Fleet News

Public transport 'not an alternative to company car'

PUBLIC transport is not perceived as an alternative to the company car by fleet chiefs despite the Government's integrated transport white paper's bid to encourage people to travel by bus, rail, bike or walk. Although more than 90% of fleet chiefs agreed there should be more frequent and cheaper public transport, they unanimously agreed that company cars were more reliable, cheaper to operate and were significantly more convenient.

An exclusive survey of 353 fleet managers by Fleet NewsNet's sister publication Fleet News in conjunction with contract hire and leasing company Alphabet also reveals that most company car drivers would accept benefit-in-kind tax increases before they gave up their company car.

Meanwhile, just 4.5% of respondents have alternatively-fuelled vehicles on their fleets with the vast majority saying the lack of a refuelling network prevented them from adding gas-powered vehicles to their fleets. And almost 75% of fleet bosses said their company car drivers 'lost' up to 60 minutes a day due to traffic congestion. However, opinion was divided on whether or not traffic bans in city centres were a good idea but almost half of fleet managers accepted road tolls to reduce peak hour congestion were acceptable.

Simultaneously there was strong disagreement (68%) with Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's white paper proposals to tax company-provided car parking spaces. And if the charge was introduced few fleet bosses said drivers would be compensated.

With the Government expected to publish a consultation document on proposals to base company car tax on private mileage and not business mileage, the survey revealed that fleet chiefs thought taxing private mileage was a 'fair' method with 75% saying it would make no difference to current car use. However, some fleet bosses believed some company car drivers would request a cash alternative to their company car or choose a cheaper car.

Although the survey was conducted prior to publication of the white paper, its content had been so widely leaked that fleet chiefs also said in response to survey questions: More than 30% of company car drivers would be willing to pay £51–£100 a month more in tax for their company car than the current £80 a month average. 81% of company cars are not equipped with a traffic congestion avoidance system. Further rises in fuel duties would result in fleets running more fuel-efficient vehicles. with diesel power remaining popular. 15% of companies surveyed had video conferencing facilities.

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