Fleet News

Pay-as-you-go car pool for Whitbread

LEISURE business Whitbread is trialling the use of daily rental vehicles fitted with telematics instead of operating its own pool car fleet.

A number of vehicles provided by National Car Rental will be parked at the hotel, fitness club, restaurant and coffee shop company's headquarters in Dunstable ready for use as part of the six-month pilot.

The move is aimed at giving Whitbread staff instant access to vehicles onsite while removing the burden on the fleet department to manage and maintain a pool car fleet, National said.

Whitbread staff can book one of the Astras kept in the company car park by contacting a National member of staff, working on-site at Whitbread.

A reservation number is confirmed and at the arranged time, the National representative will remotely unlock the vehicle ready for the staff member to make a journey.

When the vehicle is returned, it is locked remotely again once the staff member has contacted National by mobile phone. The individual or department concerned is then billed for the time that they have used the vehicle.

The issue of fleets giving their pool cars the boot and opting for daily rental instead has already been highlighted by Fleet NewsNet (August 26). It was noted then that if pool cars were well used and do not spend too long sitting in the company car park, they still have a future, but more often than not they spend a lot of time out of action and are not cost-effective.

Nigel Trotman, business relationship manager for Whitbread, said: 'The telematics service is a cost-effective way for us to provide our staff with a pool car facility without all the associated costs and liabilities of owning and maintaining a pool car fleet.

'The process is completely paperless for drivers – there are no forms to fill in or documents to sign. They simply book the vehicle and go on their way. This service complements the daily rental service provided by National, ensuring our staff have access to vehicles as and when they need them.'

Neil McCrossan, vice-president sales and marketing for National, said: 'Pool cars are not only expensive to maintain and run but businesses must also consider the corporate responsibility of providing pool cars for staff. Through this telematics facility, National can offer the comfort factor of having cars on site, but without all the negatives of managing a pool car fleet.'

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