Posted by: Nina Willdorf
Travelers in New York City have historically had several options to get from town to the three major airports—cab, train or subway. Soon there will be a new way—one-way car rentals—but we’re not sure it’s such a bargain.
First, a look at the existing options (each has its own drawback):
Cabs are expensive – a taxi from my house in Brooklyn to Newark can be as high as $100.
Fast train service is limited – JFK is accessible by Long Island Rail Road and Newark is accessible by New Jersey Transit, but if you’re heading to LaGuardia, you’re out of luck.
Subways are slow and crowded – not only that, you can’t get to Newark or LaGuardia by subway. There is a local bus to LGA, but you’ll risk missing your flight.
According to a report in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, visitors will have a new, potentially appealing alternative come December: one-way car rentals from Hertz.
People who are already members of “Connect by Hertz”, the company’s car-sharing program, will be able to pick up wheels at the 55th street location in Manhattan—and Manhattan only to start. (If you’re not a member yet, the annual fee to join Connect by Hertz is $50.) While normally Hertz’ car-sharers pay by the hour, in this case, it’ll be a flat fee on par with cab fare. The company plans to roll out more cars over time, ultimately introducing 250 vehicles across 100 locations.
All that said, it’s unclear what the draw really is. Driving yourself to the airport, dodging traffic, and nervously watching the clock adds a layer of stress to the travel experience. Add to that the fact that once you get to the airport, you have to return the car (and then either take a bus or jump on the AirTrain to get to the terminal). So you’re effectively paying the same price as a cab to add stress and more time to your trip? Personally, I applaud Hertz’s effort to add another consumer choice to the mix, but I’m not sure THIS consumer would bite.