Late Return Alerts

Kurt Lingohr -


A "Late Return" is where a car is due back at a certain time and is running late.


PoolCar has the ability to automatically send email alerts for Late Returns to System Administrators via a "5 Minute Robot".

You probably already know that a Robot is a digital housekeeper that runs a certain automated task. The "5 Minute" variety means the Robot fires every 5 minutes, 24 hours a day, and is useful for automating anything that needs a watchful eye ... such as cars not back on time.


What constitutes a Late Return?

When a user makes a booking, they specify the start and end times. The end time is when they expect to be back. A Late Return is when the car is not back when the booking was due to end.

A Late Return is usually either because the driver is stuck in traffic, or they have not allowed enough time for their journey. There are other potential reasons, of course, such as a breakdown, accident or some other reason that may warrant a welfare check.

In a context when we are sharing cars, Late Returns can cause flow on effects for other staff members who have booked the car for a certain time, because they assume the car will be back on time from the previous booking. Examples include take home cars, or part-private-use cars, i.e. a staff member commutes home in the car as part of their salary package and needs to leave by 4.00pm so therefore the car must be back by 4pm.


How does the system know the car is Late?

An important point to note is that you must be using Check Out/In. When a Check Out occurs it tells the system the booking is in progress. A Check Out can happen when:

  • You have a central kiosk PC set to display the Check Out/In page. A Check Out occurs when the user taps the Check Out button to indicate they have commenced their booking.
  • Or, when a user taps the Commence Journey button on the mobile website/app.
  • Or, if you have key cabinets installed, a Check Out occurs when the user removes the key from the cabinet.

Conversely, a Check In tells the system the booking is complete. Such as returning the key to the key cabinet.

The 5-Minute Robot is constantly checking the time between the Booking End time and whether or not a Check In has occurred. If the Booking End time has been and gone, with no Check In, then the car is "Late".


How Late is Late?

When doing the Late check, the system will allow a certain time buffer. By default this is 15 minutes and you can change this to suit your organisation from the Application Settings page.


As depicted in the screen shot, the system will send alerts continuously every 15 minutes after the initial "Late" determination.


Who receives the alerts?

Alerts are sent via email to the System Administrators. At the present time there is no way to specify who should receive the alerts - it is fixed at being all users in the System Administrator role.

There are two types of alerts sent. The first is a "normal" alert, where a Late Return has been determined but there is no real pressure as the next booking is not for some time. You can treat these alerts as an FYI or the trigger for a welfare check.

Subject: PoolCar booking #29212 not yet back - {Firstname} {Lastname} {Rego}
Message Body:

A booking has been Checked Out but not yet Checked In (late return).

Details of the overdue booking
Booking#: 29212
Rego: {Rego}
Was due back: Thu 3/08/2017 4:00 p.m.
Name: {Firstname} {Lastname}
Contact number: {Phone No}
Email: {Email Address}
Pool: {Pool Name}

Details of next booking
Booking#: 37094
Starts: Fri 4/08/2017 9:00 a.m.
Name: {Name of next booking holder}
Contact number: {Phone No}
Email: {Email Address}}

You are receiving this email because as you
are a member of the System Administrator role.
Late return alerts like this one will be sent
every 15 minutes until Checked In.

This email has been sent to:

* {System Admin 1}
* {System Admin 2}
* {System Admin 3}
* {System Admin 4}


The second type is a little more urgent, because the system has detected an adjacent booking which may need your attention. The adjacent booking will be impacted if the car is not back soon. In which case you, as the System Administrator, may need to reassign the next booking to another car. 

At present there is no way to automatically reassign the next booking, but we anticipate this being a new feature in the future.

The contents of the alert will be as above, with some additional text:

************************** IMPORTANT ************************
The next booking is due to start in 33 minutes, at 4:30 pm

If {Name of overdue booking} is not back soon, you will likely
need to make alternate travel arrangements for {Name of next booking},
phone {Phone no}, or email {Email Address}








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  • Avatar
    Parisa Ghassemi

    It would be ideal if the late return alerts went to the Pool Managers instead

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