Flexcar can’t take the heat

I hereby rescind my ringing endorsement of Flexcar. It’s a great idea. A wonderful, fantastic idea. But here’s the thing: if you’re car-free, you are not going to reserve a car unless you really need it. It isn’t casual, and it isn’t something you do every day. So, when you reserve a car, it needs to work.

By way of explanation, when you sign up for Flexcar, you get a card to unlock the doors. The card is placed against the back window of the car, just above a card reader.

Unfortunately, there is a problem with the card readers on the Flexcars. They don’t work when it gets hot. It doesn’t even have to be particularly hot–it’s in the 70s right now, and the card reader isn’t functioning, I assume because it’s in direct sunlight. I’ve had the problem twice now. I would blame my card, but I have no problem unlocking a car when the back window is cool.

Portland has a wide range of outdoor temperatures, and the heat we are experiencing now is not particularly unusual. Summers regularly range into the 90s. A car that won’t unlock in the heat could leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere.

I’ve talked with Flexcar, and they’re very apologetic, and are working to get a better card reader in the cars. They are even rotating cars out of the garage all day to prevent the problem (though this only increases your chance of being stranded on a hot day). But they’ve been around for a few years–in Los Angeles, and the problem hasn’t been fixed yet, so I’m not holding my breath.

1 Responses to Flexcar can’t take the heat

  1. kelly says:

    Hey Cat, You should try J & K rentals. The person on the reservation desk is friendly and the prices are very competetive. The choice of vehicles is limited, though.