Avis is trying, with a simple app, to end our long, national car-rental nightmare. If you've done any traveling, you know what I mean. After sitting trapped on an airplane for hours, you are forced to line up behind a dozen other weary travelers, all waiting to talk to a car rental agency counter associate, who will assault you with questions you've answered a dozen times before: Avis's new Avis Now app is designed to put an end to all of it. Virtually every pain point of your car rental experience disappears and instead you do everything through Avis Now (available for iOS and Android). "We're re-engineering of entire rental process," Avis CEO Larry DeShon told me on Tuesday.
Video Plus is one of South Dakota's last stand-alone video rental stores. Movie Mania in Pierre and Mr. Movies in Rapid City are some of the other holdouts in an increasingly shrinking field. Northview Video in Aberdeen still keeps a couple of shelves dedicated to DVDs, but owner Marian Osborn transitioned to selling party supplies in 2007 and has continued to shrink her video rental inventory.
U.S. renters saw their monthly leases rise at a significantly slower pace in February, a sign that new construction may be starting to limit housing costs for apartment dwellers. Real estate data firm Zillow said Thursday that median rent rose a seasonally adjusted 2.6 percent from a year ago. The median rent nationwide was 1,383 a month, having barely budged over the past six months after a period of extended acceleration. Two major forces appear to be dampening price growth: an influx of new apartment construction and renters finding their incomes are too low to afford further price hikes. For the first two months of 2016, finished construction of multi-family apartment units is running nearly 19 percent above last year's pace.
Competition over putting bums on the seats of rental bikes is hotting up in London, with Mobike today announcing an expansion of its dockless service into the capital in September. The company will start by parking 750 bikes around the London Borough of Ealing, primarily in Acton, and will add more as demand grows. This follows the launch of oBike in London, which operates an identical dockless bike rental scheme, just a few weeks ago. If you're catching up, dockless rental schemes don't require you to pick up and drop off bikes at specific stations. You locate your nearest dormant bike via a mobile app, unlock it with your phone and then lock it back up anywhere it's legal to park a bike when you've completed your journey.
Maybe getting the insurance on a rental car is a good idea after all. A 25-year-old driving a rented $250,000 Lamborghini Huracan convertible in Birmingham, England, collided with another car on a two-lane street earlier this week, hit a lamp post and crashed into a parked car before the wrecked exotic came to rest among some garbage cans. A witness told The Sun that the car was driving no faster than 30 mph at the time of the incident, and must've revved it too hard and lost control. The crash was serious enough to deploy the Lamborghini's airbags, and the Birmingham Mail reports that the driver injured his nose, but refused a trip to the hospital. The driver of the other car was apparently OK.