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Car Rental Plans - uh oh - Strike 1

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Car Rental Plans - uh oh - Strike 1

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(@breeze)
Posts: 5
Active Member
Topic starter
 

Just finished finalizing lodging and air reservations to St. John!! Since I did not have my act together on long lead preplanning this year, took advantage of a great property with a last minute cancellation and very nicely reduced rates in Coral Bay. Against all odds, it was the place I wanted to stay this year, but didn't reserve in time to get high season dates. But have a problem I did not expect.

My rental dates are Sunday March 8th - Saturday March 14th. Planned to rent a jeep from Sunshine Jeep. Never occurred to me they would be sold out for those dates still two weeks in advance. This is a big bummer, as everyone on this and other threads has spoken so highly of them. (Plus I always liked the way their 'happy' signs on their jeeps looked!)

Ugh. The last two years I have stayed at a property that provided a Suzuki option with the rental, but this year am out at Coral Bay, so no car is not an option.

Am I going to run into a big problem with securing a rental this close? Other suggestions or recommendations for a jeep - or any vehicle with gas and four wheels? (Frankly Sunshine being sold out has me worried enough to take almost anything, and not be set on a jeep.)

Thanks for any help!

Breeze

 
Posted : February 24, 2015 12:52 pm
(@alana33)
Posts: 792
Prominent Member
 

You'd best start calling all the car rental businesses in STJ, now.

If that doesn't work, try Budget or Dependable Car in STT. They allow their vehicles on STJ. However, renting something on STT will depend on your arrival and departure tIme in STT in order to make the car ferry/barge schedule. I think their last run to STJ is either 6 or 7 pm.
After that you're out of luck. Ditto for your return to STT if you have an extremely early departure.

The schedule for the ferries both passenger and car have a link at the top of this page.

 
Posted : February 24, 2015 5:58 pm
(@stt-resident)
Posts: 3316
Famed Member
 

You have several jeep rental options on STT. Amalie, Dependable, Discount, and a couple more. Amalie comes out tops all around for service and dependability so give them a call to see if they have availability. 340-774-0688

 
Posted : February 25, 2015 8:29 am
 Pia
(@pia)
Posts: 1036
Noble Member
 

Start calling YESTERDAY for a rental vehicle on STJ

Pia

 
Posted : February 26, 2015 2:27 pm
(@hexspeed)
Posts: 2
New Member
 

I had the same problem. Booked a great deal yesterday on a house in ST starting Sunday. Then I started looking for transportation (ugh). Amalie said they were sold out until mid-April; no cars at Dependable, Discount and several others I called. Finally found a jeep at RentAMotion.com. Don't know anything about them except they mostly deal in scooters, jet skis, etc. After booking, found some TripAdvisor discussions as old as 2009 so they've been in business at least 5 years. No idea if they have anything, but worth a try. Good Luck!

PS Most companies will let you rent in ST and take the vehicle to SJ on the car ferry (around $50 round trip) -- Hertz is the only exception that I know of. For some reason, none of the SJ rentals can be taken to ST.

 
Posted : February 26, 2015 7:11 pm
(@wiley1827)
Posts: 4
New Member
 

If you're still hunting, consider renting at STT airport. No jeeps probably but so what?

Weekly rates good and you can do car ferry from Red Hook to Cruz Bay for $50 per car, no fee for passengers/driver. Good math and simple enough.

Rental outfits on St. John have a good inventory but you have hit probably the heaviest week for visitors. Quite a few vendors have 4-5 cars and operate from small offices/trailers in the woods - they are legit but certainly not the AVIS you know in Chicago etc.

This web page has a bundle of them. Phone will work.

But give thought to airport cars. I've done that and found it useful - but maybe with more lead time than you plan.

The jeep thing is a little over-rated. I know the hills in St. John are a bitch but most small cars do fine - locals use them all the time. Slow and noisy but it will work. A/C is nice sometimes also.

Happy trip !

 
Posted : February 27, 2015 1:06 pm
(@breeze)
Posts: 5
Active Member
Topic starter
 

Thanks Everyone. So I am going to ask a question and then search the forum. (Yes, I know I should do it the other way around.)

Does anyone want to comment on L&L or have experience with them? They are the only vendor I have found so far with cars on St John (and right now only for half the time I need).

When I was searching on line with Trip Advisor, etc., I did not even have to try to keep tripping over negative reviews of them. Most of them referenced run ins with the owner and that he is seemed a tad... unstable? One post even said they feared for the owner's hunting them down at their Villas and re-located.

Thoughts? Comments? Any and all feedback welcome.

And moving on to check ST Thomas cars this evening. Hopefully I will find some places actually open on the weekend, or the airport. I am becoming less and less hopeful for a jeep and just looking for something with a motor!

 
Posted : February 27, 2015 5:21 pm
(@alana33)
Posts: 792
Prominent Member
 

Look for something with a motor and take what you can get.
You'll be lucky to find something during the busiest period of our high season, on such short notice, to rent so stop being picky or you'll be completely without any transportation at all and end up hitch hiking around Coral Bay which I doubt will enhance your vacation experience.
FYI - Hertz does not allow their jeeps to go over to STJ.

 
Posted : February 27, 2015 6:22 pm
(@jimylewis)
Posts: 12
Active Member
 

We've done everything but a Jeep (2 door compacts, 4 door sedans, Dodge minivan, etc), and we've never had an issue. Just get something, and you'll be fine. This next trip will be the first with 4WD for us, but it's also our first without the kids.

The "hardest" part of having a 2WD vehicle on STJ (at least in my opinion) is handling some of the steep switchbacks. However, if you are a halfway competent driver and can rely on the extra set of eyes in your passenger seat, the switchbacks don't present any real issue. When I'm driving downhill on those suckers, I always yield to the traffic going up, as I can see them a lot better than they can see me.

The only other issue I've ever run into with a smaller car or van is that you can't park as well alongside some of the roads, as you don't have the clearance that you would on a Jeep. It's not something you should worry about, though. Anything will treat you fine.

 
Posted : February 27, 2015 6:44 pm
(@breeze)
Posts: 5
Active Member
Topic starter
 

I plan to take anything with a motor at this point. Was not being picky on that score. Was just concerned that on St John, L&L was the only company that had anything available for even part of the week, and the volume and tone of negative reviews I came across on the web of them, after only a brief search, was a bit daunting. Was hoping maybe for some positive feedback here.

Took Hexspeed's advice and tried the recommended company on ST and they have jeeps. I just need to shift a couple things around flight wise and will go that route if I need to on the car ferry. That option is actually starting to grow on me.

 
Posted : February 27, 2015 7:32 pm
(@beach76)
Posts: 3
Active Member
 

When we were on ST Thomas in early February we rented a Toyota Yaris at a national type rental place at the STT airport. It was fine, enough power to go up and down, enough room for 2 of us and luggage, real easy to park , easy to turn and drive. Yes, 2nd set of eyes using Waze on the iPhone helped a LOT. We took the car barge to STJ. Ground clearance was a concern, we hit some speed bumps on an angle to not bottom out and we didn't get off the road to park except where we were sure of it and no dirt roads. But, it was a good car. Car barge is fun, just another adventure.

 
Posted : February 28, 2015 5:27 pm
(@laurenmyler)
Posts: 1
New Member
 

Do not rent from Dependable in STT! This is the review I posted to trip advisor as well as the link to the forum I responded to. I have heard Amalie is good. Good luck!

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g147404-i172-k8099134-Dependable_Car_Rental_St_Thomas_Horrible_experience-St_Thomas_U_S_Virgin_Islands.html

"We have rented from Dependable for the last seven years. We estimate that over this period of time, we have given Dependable at least $10K. We have always been happy with the staff and service, but this February, it wasn't the same company. We arrived at the airport and were told that there was no car available. We insisted on being driven to the car rental office instead of their suggestion to drive us to our destination. We said we weren't leaving without a car. Vanessa, the manager, after 2 solid hours gave us a beat up car that a police officer saw us driving. The police officer stopped us in Havensight and asked us if it was a rental car because it was so beat up that it looked like an "island car". She told us not to pay for it and even went so far as to call police dispatch to make sure the car was properly registered. It was, so there was nothing she could do, but shake her head and tell us how embarrassed she was. She said, "this car was involved in a shooting!" because the car had a bullet hole in the bumper. Vanessa said that there was a Suzuki available on our third day, so we agreed to switch. Initially, Vanessa said she would not honor our Jeep rate, but fortunately when we returned to pick up the Sukuzi, there was another girl there who gave us a reduced rate for the Suzuki for the remaining 5 days. We were told that the reason there was no car was because we didn't pre-pay. It was never an option. As soon as I got back to the states, I disputed the charge for the bullet riddled car and am still waiting to here back. Here is the twist: we found out from our friend who still works there, who drove us to the airport the day we left, that there was a Sukuki available the entire time, but Vanessa wouldn't give it to us out of spite. Don't give these people your money! Don't pay in advance or let them tell you that you have to "pre-pay" for a car. One day, they will be closed and will have everyone's money."

 
Posted : March 23, 2015 7:13 pm
(@stt-resident)
Posts: 3316
Famed Member
 

Reference the above post, please be advised that I've recently been in touch with the owners of Dependable. They've always had an excellent reputation so the review was very unusual and very disappointing.

As soon as the owners became aware that there was a problem they looked into the matter and the employee is no longer working with them. They've always done business to the highest standards and rectified the problem immediately.

Disclaimer - I have no stake in the business whatsoever.

 
Posted : March 23, 2015 8:04 pm
(@alana33)
Posts: 792
Prominent Member
 

What STT Resident says is true.
Dependable is a excellent company. The majority of my vacation rental guests rent from them and there has never been an issue. The person responsible for laurenmyler' s bad experience was, indeed, fired.

 
Posted : March 23, 2015 9:21 pm

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