Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 01/14/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 01/14/2014 6:53 AM | Updates
Looking for a rental car in Winnipeg? Get in line.
The heavy snowfall in late December and early January, and the resulting chaos on the city's roads, has Manitoba Public Insurance's damaged vehicle compound at over capacity.
At the same time, the dangerous driving conditions have also amped up demand for rental vehicles around town.
"I'd be surprised if there's a rental car available in the city," said Sherry Beck, assistant manager at Value Rent-A-Car on Watt Street.
"We're a small company with 30 vehicles and all of them are gone. If you came in today, I couldn't make you any guarantees (when you'd get a vehicle). You're probably looking at a three- to four-day wait."
The situation is slightly better at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Christina Sifert, assistant manager of the McPhillips Street location, said you'd be looking at a five-day wait last week, but now they expect to have some vehicles available today.
She was quick to add there can be some variation between locations, but there's no doubt the deep ruts in the roads and questionable snow clearing by the city caused a run on rentals.
She said it's the only time in recent memory anybody can remember being completely out of vehicles.
"That only happens when we see 21,000 (Autopac) claims in December," she said.
MPI spokesman Brian Smiley said its Plessis Road compound holds 2,100 vehicles. Over the weekend, 2,900 were crammed in.
"We're parking vehicles where they normally wouldn't be parked. We're parking the overflow in the aisles and along the fence lines," he said.
Smiley said it's been a decade since its compound has been at over capacity.
More than 20,000 collision claims were opened up in December, he said, which is about 20 per cent higher than the year before. Early estimates for January are calling for about 5,500 collision claims to be filed this month, roughly the same as a year ago.
Beck said on a normal day, just 10 per cent of her fleet is rented out on Autopac claims. Today, that figure is 90 per cent.
"Since December, (the demand) has just been unreal. I probably get 60 calls per day and I can't help these people," she said.
Making matters worse for rental companies is the fact some customers are bringing back vehicles that are themselves damaged.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 14, 2014 B6
Updated on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 6:53 AM CST: Replaces photo
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Apartment unit in Village firm’s latest success
Amid bird flu outbreak, turkey farmers increase security
Rates for US Treasury bills edged up at weekly auction
No 'narsisstics': Music festivals ban fans' selfie sticks
Jay Z, Madonna, Minaj among owners of new streaming service
Amazon tests drones in British Columbia
Mexican growers offer 15 pct in Baja farm strike
'Home' tops 'Get Hard' at box office with $52.1M debut
Volvo Cars plans to open its first US plant
Ex-FBI agent sentenced to 10 years in Afghan scheme
How the Dow Jones industrial average fared Monday
Most actively traded companies on the TSX
Va. board OKs $361,000 fine against CSX for 2014 derailment
BNSF railroad adds new safety rules for crude oil trains
Norcraft and Auspex are big market movers
Stocks gain on encouraging signs in spending and home sales
Paterno estate's contract breach lawsuit tossed again
Honda Canada planning first European sales
Ottawa doesn't renew grain requirements
Michigan entrepreneur claiming idea for Heinz Dip & Squeeze
Teck Resources denies Antofagasta talks
Hearing about Chinese drywall damage scheduled for April 28
Officials examining why plane landed short of Halifax runway
Tesla to unveil new product - likely a battery - next month
Strong interest in Future Shop spots Calloway
Target Canada branded items sell for $2.2M
Amazon.com offering to help get jobs done around the house
Ferry operator Stena Line tests running ship on methanol
StubHub files lawsuit against Ticketmaster
McDonald's to test all-day breakfast beginning in April
Federal agents charged with stealing digital currency
Dunkin' Donuts eyes shift to all cage-free eggs globally
Future Shop closure part of retail evolution
Lincoln Continental, the car of presidents, is returning
Review: New HTC One phone is strong contender
Business forecasters boost 2-year outlook for US economy
UnitedHealth bulks up for prescription drug cost battle
GM ignition switch death toll rises to 77
SEC files fraud charges against Lynn Tilton, firms