Car rentals solution expected soon

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A solution is expected soon to address problems that persist for Bermudians regarding car rentals in Massachusetts, according to a government spokesman.

On Friday, a spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Municipalities said that a “thorough review” of the situation had been undertaken.

“In the very near future, the Ministry anticipates presenting a solution which should alleviate the situation,” he said.

The news follows recent accounts to The Royal Gazette about holders of Bermudian drivers’ licences continuing to experience problems renting vehicles in the state.

The issue first came to light last summer.

In August, a spokesman with the Ministry said that the Government was working alongside other acting bodies on the issue “as a matter of urgency” towards an “expeditious solution”.

Vaughan Mosher said he experienced such a problem when he travelled to Massachusetts earlier this month for an annual physical. It was his first time travelling to the state since problems were first reported in 2016.

As a precaution, Mr Mosher said he made calls to National Car Rental ahead of his trip to ensure that there would be no problems upon arrival at Logan International Airport.

He said he has been an Emerald Club member — which allows customers to choose their car from the fleet on the lot — for a number of years.

Mr Mosher has a disability and requires the use of a scooter.

“My wife has to pick a car that she can get the scooter in and out of the back, usually a minivan,” he said.

Calls made to National before he arrived in Boston suggested the matter had been addressed.

“It looked as if there was no problem,” he said.

According to Mr Mosher, after selecting their vehicle and packing it, he and his wife were told by an attendant that they would not be allowed to leave the lot. A supervisor subsequently confirmed that the attendant was correct in saying the couple could not drive the vehicle “because it would be breaking the law”, Mr Mosher said.

They were forced to unpack the car and rent from another company, Avis, at a higher cost.

Mr Mosher’s experience appears not to be an isolated incident. Last week, at least one other person described a similar problem renting a car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car at the Boston airport.

Both National and Enterprise are owned by Enterprise Holdings.

This past winter, several e-mails were received by The Royal Gazette detailing similar problems. In a response to an e-mail sent by Mr Mosher on his experience, a representative with National said that Bermuda continued to be included on a list of countries whose drivers’ licences were not recognised in the state.

“Because the state of Massachusetts does not allow us to rent to Bermuda residents, we have to follow the state laws,” the e-mailed response said.

The company provided an apology and a free day coupon to Mr Mosher’s account.

While the gesture was appreciated, Mr Mosher said it was not ultimately what he was after.

“I’d like some clarity, certainly for myself, but for hundreds and hundreds of other people who must be faced with this sort of thing,” he said. The incident is not without an element of irony.

In the past, Mr Mosher said he received a courtesy notification from National that his driver’s licence — the same one he was recently unable to use to rent a vehicle — was due to expire.

“I thought, this is terrific customer service.”

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Published May 17, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated May 17, 2017 at 7:06 am)

Car rentals solution expected soon

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