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LETTERS to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Firms have more control of stationery than fleets

SIR – Nigel Underdown’s guest opinion (‘Step forward the mobility manager’, Fleet NewsNet, February 23), based on our experience in the field, makes a lot of sense. The majority of companies, both large and small, do not regard mileage management as part of any business process.

The simple fact of life is that unnecessary trips and unrealistic mileage claims have a significant effect on the bottom line as well as the efficiency of any business.

Public companies do produce an emissions report but some really struggle to get the business mileage information in time for the year-end statement.

This begs the question: how accurate are such statements, particularly if the calculation has been based on data acquired from manual methods that encourage lethargy and erroneous reporting? Perhaps the total emissions could be overstated. It could be said that there are tighter controls over stationery budgets than those over business mileage, despite the gross difference in costs.

Linked to this are the compliance and health and safety-related issues that go hand in hand with business trips. Automating business trip reporting, without the HR burden of tracking, has to have a positive impact.

There are solutions available that would produce immediate savings and efficiencies. Any company using cars for business purposes should be encouraged to investigate them.

Simon C Harris
FleetConsult, Telford, Shropshire

Rental firms will help weed out the rogue customers

SIR – I fully support Stuart Russell’s call for robust rental policies (‘Let’s put a stop to rogue rentals’, Fleet NewsNet, February 16).

For a number of years now we have been working with our customers to ensure that they, not their employees, are in control of the rental vehicles being booked and used.

This has been made possible through the development of systems that automatically mandate reservations in line with company transport policies via whichever route the driver or booker chooses.

Driver profiles provide the opportunity to set agreed groups and ancillary services available for each driver within a business. This not only speeds the reservation process for the driver but gives the fleet manager the assurance that any rental booking has been made in line with company policy. This clearly eliminates any opportunity for drivers to book something ‘a bit flash’ should the urge take them.

So from the start of the reservation, through to online MI which records mileage incurred, ancillary services used and extensions made, our systems ensure businesses are fully in control of the rental vehicles being booked and used by their employees.

As Russell pointed out, giving drivers free rein over the choice of vehicle to drive has massive duty of care and financial implications. A robust rental police is vital but make sure your rental provider is giving you the systems you need to make this an automatic process rather than a headache to manage.

Neil McCrossan
Vice-president commercial development, National Car Rental

Tester caught speeding?

SIR – I have just read the long-term road test of the Ford Focus 1.6 Ti-VCT (Fleet NewsNet, February 23) in which Jeremy Bennett sets out that he covered a 400-plus mile journey from Devon to Peterborough in four hours, albeit in the dead of night.

While I would readily confess to being no paragon of virtue in adhering at all times to national speed limits, I question whether a public admission to travelling at an average speed in excess of 100 miles per hour (400 plus miles divided by four) for a sustained period of four hours, represents the appropriate standard of responsible motoring journalism that your excellent periodical usually sets.

Jon Mendoza
Group deputy managing director Watkin Jones & Son, Bangor, Gwynedd

Jeremy Bennett replies: ‘The distance between Peterborough and the place I stayed at for my week’s holiday is not 400 miles away. That’s approximately the total mileage for a return journey and total journey time was seven hours. Perhaps I should have been clearer on that. In fact, the return journey of 200 miles took four hours – an average of 50mph.

It’s all in the finger action

SIR – With reference to Trevor Gelken’s complaint about the sticky rear tailgate of his Saab 9-3 Sportwagon (Fleet News, February 9) I have a SportWagon similar to his (but still blue, happily), and I too struggled a little with the rear door catch, until I realised that there is actually a little button under a membrane.

All you have to do is press the button with your finger, but the trick seems to be to curl your fingers and press upwards with the tips.

You can achieve the same result by brute force when your fingers eventually touch the button.

John Jennings
Via email

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