Slow Late West

It’s some ungodly hour in Charlottetown as I write, and only slightly less ungodly here in Anacortes, BC where we’re en route to Johnny and Jodi’s wedding.

Random observations from a day travelling from Harrisville, NH to northern Washington state:

  • United Airlines service is about as poor as Air Canada’s, making me think there’s some sort of Star Alliance bad service standard. Nothing absolutely horrible, just lots of little fallings down on the job.
  • Enterprise Rent-a-Car charges as much per day for insurance as they do to rent a small car. And they sell the insurance hard and sneaky. My online reservation was quoted at $169 total; at the desk I was quoted a “final total” of $273 because the agent decided that I needed super coverage. Thankfully I was able to fix this all up at the yard when we picked up the car.
  • Oddly, in light of the above, the service at the actual pick up yard from Enterprise was amazing: we were met at the shuttle bus by an agent who took us immediately to our car, offered us free coffee and soft drinks, filled out the paper work right there, and sent us on our way. This compared to 30 minutes in a hot and frustrating line at Alamo last month make me forgive the insurance scheme and I will be a regular customer.
  • In Seattle there are special lanes on the major highways for cars with 2 or more people in them. These lanes are designed to attract people to carpooling, and they move much, much faster than regular traffic. You would think, as a result, many people would carpool. But we passed thousands of cars with only the driver in them, crawling along in the regular lanes. Amazing.
  • Manchester, NH and Seattle, WA have very nice, efficient airports. Washington (Dulles) does not.
More later.


stephen's picture
stephen on August 22, 2002 - 22:59 Permalink

In Canada, a car is a form of transportation.
In the U.S. a car is the physical embodiment of the metaphysical concept of freedom — asking someone to carpool is like asking them to sign a waiver forgoing the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Oliver's picture
Oliver on August 22, 2002 - 23:22 Permalink

I always waive the insurance when I rent a car. Visa and perhaps other credit cards will cover it. Best to check and to check the restrictions though. Indeed it can save you a bundle.

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on August 23, 2002 - 00:02 Permalink

Read the waiver you sign very carfully. You are inviting them to rape your credit card as you are also agreeing to pay for ‘their’ loss of use. Thus, you smuck their car, your credit card is at risk not only for repairs, but also loss of use. BTW..rental companies do not sell insurance — they sell collision damage waiver — they are very careful not to call it insurance. It is a huge money maker for them which I understand actually provides a better ROI than the actual rental. Best bet is to just check with your local insurance person and buy an endorsement to your auto policy called ‘legal liability to non-owned autos’ costs about $30 a year last time I looked and is rated on the maximum value of the vehicle you anticipate you rent. Disclaimer — I sell insurance.

Pete's picture
Pete on August 23, 2002 - 15:26 Permalink

Stephen’s comments could also pertain to the situation on Prince Edward Island (“Public transit? Carpooling? Are you crazy?”)

Andrew's picture
Andrew on August 23, 2002 - 16:59 Permalink

Tell me Pete. How are residents of Charlottetown supost to use public transit if we don’t even have a system? I’m sure once the city sets up a good transit system people will use it.