Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from
British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (IT 183)
INTEGRATED TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER
Further to your letter of 26 November, we have
now raised the questions regarding the car hire market with some
of our major rental companies and would comment as follows:
(1) Experience with members' representation
at major railway stations in the UK is very limited. There is
very little direct representation. For example Budget Rent A Car
says that they have a rental station only at Birmingham International
Station which is open 7.00 am to 10.00 pm on weekdays and 8.00
am to 6.00 pm on Saturday and 11.00 am to 9.00 pm on Sunday. Other
rental companies have no specific representation at railway stations
but would make arrangements to meet anybody who had reserved a
vehicle from a station in order to collect a vehicle from the
nearest City Centre branch.
Having said that, members' experience shows
that Central London stations are well served by the underground
network and access to Central London rental locations. However
companies would deliver a vehicle to a railway station to a customer
We are not aware of any railway and car hire
outlets operating outside office hours. Service could be provided
on an extended hour basis if there was sufficient volume such
as there is at airports.
(2) Experience currently shows that a traveller
is more likely to use a train for a longer journey, e.g., from
London to Manchester or Edinburgh. Car hire would then be used
at the end of the rail journey to give flexibility and independence.
This market is currently too small to support extended opening
hours, as stated above. However some members believe that the
solution may lie in the increased use of "smart key machines"
where keys would be left for a customer and would then be accessed
from a safe using a PIN number. Of course, secure compounds for
the vehicles would have to be available.
The lack of volume in the rail/car hire
market currently makes it too difficult to justify opening an
operation dedicated solely to the rail market. Any rail location
would need volume from outside the station to justify it. There
is also a problem in terms of inconvenience of parking at stations,
limited timetables and the fact that many customers have a number
of meetings within a journey thereby making it difficult to go
to and from one station.
Members report that they are experiencing
increasing rentals to renters living in urban areas such as Central
London. The customer collects the car from a location within the
City Centre on Friday returning Sunday night or Monday morning.
It is also worth noting that demand for
car hire rises dramatically especially in London at the time of
Rail or Underground strikes. This shows that for many car hire
seems an alternative to rail travel.
(3) We are not aware of any research that
has been undertaken into the potential size of the rail/car hire
(4) We are not aware of any discussions with
train operators and railtrack about developing this market. Members
believe that any discussions on this would initially be on a local
We trust that this assists you in your enquiries
and please do not hesitate to contact me if we can give you any
3 March 1999