Keyless Package Cars

UPS is expanding its use of keyless package cars.

The new technology reduces some hassles for drivers—but the company’s real goal is increasing stop counts.

UPS is expanding its use of a new keyless ignition and entry system. Here’s how it works.

Drivers have a fob device clipped to their belt similar to a remote starter for a car.
Hitting a green button once on the dash starts diagnostics on the engine. Holding the button starts the engine.

Hitting the red button on the dash one time stops the engine. Hitting it a second time unlocks the bulkhead door. The bulkhead door has been fitted with a spring that opens it when unlocked. The driver can also hold the fob button to open the bulkhead door.
The rear door is opened by hitting the fob twice, which unlocks a magnetic lock. The driver has eight seconds to turn the handle and open the door.

Drivers report the new technology can be quirky—especially on older trucks and in bad weather.

In case of malfunction, the contingency plan is to call the auto shop at the building. The shop calls Atlanta for a code that unlocks a lock box on the truck where there are keys to runs things the old-fashioned way.

Even the fail-safe code has been known to malfunction—leaving the driver in the lurch.

Driving Up Stop Counts

The new technology has its ups and downs.

“On the plus side, the new FOB system keeps that annoying key off our fingers, which is better for lifting packages. And there’s less repetition in constantly putting the key in the bulkhead door,” says Matt Taibi, a driver and Providence Local 251 Teamster.

“But UPS’ real aim is to reduce the time we spend on these tasks and, you guessed it, to add more stops to drivers. When they introduced the technology in my building, management told us it should increase our stop count by 10 stops a day. Stop counts are definitely up,” Taibi said.

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