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FYI: Hertz Chicago Union Station is closing

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justinslot

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May 25, 2014
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I was trying to make a reservation for early August but the Hertz website said the Union Station location would be closed then; I called the Union Station Hertz desk directly to make sure the website is correct, and not only is it correct, the location is closing permanently sometime after 7/15. The person I talked to said their parking lot was being turned into condos.

I'm a Hertz guy so this is disappointing. I just checked Avis and Budget at Union Station and they are allowing rentals in early August, so perhaps it was just Hertz who lost their lot? Or else their websites are not as current as Hertz's.
 

PVD

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The parking structure where they kept their cars is being torn down and the space will be redeveloped, that is covered in another thread. I would do a search of Hertz Downtown locations, very often they have "Hertz Local Edition" offices that will do a pick up and drop off Enterprise style at a station. That's how I get my car in Denver, they take me to the local office on Welton, a few minutes away.
 

justinslot

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Ah, I searched for "chicago rental" and "chicago hertz" and didn't see anything. Yes, the closest Hertz office is at 181 W Washington, and they do offer pickup.

But it would be even easier to just rent from the onsite companies...does the other thread cover whether Avis and Budget are also being forced out?
 

PVD

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I don't think so, it was focused on the redevelopment plans for Union Station. I just remembered that's were Hertz had its cars. Not sure bout the others. Enterprise usually picks up also. Something that might matter is whether or not a particular office has hours (or after hours drop) when you need to bring the car back. Downtown offices for almost everyone tend to have short hours (if any) on weekends.
 

Anderson

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After my experience with that location some years ago, I am not sorry to see that particular Local Edition get cancelled. I had a particularly stressful day at Christmas one year where I tried to return my car but the desk was left unmanned and Hertz tried to tell me to go to another location (which I really did not have time to do). It is a pity to have a reduced car rental facility at Union Station, but...*shrugs*
 

John Bobinyec

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Many, many years ago, I was in Chicago Union Station and rented a Hertz car, and picked it up from a garage which is underneath the great hall. I was surprised this year when we did the same thing but had to walk through a long hallway to get to the present garage location, located one block south. Maybe things will revert to the way they were.

jb
 

AutoTrDvr

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Just out of curiosity, how big is the market for rental cars at Union Station? One would think with all the CTA and Metra trains in close proximity, the need for rental cars might not be as prominent.
 

PVD

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If Enterprise and Hertz (and maybe others) are in the area, and pick up at the station, physical presence is probably less important than it used to be, more and more transactions are done online or using the phone apps. They might even put in a courtesy phone type of arrangement.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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Many, many years ago, I was in Chicago Union Station and rented a Hertz car, and picked it up from a garage which is underneath the great hall. I was surprised this year when we did the same thing but had to walk through a long hallway to get to the present garage location, located one block south. Maybe things will revert to the way they were.

jb
Taxis also used to use that area under the Great Hall but both were discontinued due to post 9/11 security issues.
 

MikeM

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Avis also had car rentals at this location, and typically were more affordable than Hertz. I'd check and see if they're also shutting down. If so that's a real pain, the other downtown agencies typically are not open on weekends, and riding a train to an airport to get a rental seems like a major waste.
 
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For years, when arriving or departing Chicago by Amtrak, I've used the Enterprise office at 555 W. Madison. Enterprise's web page even calls this the "Chicago Union Station" office. It is in the base of the four identical Presidential Towers, an easy landmark to spot from a distance when driving. Enterprise at this location always seemed to be far cheaper than Hertz in Union Station.

If you use the Madison Street exit at the far north end of Union Station, the Enterprise office is only one and a half blocks away. But note that the Madison Street exit has a long and steep stairway, and no elevator. It could be a problem with a large, heavy suitcase.
 
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Just out of curiosity, how big is the market for rental cars at Union Station? One would think with all the CTA and Metra trains in close proximity, the need for rental cars might not be as prominent.
It's bigger than you would think: a lot of the city isn't readily accessible by rail as are huge swath's of the metro area. In addition a lot of rentals are probably business related - both people without cars needing a car for a few hours to get to a clients site in the suburbs, particularly when Metra schedules don't work or is not readily accessed outside of commuting hours, and company's who prefer to expense a rental than to reimburse a personal car. I've heard of Zipcar being useless as a company car, but Uber may have changed that.
 

NES28

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I work near Union Station and stopped by the Avis/Budget counter today. They also keep their cars in the Amtrak-owned garage that will be demoed in the fall. They are also going to close and are looking for a garage as close as they can (there are none very close). In response to an earlier post Union Station has been a good car rental location because it's in the heart of of a very popular office area, where virtually no one drives to work. Train riders are icing on the cake. The 1.5M sf office building replacing the garage will have some parking so, hopefully, car rental will be able to return to Union Station, in 3 years, or so.
 

zephyr17

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Just out of curiosity, how big is the market for rental cars at Union Station? One would think with all the CTA and Metra trains in close proximity, the need for rental cars might not be as prominent.
I used Hertz at Union Station regularly to rent a car to drive to Indianapolis. I needed a car when I got there, the Hoosier State/Cardinal times suck at Indy (and incompatible with downtown Indy car rental hours), the 8 to 50/850 connection was too close for comfort, etc, etc.

Chicago was one of the comparatively few stations with car rental counters in the station. Hertz was there for years and years, I know I was using them there as far back as the 1990s, so they must have done a decent business to stay all those years.
 

Ryan

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Rental cars at train stations are the single best thing to improve that would make the train more workable for my particular travel. Getting dropped in the middle of downtown isn’t an advantage when you tend to visit places in the suburbs.
 

F900ElCapitan

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Well I know it’s not nearly the same as having a counter in the station, but there are a couple of Hertz HLE locations fairly close by.

Chicago - West Loop HLE
181 West Washington Street
Chicago , Illinois , United States , 60601
Phone : (312) 726-1476
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 7:00AM-6:00PM, Sat-Sun 9:00AM-12:00PM
Location Type: Corporate

Chicago - State Street HLE
401 North State Street
Chicago , Illinois , United States , 60610
Phone : (312) 372-7600
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri 7:00AM-8:00PM, Sat 7:00AM-4:00PM, Sun 8:00AM-7:00PM
Location Type: Corporate

I have learned that in SLC, Hertz advertises a location in the Amtrak station, but when you reserve there they then tell you there isn’t an actual desk there and that they will reimburse a cab ride to the airport. That kind of defeats the purpose but the airport is the only 24 hour location and the CZ arrives in the middle of the night there.
 

dlagrua

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Wherever we travel there is usually not a car rental counter at the station. A call to Enterprise and they pick you up and drive you to their location that is usually only a couple of miles away. Also found that Enterprise Car Rental rates are lower than those of Hertz and a free upgrade can be had on most rentals.
 

F900ElCapitan

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Thanks for the info. We have our choice of rental companies at work so I use Hertz nearly exclusively, which makes me a Presidents Circle member. This way I get to use points when on vacation and save some money. Plus I get available upgrades also. ;)
 

justinslot

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May 25, 2014
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So FYI: the day I arrived in Chicago was the day after the rental agencies were closed for good. Luckily the Avis office is extremely close by--I went out the wrong exit on the way there so I had to walk a little more than I had to, but if you go out the Jackson Blvd exit and turn right on Franklin the Avis office is right there, and I'm pretty sure it's the closest one to the train station at this point. Their cars are kept on the 5th floor of the Traders self park garage. It was a smooth experience and though I'm mainly a Hertz guy I'll probably use Avis again the next time I need to rent in Chicago.
 
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