As Hurricane Harvey slowly dissipates and with the skies clearing up and the water receding, the residents of Houston are facing the damages the hurricane has left in its wake. Many without shelter, now face the task of rebuilding their lives. The 40,000 homes lost is a staggering figure. But the one number that many people have overlooked is the million cars that were destroyed in just the Houston metro area. Reliable transportation is already a daily need, but even more important in aftermath of a disaster. And to make matters worse, Houston is a car-dependent city which makes rebuilding an extremely difficult matter. Insurance checks to replace their lost vehicles may be weeks or even months away, making car rentals the most practical short term solution.
However, residents are already reporting it takes longer to find a rental car than to find contractors to start rebuilding their homes. Enterprise Holdings, the largest car rental company in the United States, parent company of Alamo, Enterprise and National rent-a-car has already dispatched over 4000 vehicles to Texas and planning to move another 17,000 units in the upcoming weeks. Enterprise which has over 6400 locations was in the process of moving cars to the disaster area from as far away as Dallas and Denver. Enterprise and other car rental agencies have all waived their one-way trip fees for all vehicles rented in Houston as long as they are dropped off back in Houston. The one-way trip service fee is normally a charge car rental companies put on customers for dropping off a car rental at another location from where it was rented from. Car rental companies are also waiving any extension fees, and late fees in consideration of the disaster. Many car rental agencies are reeling from the damages the hurricane has left them with. Most companies do not expect the car rentals that went out before the hurricane to come back at all.