Prior to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, mobility was beginning to gain pace as a form of business travel. This took the form of staff travel schemes based around a mobility allowance offering a wide range of options that were not just trains and other forms of public transport, but car and ride sharing, cycling options, and hourly car hire at one extreme and medium-term monthly car hire at another.
Coronavirus created an unavoidable pause in this process because so many of these mobility services are based on shared use of assets with an obvious risk of infection. However, as some kind of normality returns, we are seeing interest in the subject revive quickly. Many managers involved in running fleets believe their professional future lies in evolving into a mobility equivalent and we are seeing strong demand across the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) for training and guidance in this area.
In 2022, we expect this trend to gather pace, with more organisations adopting some form of formal mobility strategy. The most obvious sign of these, we believe, will come in the shape of employees who are eligible for a company car taking a mobility allowance instead of the older, less flexible option of cash. This will be especially appealing for those who do not wish to have a permanent car on their driveway.
Another development related to staff travel schemes are electric vehicle (EV)-based salary sacrifice initiatives. The current low benefit-in-kind rates for EVs mean that these can be offered by employers to staff at very, very attractive rates. We are seeing exponential growth in this area and it is likely to be a key element of an expected return to growth in company car numbers over the next year or so.
Paul Hollick is chair of the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP)