Hack my L.A. trip.
November 4, 2011 4:49 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to access a car in L.A. for two weeks without going through a traditional car rental agency?

I'll be in L.A. for the next two weeks. I'm somewhat averse to a traditional car rental-- I'm trying to keep expenses low because I'm starting a company and bootstrapping it entirely. But I also suspect L.A. will be a lot easier if I have access to a car.

2 weeks, L.A., need access to a car.

Any clever hacks for this problem?
posted by enzymatic to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
posted by yoink at 4:52 PM on November 4, 2011

I don't know of any special ways to get access to a car, but LA does have a functional rail system - it covers quite a lot of the city, though it does not go to the west side. If you are unable to rent a car, I suggest staying somewhere near a metro stop.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:08 PM on November 4, 2011

LA has plentiful car rentals at the airports- is that an option for you at all? You can usually get a pretty good deal (~150-200 a week-- maybe better if you shop around) if you're just getting an economy car and doing it for 2 weeks. If you're only going to be using it sporadically- then Zipcar is definitely an option. But Zipcars add up if you're going to be using it for more than a few hours, where it pretty quickly tips the scales towards traditional rental.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 5:21 PM on November 4, 2011

Fox Rental Car

LA without a car is going to be a nightmare. Seriously. You can do it -- barely -- if all of your meetings are within reasonable distance of the Metro. Otherwise, bite the bullet and value your time in approximation of Fox's rates.

Repeat after me, "I am starting a business. I will be frugal. I will not try to push water uphill."
posted by nickrussell at 5:37 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

699rentacar is another cheap option. You can get $50/week rentals if you're willing to pay mileage (you should run the numbers and see if that makes sense for you).
posted by mr_roboto at 5:43 PM on November 4, 2011

Rent-a-Wreck is another cheap option. You can definitely get around LA without a car, but it takes real commitment.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:57 PM on November 4, 2011

You can often get a better deal from rental car companies located near, but not at, airports. They avoid the special airport taxes and often cater to insurance repair circumstances. Look at enterprise outlets near LAX and compare to bus routes. You may need to tell them that you didn't come from the airport (perhaps you were visiting a friend?) to avoid the airport taxes.
posted by carmicha at 7:26 PM on November 4, 2011

I used Rent-a-Wreck for a couple of months in 1997-1998 when I found myself in a weird prolonged car repair limbo and unable to get where I needed to go by taking the bus or the metro. I think I paid about $125 per week for a Ford Festiva with a few dings and scratches. I'm sure prices have gone up, but they did OK by me.
posted by usonian at 7:51 PM on November 4, 2011

The trick is to get a weekly rental. LA is huge, and has a million car rental spots (well, hundreds) -- so call around the places above. For a time when my wife and I needed an extra, more reliable car, we used Rent4Less which was near (but not in) Burbank Airport - we would get a deal by the week. Unfortunately looks like they're out of business now.

I don't think you can avoid car rental in some form unless you find someone you can simply borrow a car from.
posted by artlung at 10:07 PM on November 4, 2011

Unless you feel like renting in SF and driving down, Zipcar isn't an option in LA.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:39 AM on November 5, 2011

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