Fleet News

Travel planning: Will 'mobility' displace 'fleet'

By Ashley Sowerby, managing director, Chevin Fleet Solutions

Sometimes, a word that sits happily in the background with only occasional use suddenly starts appearing everywhere, perhaps a sign that an idea is gaining traction.

For me, one such word is ‘mobility’.

Recently, I attended a conference of European fleet managers and one of the most apparent trends was that of providing mobility budgets.

Individuals are given a travel budget every month and, within guidelines, how they spend that money to meet their business obligations is up to them.

At the same event, at least two manufacturers were discussing the idea of fleets shared between different organisations, the thinking being that each could take advantage of the time when the other’s vehicles lay idle.

This was mentioned as part of an overall mobility concept.

Finally, our division in the Benelux countries has just introduced a mobility module to work with our fleet software, in line with demand from customers who need something to record different kinds of business travel.

Yes, it seems to be the moment of mobility.

But if that is the word, what is the thinking behind it? Well, it definitely represents a move away from the conventional company car fleet.

Cars are part of the mix but they are not necessarily being used in a straightforward fleet fashion.

They may be hired, shared or even taken on a short-term lease.

There is also greater use of other forms of transport, primarily trains but also planes, taxis and even pushbikes. Also, employees are given many more transport choices.

How many of these ideas are practical? Well, long-time readers of Fleet News will acknowledge that little of this thinking is genuinely new and that, to date, such ideas have failed to catch on in the UK in any meaningful way.

Shared fleets, for example, are probably a non-starter to my mind on practical grounds.

However, there does seem to be a little more impetus than previously, to me at least, even if a revolution in the way that fleets are used is unlikely.

It is certainly possible that, in a few years, we become accustomed to discussing the fleet within the framework of an overall corporate mobility solution.

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