I use the term FOB almost every day. I have a key FOB to take the elevator in my office building. I had a FOB to get remote access to my office network at my old job. But have you asked yourself why in the world is it called a FOB? I was asked that very question recently by a couple of friends. I stopped for a moment and realized…I have no clue. Even researching on the ever informative interwebs resulted in nada. A FOB is a FOB because that’s what someone decided to name it. Though, I guess I could start referring to it as a “key card scanny thing” as my roommate does. I’m not quite to that point yet.
You may ask, why do you care about this random tangent? LAX Car Share. This is a FOB:
Yes, this strange almost triangular shaped thing is how I get access to LAX Car Share.
Step 1: Go to the LAX Car Share website and apply for the program. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s not too expensive. I even think there might be a promotion going on right now.
Step 2: Once you’ve been approved to join the car share program, you get one of these fun little thingamabobs aka the FOB.
Step 3: You want to take a drive somewhere or you’re running late and just need a car. After approving your membership, LAX Car Share will give you login information for their website (an ID and temporary password). You login, go to Make a Reservation, enter in an address where you are and search for the nearest car. The site will tell you if a car is available or not and then let you make a reservation. The website is fairly user friendly, but my favorite part about the whole thing are the directions as to where the cars are located. Anyone can say “Go to the garage on 8th and Olive and pick up the car.” Have you been to that garage? Did you know there are like a million floors? If the website didn’t tell me that the car is located on the first floor next to the admin office and across from the shared ride vans, I may not have ever found it. I really don’t have the best sense of direction no matter what I say. I readily admit it. Google Maps, I ‘m seriously in love with you.
Step 4: Alright, you’re at the car and you have this wonderful new FOB to use. How in the world does that actually allow me to drive this car? Look for the swipey box (my own term) that is always located on the driver’s side window. It looks something like this:
I stood there like an idiot for a few seconds because I forgot where this swipey box was located the first time I picked up the car share. So there is the mystery unfolded for all of you. Now just take your FOB and swipe over that swipey box (hence the name). The car should unlock. If it doesn’t, there is a number to call or usually someone in the parking garage is around that might be able to help. I have not had any problems yet.
Step 5: OK, now I’m in this unlocked car. Umm…what about keys?! Yeah, well most of the time the keys are left in the glovebox. There have been a couple of times, and I’m not naming names (mostly because I don’t know who was driving before me) when the keys were not in the glovebox. I eventually found them in the pocket next to the driver’s seat.
The next question I get a lot is what do you do when the car needs gas. Now this is the best part. In the glovebox, where hopefully you find the keys, is a card that you can use to get gas.
I’m not a master of gas pumping in these cars yet, because lately when I’ve needed the car someone else has already filled the tank. However, I did it once and it was pretty simple. You put the card into the machine like a credit card, it asks you for your car share ID number and the mileage on the car. Then, voila, you can pump gas. Like magic. There are also step-by-step instructions in that nifty little plastic thing where you find the card.
LAST BUT MAYBE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING…REMEMBER WHERE TO PARK THE CAR. Car Share has reserved spots in all of the garages where they are parked. Most of the time it’s really simple to re-park in the same spot. I had one instance in the Pershing Square garage where I came in from a different side and I couldn’t quite figure out where the reserved spot was again. I also forgot the number of the reserved space. Oops. Luckily there was a nice man working in the office that pointed me in the right direction. Thank you nice man.
And there you have it. Car Share. Love it.