We have just returned from a week on the GC. For many years I have used Alpha Car hire whilst on holiday on the GC but having recommended Apex for its New Zealand operation I deemed it appropriate to try out the Aussie operation which has now been operating for approx 8 months.
In order to speed things up I checked out their terms and conditions and looked at their sample contract on line via their website before arrival in Australia.
When I made my booking I also sent our driving licence numbers ahead of time. This saved a few minutes and all the staff needed was to sight them as everything was prerecorded on the contract.
We chose to pay cash for the hire which was required up front and they took an imprint of my credit card in case of any trouble downstream ie accidents, speeding fines etc.
We declined the extra per diem insurance which reduces excesses down to zero as our travel insurance more than covered any excesses payable.
We arrived at Brisbane airport and upon clearing customs rang the company on the 1800 number provided and were told to wait in Bay 2 of the Coach carpark. This is the normal pick up point for Apex. Most other rental companies use Bay 3. The shuttle took about 15 - 20 minutes after doing a drop off at Brisbane Domestic en route.
10 minutes after pickup we were outside the Apex depot. Paper work took about 15 minutes and a thorough inspection of the vehicle a further 10 - 15 minutes.
We also declined a toll card for which Apex charge around $2 per day. If one is travelling along a lot of toll roads and criss crossing the Gateway bridge this could be an economic way of paying the toll fees. We were only crossing the Gateway bridge twice so declined the offer.
As there were only two of us we hired a Hyundai I20 which is the small 4 door car but very economical. Our bags were too big for the small luggage compartment but we managed with a little juggling things around.
We holidayed on the GC and the fuel used from airport to GC cost $12.50 at $1.40 per litre. Very very cheap. A train trip airport to Gold Coast is now $50 one way. This makes hiring a car very attractive if there a couple of you travelling. Hire of the car was $33 per day.
The vehicle had more grunt than was ever needed.
We returned the vehicle at the end of the hire and the staff member had checked the vehicle, including that the tank was fill before we had got all our baggage out of the car. Fortunately we had no damage to the vehicle. I cannot impress on any hirers the importance of getting the vehicle signed back in by a staff member. This will reduce any further problems downstream.
The shuttle was ready to take us back to the airport almost as soon as we had the vehicle cleared.
From time of arrival at the depot until departure to the airport was approx 30 minutes. If there is no damage then allow 45 minutes depot to airport in case you have to wait for shuttle to return or if you have any damage allow at least an hour to complete all paperwork.
In conclusion we found the staff very friendly and helpful and they got us away as soon as they could and also made the return very painless.
Will I use Apex again? Most definitely. They are as good as my previously used operator Alpha, but I will use Apex in future as they are a kiwi company.
Pricing is very competitive between both operators.Edited: 11 June 2012, 06:30