there are plenty of idiots that "need" to drive huge SUVs!

  23. #23
    bkeats is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2010 Nuevo York Posts: 694

    Re: Rental vehicles

    I don't know if the mainland France laws with respect to taxis apply in SBH, but if so, the likelihood of Uber in various forms coming to the island is about the same as a blizzard. Taxis are heavily regulated. Uber pop which allowed anyone with a car to pick up fares was ruled illegal. The taxi lobby is a political force to be reckoned with in France.

  24. #24

    Re: Rental vehicles

    An uber type service would reduce traffic and dramatically cut down on the number of cars on the island.

  25. #25
    cec1 is online now
    SBH Insider Joined: Jul 2008 Posts: 6,770

    Re: Rental vehicles

    Quote Originally Posted by Canuck View Post
    Yes, the Island needs fewer cars (which I think they can control) . . . !
    In fact, the island government cannot legislate with respect to the number or size of vehicles -- an area reserved to the French legislature.

  26. #26
    dadto6 is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Aug 2013 Northern Virginia Posts: 2,226

    Re: Rental vehicles

    I emailed Turbe 3-days ago and no response as yet. I am not complaining and I am not insensitive to the dire situations that face most on the island. It is not about me, me, me. I am a patient person and will see where it goes. Pleased to hear that some rental companies have cars. I just want to be prepared as possible.
    As for me, we like to adventure of driving everyday to various spots on the island with no set schedule, except that we do eat every meal out, just us, no judgment here, we are not interested in cooking at the villa. We are not drinkers and no we do not drive to drink as someone's post options stated. Therefore, if we could not rent a car in the future, we would cease visiting St. Barths.

  27. #27
    andynap is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: Oct 2002 Philadelphia Posts: 45,021

    Re: Rental vehicles

    I'm thinking that all the people who run the rental agencies are home cleaning up and there are no tourists to rent cars so no one is opening.


    Andy

  28. #28
    cassidain is offline
    SBH Member Joined: Jul 2007 Ailleurs Posts: 7,486

    Re: Rental vehicles

    Quote Originally Posted by dadto6 View Post
    I emailed Turbe 3-days ago and no response as yet. I am not complaining and I am not insensitive to the dire situations that face most on the island. It is not about me, me, me. I am a patient person and will see where it goes. Pleased to hear that some rental companies have cars. I just want to be prepared as possible.
    As for me, we like to adventure of driving everyday to various spots on the island with no set schedule, except that we do eat every meal out, just us, no judgment here, we are not interested in cooking at the villa. We are not drinkers and no we do not drive to drink as someone's post options stated. Therefore, if we could not rent a car in the future, we would cease visiting St. Barths.

  29. #29
    JimD is offline
    SBH Insider Joined: May 2004 St Barts of Course Posts: 1,577

    Re: Rental vehicles

    Quote Originally Posted by andynap View Post
    With all the interest centered on villas , hotels, restaurants and flights I haven’t heard anything about the availability of rental cars so I emailed Gumbs the other day with no response and I also emailed Wimco and PIV. I’m waiting for an answer. Without a rental car I can’t go. I’ll let everyone know what I find out.
    Andy, Vincent got back to you asking for the vehicle you were looking for, we have cars available, just let us know what you need and we'll get you set.

  30. #30

    Re: Rental vehicles

    I am not arguing that there should be no rental cars here. If you want to drive here, then fine. But one of the problems I do see is that the island infrastructure & geography is such that you almost have no choice but to rent a car if you want to spend a vacation week here. I am advocating for more transit choices, not fewer.

    I am not really an advocate of Uber, per se, as I am a luddite and have great respect for traditional professions such as taxi driving. it just baffles me somewhat because St Barts seems like it was tailor made for the Uber market.

    As for ATV, I can't stand those. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that it is technically illegal for them to be on the road here but (similar to the naturalist bathers on some beaches) it is tolerated and never enforced. On a crowded island with echoing valleys, the noise pollution that those things generate is very irritating. Some (but not all) motorcycles are even worse when they rip through the neighborhood. And there now seems to be an informal club of loud bikes that likes to do an weekly Sunday afternoon cruise. Noise pollution is a growing issue here but that is a rant for another time & place.

    Aside from the noise issues, some of the young motorcycle & scooter drivers exhibit terrifyingly dangerous behavior. I have had to slam on my breaks multiple times to avoid having one of these young fools crash through my windshield while brazenly passing cars. I have seen the absolute most foolish driving behavior here with people attempting to pass even on blind curves. How there isn't a daily death toll mystifies me.

    To be fair, traffic congestion is not merely a result of tourists. There are plenty of locals clogging the streets. Have a look at cars some day and you will notice that many are just 1 person. Co-voiturage doesn't seem to exist here. Everybody gets in their own car to go everywhere. It is like Los Angeles not France! Locals on the daily commute might happily ride a bus from, for example, Lorient to Saint-Jean or Gustavia if there was such an option. Even worse, how many people both live and work in Saint-Jean yet get in their car to drive the short distance? Ugh, I need to shut up because this has touched a pet peeve of mine and I have derailed the original thread.

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