Fleet News

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Letters to Fleet News’ editor Martyn Moore.

Small errors have big effects

I would raise a concern at the suggestion by Mr Shipp (Fleet News letters, May 31) about drivers who “when they make a small error of judgement run the risk of getting penalised for each transgression, no matter how inconsequential”.

On our busy overcrowded roads, a small error of judgement can, and does have, catastrophic consequences. I would however agree that the use of automated systems such as SPECS and other similar devices have no discretion.

The incidence of blatant red light jumping has now reached the level around Cambridge that at least two cars per lane cross the line on red at most junctions. Users of the A10/A14 Milton interchange would all no doubt agree.

How do we get drivers to obey the Highway Code as a rule, not an exception?

CHRIS ELDRED
European regional manager, Technology Services, UK Office

Charge for roads but let’s be fair

So the spectre of road charging is hovering over us again (‘Major changes on horizon for fleet managers’ Fleet News, May 31).

Your story last week didn’t surprise me at all – it looks as though road charging is now an inevitability rather than just a plan.

But among all the stories Fleet News runs about road charging, one thing constantly seems to be missing – the desire by the implementers to separate charges for those who actually need to be on the roads and those who don’t.

I run a courier firm and we already have to pay a fortune to Ken Livingstone to enter the streets of London, despite the fact that we are doing so to keep the wheels of the city oiled and working.

Why should we have to pay the same amount as some tourist who could just as well take the train?

The situation will get even worse when road charging finally bursts forth in many other UK cities. We are going to have legitimate business drivers paying the same as mums doing the school run in their X5s instead of walking the kids and getting some exercise.

I understand that road pricing is going to have to come to avoid our highways becoming completely gridlocked. But surely it is only fair that vans carrying cargo and supplying the needs of the country’s inhabitants should be charged less than the rest of the people who could just as well walk or use public transport.

Let’s get a discussion going within the pages of Fleet News and try and persuade the councils who are considering road charging to make this important distinction between the various groups of road users.

L FRANCIS
Southend on Sea, Essex

AMAPS: let’s have change but not for change’s sake

I attended the Fleet News Conference on May 15 and felt that HMRC now has an increased challenge with regard to its review of AMAPs.

The general consensus from your conference was that current AMAP rates do not reflect the actual costs of motoring and this is further exacerbated by fuel prices which are again pushing £1 per litre.

Many people appear to see little point in changing a simple system that works, and the extended time and resources taken to review AMAPs is not reason enough to make changes if they are not necessary.

The government ought to avoid effecting changes which are likely to have an adverse impact on drivers and cannot necessarily be justified or sustained.

Of course we in the fleet industry have a leading role to play in the AMAP debate; however we represent less than 5% of AMAP users, so if the process is to be democratic the majority of the five million estimated AMAP users also need to be consulted in some way.

It would appear that the AMAPs debate has grown out of an initial review of ECO schemes. This has led to a review of the entire AMAPs structure, which has left officials with a difficult situation as to where they go both with regard to AMAPs and ECOs.

However, it is clear that well- structured ECO schemes are an important part of the overall fleet offering in the modern era. They will never replace traditional company car schemes in totality, but they are part of the evolutionary process in fleet motoring.

There is a totally unfounded fear that ECOs represent the erosion of the fleet manager’s influence and control. The contrary of this is the case in all the schemes that Provecta runs, as we work with the fleet manager to enable them, their company, and their drivers to get the maximum benefits out of ECO.

Generally fleet managers become more influential within their companies as they are delivering a better return for their Board and their drivers.

They also have greater control of their drivers with tools like MyMiles, and gain a broader knowledge of the industry as a result of managing a well structured ECO scheme.

There also appears to be a misrepresentation that ECO drivers are less ‘green’ than their traditional company car counterparts. Provecta’s ECO fleet average CO2 is within 1gm/km of the company car market. As mileage is reduced by 14% under ECO (a lot of this private mileage) this represents a carbon emissions reduction of circa 1 tonne p.a.! This is a significant step in the right direction towards achieving the Government’s targets for reducing carbon emissions.

NICK SUTTON
Chairman, Provecta Car Plan

Misfuel solution

I am perplexed by the continual reports of mis-fuelling cars with the wrong type of fuel (Fleet News letters May 31).

Why, oh why, will the industry not fix this problem once and for all? Diesel cars should have square nozzles on the tank, unleaded should be circular and LPG triangular.

Thus no-one could physically put the wrong type of nozzle into the fuel tank!

Simple fix, saving the industry millions. Bring on the next problem!

DAVID FOOTITT
Fortec Pallet

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