Best Traditional Car Rental Agency - 2001
While City CarShare is mighty handy for small trips, at 45 cents a mile it becomes prohibitively expensive for longer voyages. For those, the carless will have to visit a rental car agency -- and will learn once again why most people in this city insist on owning cars. The big rental agencies will try to shove expensive insurance, gas fill-ups, and model upgrades down your throat. Usually, by the time you're done renting a $39.99-a-day car, it ends up costing $80 a day, and evil, destructive car ownership begins to look like a pretty good deal. Fortunately in San Francisco we have the Pendergasts -- Tom, Dan, and Matt -- who run the easiest-to-use rental car agency around. Where other agencies churn through barely post-teen personnel, Tom runs a family business with his two sons as staff. "You're always going to see the same person here, so we're going to get to know the customers," Dan says. "We're against pushing insurance and all that kind of stuff. We kind of leave it to the renter." They're quicker than the bigger agencies too: After the Pendergasts get to know you -- and this takes no more than two visits -- they generally have your car ready by the time you reach the counter. Another thing: Don't let the Rent-a-Wreck name throw you. Though the Pendergasts' rates are generally the cheapest in town, the cars are clean, moderately used Fords, impeccably maintained.