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Averill park, New York, United States
This is a blog that hopes to help with the confusion of bus riding in Vegas. Comments are encouraged. Spam is not encouraged. Comments that include websites will not be published. Allow time for moderation of all comments.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why I don't often rent cars in Vegas

Once again I find that answering a person who has asked why we rent or don't rent cars on one of my boards, makes for a good collection of the my thoughts.  So here they are.
Those of you who know me, know I like the buses.
I can go to any casinos on the bus.
Folks who think they are stuck on the strip, just haven't taken a good look at these options and the destinations are increased now because the buses are faster and easier and the new routes just wonderful.
Think how far $30 takes you in the rental. It will give me bus transportation for a month. I say 23 days.

My favorite new bus trip is riding the HDX from downtown to Sam's Town. It is a residential route with SDX-like buses and takes under fifteen minutes. One stop at Sahara and the next is Sam's Town. Amazing!

I figure a rental car costs me about $40 in missed alcohol on the days I choose to drive and on the days I don't drive, well, then I lose all I've paid for the car.
Of course, I know people who know they can drive even after drinking a few.
Their self confidence is not too reassuring to me. I think it would piss me off to stay sober in a place that gives free alcohol only to get hit by some idiot who did not stay sober.

I push myself to the limit in Vegas. I am often overtired. On the bus I can nap. Driving tourists, like me, may be drunk or overtired, but even if they are well rested and sober, they often do not know where they are going and do unusual and erratic things. They are unpredictable.
My local relatives hate that, and so when they drive, they are in road rage much of the time and do their own erratic passing of bewildered tourists. Somehow, an enraged local guy in an oversized SUV spinning out and around some bewildered rental car driver doesn't seem safe to me.

The safety issue gets worse when you look at accidents.
Of course, if you are really good driver, you figure you can avoid accidents, right? Well, a high percentage of fatalities and debilitaking injuries occur from rear end collisions when one car is stopped. All the defensive driving in the world won't help us if we get rear ended while we are stopped at a light.
One statistic I found was that the odds of dying in a car versus those in a bus for Vegas were 40-1.

Finally, I researched the ins and outs of car rental insurance. It is a mess. The loss of use insurance on your credit card may not be paid unless the car rental company sends them a log of their rentals for that period, and car rental companies usually refuse to send the log as they want to protect their business information from competitors.
Loss of value is not covered by any insurance (but can be avoided with those CDW that double the cost of the car) so it is possible to do major damage to your rental car, have your own car insurance cover the repairs, have the rental company decide not to make repairs but sell cheaply, and be left with loss of value to pay.
There are also instances where rental companies invent damage that did not occur and try to recoup it from you. They might invent it long after the car is returned and not send you the bill until after the time has elapsed for your insurance company to be involved. (accidents need to be reported promptly) Taking good photographs before renting which include the date and one shot of the odometer help, but if you get caught in this mess, it is a hassle.

The valet parking attendant is not covered by your car insurance.

It is all a long gamble, like a slot machine jackpot, only a bad thing when you "hit the jackpot.".
I am not a good gambler in the real world. I don't mind losing my bankroll, but I don't want to put anything else at risk.

Then what is a negative for many in bus riding, is very positive for me. I love to watch people and to interact with strangers. I love the conversations that happen on the rides. Since I go solo, I meet people on buses and at low limit poker tables easily and often. They may be from anywhere in the world. The bus is in some sense just a stage for a reality show. Locals are generally friendly and I get a lot of tips from them about where to eat or visit.

So, I limit my car rentals in Vegas to one day of my 23 day trips. I like to rent a car, go to Red Rock, hike Calico Canyon, then see something at night that is off the bus routes(like the Silverton Pro Bass shop) , and then move my luggage the next morning, say from Imperial Palace to a downtown casino.
I leave for Red Rock directly from the rental area and soon am far away from the worst of the Vegas drivers. I take secondary roads that have little traffic. I best like to pick up a Budget car at the airport and deliver it the next morning to the Golden Nugget.
Busing with an 80 pound suitcase and a computer strapped on my neck is not too hard, but avoiding it at my age is helpful. And one such trip in the middle can give me half a trip on the strip, half downtown, and no bused luggage, just a roll from deal to deal in those two locations.
Sometimes delivering it at the Nugget is more money than taking it back to the airport. Sometimes it is not. If I return it to the airport, I take the WAX back downtown but without luggage. Along with first delivering my luggage to my next casino, I deliver a nice case of water and maybe some snacks for the room that I bought from Target on the way to Red Rock.
Often I pay the CDW just to be totally safe. It just gives me total peace of mind, so that the road trip is worryfree.
Waiting and hoping to get a royal is great fun. Waiting and hoping not to get into an accident isn't fun and it cuts into the carefree attitude of the trip.
And if I get in an accident with the CDW, my own car insurance premiums will not be raised to help the insurance company over perhaps the rest of my life, get back a bit of the money they paid to fix the problem.

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