A little help from the drivers

Since mid-August, the key for your rental vehicle from ISU transportation services has come in a white envelope. This customer envelope gives drivers a consistent way to share two important pieces of information:

  • The vehicle's odometer at the end of a trip
  • Notes about observed mechanical problems or body damage to the vehicle

The end goal, said transportation services manager Kathy Wellik, is to help her staff take good care of the fleet, make needed repairs sooner and, ultimately, keep rental rates down.

Transport Envelope

A partial view of a new customer envelope now in use by transportation services to retrieve information about its rental vehicles. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Iowa State remains largely self-insured, but one change that moved student organization travel insurance to an outside insurer makes it critical to know when damage occurs to a vehicle.

Wellik's staff shares vehicle information on the envelopes, too. Maintenance staff make note of dents or significant marks during their pre-rental inspection. The driver can note any additional changes that occurred during the trip in a second diagram, as well as observations about the vehicle's operation and comments on their experience using transportation services.

"It's been very well received so far," Wellik said. "The additional information helps us stay on top of problems as they arise, when they're minor issues and not major ones."

She noted that university drivers often are the most likely to discover mechanical problems with vehicles, particularly problems that are apparent only at highway speeds. That information is helpful in maintaining a reliable fleet of vehicles, she said.

For those who return to campus after business hours, a new key night drop box at transportation services is large enough to accommodate the 6-by-9-inch envelopes.