Caroline Sandall: Modern staff travel schemes are a blended-mobility solution

Caroline Sandall

In April 2013, the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) published a members’ guide entitled From A to B: The ACFO guide to UK journey planning.

It provided a thought-provoking basis from which public, private and voluntary sector organisations could look at just how effective, and sustainable, their existing mobility options were.

As ACFO said then, the opportunities for employers to implement a diverse, multi-faceted, sustainable mobility plan while also displaying corporate social responsibility, carbon footprint reduction, risk management, business efficiency and cost management were never greater.

Today, mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) has become a buzz phrase, to the extent that even the House of Commons Transport Select Committee has held an inquiry.

In providing evidence to the Committee, ACFO said that MaaS should become the future norm, with employees using digital devices to select the most appropriate model of travel and pay for journeys to meet personal and business circumstances.

But MaaS will only work if government departments, agencies and local councils work together on a joined-up system that allows for flexibility. The integration of transport is not just about timetables, but payment systems, and the ability to have fully integrated opportunities to buy and use tickets is a must in a fully rounded MaaS system.

Far-sighted businesses have already combined their fleet and travel departments, so that instead of having journey data in separate silos one person has a holistic view. That individual is now focused on the ‘total cost of a journey’ instead of the company car selection benchmark of ‘total cost of ownership’.

It should also be remembered that, as Generation Y comes to the fore in terms of management positions, they do not view company cars, or indeed driving altogether, in the same ‘must have’ way as older employees.

The company car remains a valuable recruitment tool, and ACFO believes it will continue to have a role to play within a blended mobility solution that embraces trains, planes, car clubs, car share schemes and other options, with any business trip made determined by a variety of factors including cost, time and value. Consequently, choice within a modern staff travel scheme is underpinned by technology and apps aiding the decision-making process.

Caroline Sandall is deputy chairman of the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO)