Molokai’s Car Rental Industry in Flux
By Catherine Cluett
As Budget and Dollar Rent-a-Car companies announced the closure of their Molokai locations in March, Alamo announced its arrival on the island on June 1. Alamo is on track to open their new Molokai airport location at the beginning of next month, confirmed Paul Kopel, Alamo's vice president and general manager for Hawai’i, last week. At that time, the company will also begin construction on one of the two existing rental car properties, according to Kopel.
Alamo does not plan to bring anyone in from off-island to staff the Molokai location, said Kopel. Local employees of Budget and Dollar were offered jobs with Alamo, and Kopel said those positions will be announced this week.
One Molokai employee of Dollar estimated about 95 percent of the company’s local workers have sought jobs with Alamo.
The company plans to start off the Molokai operation with 125 cars available for rent, according to Kopel. He said Alamo will then gauge community need, but added that he hopes to expand the operation from that number.
According to local employees, Budget’s fleet fluctuated between 100 and 190 cars, while Dollar’s Molokai operation averaged about 80 cars before their closure.
Dollar Rent-a-Car’s Molokai location is currently serving customers with existing reservations through May 24, as well as those on a walk-up basis, according to a local employee.
Carol Harms, owner of Budget’s Molokai operation, says only her and her husband, Doug Harms, are still employed at the business for the month of May, operating with limited hours. She says Budget stopped taking new reservations at the beginning of the month, and is now serving only customers with previous reservations in May.
Harms said the business is in the process of shipping all the location’s cars back to Budget on Oahu.
“We’d like to give a big mahalo to everybody who has been our customers,” says Harms.
Island Kine Auto Rental is currently the only car rental on the island in full operation, but were not available for comment.
Reservations can be made with Alamo for after June 1 by calling the company’s toll free number at -877-222-9075 or by visiting Alamo’s website at www.alamo.com and selecting the Molokai location.