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Nervous about car rental, public transport possible?

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Brighton, UK
posts: 17
reviews: 3
Nervous about car rental, public transport possible?

Hi

We are off to Tuscany next week, staying in Barberino Val D'elsa. I had booked a rental car through carrentals.com but the car was from Goldcar and having read the reviews and comments on here I've cancelled it. The problem is, all the car hire companies within my budget sound like a bunch of crooks. This forum has terrified me that I'll be left with huge credit card charges that I can't afford.

I've found vehicles through auto-europe.co.uk for Firefly, Maggitorie and Budget within my price range but they all seem to get very negative reviews. Hertz is coming in at almost £100/day (we need a child seat).

Is it possible to be based in Barberino Val D'elsa without a car? How often do buses run and how reliable are they?

Alternatively has anyone had good car hire experiences with the three companies I mentioned? We are flying in/out Pisa Airport.

South Australia
posts: 22,707
reviews: 12
1. Re: Nervous about car rental, public transport possible?

Staying in rural Tuscany a car is essential to enjoy the region, and www.auto-europe.co.uk has to my knowledge, been given no negative reports on Tripadvisor.

Local buses in the Chianti region www.trainspa.it/train04/extraurbano.pdf www.busfox.com/timetable

www.discovertuscany,com www.italia.it/en/home.html

Solihull, United...
posts: 1
reviews: 7
2. Re: Nervous about car rental, public transport possible?

You really do need a car for where you are going. Public transport is available (fantastic train system from Pisa to Siena, Florence etc with stops in many towns along the way) but where you are is not on the mainline and with a small child it could be quite stressful changing trains, then getting local buses/taxis etc. We have always used Herttz, Europcar (ordered when booking flight) - if we had not per booked then we would have gone with any of the ones you mentioned. Our friends always use Maggitore - the main thing is to be fully insured which you normally cannot get a quote for until you get there. if you were stopping in Pisa or a main city then I would not hesitate to recommend the train system. We always get a car for our convenience but end up using public transport so that we can both just relax, look at the views, read, have wine at lunch! etc

Castellina in...
posts: 2,822
reviews: 8
3. Re: Nervous about car rental, public transport possible?

It requires a bit of planning the buses but you can have good fun based in Barberino Val d'Elsa without a car.

Here's the bus timetable - note that not all buses run every day. Study it carefully. They very reliable: http://www.acvbus.it/orari/368-370.pdf

It would be a good idea to ask at a bar for the phone number of the local taxi license holder both for occasional short trips for supplies if you're out in the country and in case you have to get to an airport or something. If you use mainly buses, even with some taxi rides it will cost a lot less than a rental car.

This might help: www.chianti.info/chianti_without_car.htm

And also this: http://www.barberinovaldelsa.info/

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
Destination Expert
for Tuscany
posts: 6,875
reviews: 51
4. Re: Nervous about car rental, public transport possible?

I also think you need a rental car. Check out www.insurance4hirecar.com, you can really comprehensive coverage at a far lower price than taking it from the rental company. When you arrive go over the car very carefully and make sure all marks are noted on the diagram on the rental agreement and if you find any that are not get a member of staff out and make sure they add them. Take photographs of the car with a date stamp. If you can afford it, I would go with europcar, hertz or avis. Going through autoeurope and taking the lowest insurance coverage (provided you have taken the above insurance) should help a bit.

With regard to the child seat, is is a seat for tiny baby or the booster seat? If a booster seat, in the past I have taken a big suitcase and stuck one in there, they are usually fairly light.

Castellina in...
posts: 2,822
reviews: 8
5. Re: Nervous about car rental, public transport possible?

Note: the bus timetables are currently being revised. At the SITA bus station in Florence, as for the latest version in printed format. They won't differ much from the online version.

Edited: 5:23 am, August 25, 2013
Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 56,166
reviews: 11
6. Re: Nervous about car rental, public transport possible?

You will find online rants about every car rental company, mostly from people who did not bother to read the rental contract or refuse to admit that they damaged the car.

The number of rants is a tiny proportion of the number of rentals, but people who have a satisfactory experience are not motivated to get online to post about an uneventful rental.

Brighton, UK
posts: 17
reviews: 3
7. Re: Nervous about car rental, public transport possible?

Thank you for the speedy and useful replies, it's much appreciated.

I was a bit nervous about driving anyway but do feel it would be the best way to get around and see the area. I'm just imagining getting mysterious fines and charges for years afterwards. Some of the stories I've read on here are awful!

I'll have a look at that insurance link, thank you, and the bus timetables. Our daughter is 12 months old so needs a bulky seat unfortunately. Some of the car hire companies seem to be charging 35 euros a day for the one we need but we could pay extra baggage and take one. Would be £40 so I think it would work out cheaper.

We are going to try and plan our trip using public transport too, just to see if we feel it is possible. At the same time I guess you are right, people only really share the problems and horror stories but it is enough to put you off, even though hundreds of people rent cars everyday. They can't all be getting conned!

8. Re: Nervous about car rental, public transport possible?

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Brighton, UK
posts: 17
reviews: 3
9. Re: Nervous about car rental, public transport possible?

Thanks Nick, some great tips on your website. Always good to see photos so I know what to look out for.

I've still not decided what to do about the car and I'm very much torn between wanting to explore and get the best out of the region and avoiding trouble and £££ charges to my card post holiday. Firefly seem to get almost as bad a reviews as Gold Car but will keep looking around and hope something comes to me.

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
Destination Expert
for Tuscany
posts: 6,875
reviews: 51
10. Re: Nervous about car rental, public transport possible?

I would definitely avoid Gold Car, but I have also been driving in Italy for 20 years and have never had a bad experience with a company or got a fine. Don't drive in the major cities such as Florence and Pisa, but as for everywhere else, once you know about the ZTLs they are easily avoided.