(Riverton, Wyo.) – Some airline passengers who arrive in Riverton with car rental reservations find the rental agency desks empty with no way to get a vehicle, the Riverton Airport Board was told at its last meeting. This problem was said to be especially acute around the Memorial Day holiday.
Riverton Airport Board Chairman Dean Peranteaux, who brought the issue up, said he had three to four calls expressing frustration over the issue. “We want people to fly into Riverton, but we don’t want to strand them,” he said.
The car rental agencies inside Riverton Regional Airport’s Terminal, however, tell a different story. “If a passenger has a reservation, I’m here,” said Tina Chancellor, at Hertz Rent-A-Car. At the Avis rental counter, Kayla Leicester said the same thing. “The only time I’m not here is if the passenger comes in on an earlier (or later) flight and I’m not notified, or if I’m out washing the cars. I’m always here,” she said.
Chancellor, whose business is affiliated with Hertz Corporate, also said she has to juggle getting cars from Denver to satisfy the local need, such as insurance replacements. “We usually have 8 to 10 rentals on that just on Monday’s alone,” she said. She said she normally operates with 21 vehicles in her fleet. “Yesterday, corporate pulled nine of my cars because Denver is short 600 vehicles for the holiday weekend and all I have left now are vehicles people don’t usually like, such as trucks. Compacts and four-passenger vehicles are the most popular.”
Leicester said her fleet is smaller than Chancellor’s, only a dozen vehicles, but hers is a privately owned business, affiliated with other Avis agencies in Wyoming and South Dakota, and not a corporate store. I answer to the office in Sheridan, she said. Because her fleet is smaller, she said she does not do much insurance replacement business.
Airport Manager Paul Griffin said that when the leases for the car rental agencies come up for renewal this month, he would look into adding a provision into their contracts that they meet all flights when there is a rental reservation.
Griffin said the car rental business had shifted its customer base somewhat with the reliability problems of the last six months. “As I understand it they are renting vehicles more to local people now while their vehicles are being repaired and such,” Griffin said, “rather than concentrating on incoming air travelers.”
“We’ve lost a lot of our energy business to Casper,” Chancellor said. “They used to come in and rent from me all the time. I had 28 cars go out one day alone, but now those energy companies are flying elsewhere. It’s hurt my business.”