An advertorial feature from Alphabet
Five Top Tips for using car pooling and other travel options
With productivity and efficient use of assets fast becoming key benchmarks for fleet car operations, Kit Wisdom, Head of Corporate Mobility at Alphabet, advises on how to benefit from car sharing.
1. Build a business case
There are plenty of good reasons to go for a diversified and sustainable business travel policy. Lower costs and better use of assets are just two. To build a business case for change, ask whether your policy should cover business travel alone or commuting as well. What outcomes will you measure - e.g. direct costs; mileage; CO2; health and safety risks; productivity - and how? What upfront investment might be needed – for instance in an advanced carsharing system or teleconferencing software?
2. Carpooling or carsharing?
Mention 'carpooling' and many people think of lift-sharing schemes for commuters. In fact, the fastest growing area of multiple-driver car use is business carsharing, where staff drive pool cars or join a business-oriented car club: alternatives that are often cheaper than grey fleet, daily rental or taxis. Sharing company cars saves on fuel, CO2 and wear and tear, too. You can pay drivers five pence per mile, tax free, for each passenger they carry on business journeys. It's cheaper than paying and processing two or more mileage claims.
3. Think about admin, access and control
It has to be said that some alternatives to single-user car travel come with a few drawbacks. Conventional pool cars tend to be heavy on administration, as someone needs to handle bookings, keep track of keys and see that vehicles are cleaned and serviced. Car club schemes are mostly restricted to major cities. But new technology is overcoming these limitations. Alphabet's award-winning advanced carsharing product, AlphaCity, gives fleets full control over their own specially-equipped vehicles. We handle bookings and drivers' access to the cars (via electronic membership cards). We also look after valeting, and the usual fleet management services such as servicing and accident management. AlphaCity customers, who include the Rugby Football Union, say it is a major step forward.
4. Check the tax position
What are the tax rules on pooled cars? Well, as long as they are genuinely used by more than one employee, HMRC won't demand any benefit-in-kind tax or National Insurance. Another plus point is that you can claim 100% of the VAT on pool cars because they are business-only vehicles. But you must not allow individual employees to have exclusive or near-exclusive use of a pool car. Similarly, shared cars must not normally be kept at or near employees' homes. Any private use must be strictly 'incidental' and it must not account for more than 5% of the car’s total mileage. You don't have to fill out any tax forms for pool cars but you should keep a full record of bookings in case you ever need to show that no tax is due.
5. Keep an eye on developing technology
Facebook and Twitter have transformed the way people interact socially. In the same way, GPS, telematics and smartphones are opening up new possibilities for using cars on business. As efficiency and productivity rapidly become two of the most important benchmarks in fleet, keep an eye out for the next exciting developments in business mobility.
For more information please visit: www.alphabet.co.uk or call on 0870 50 50 100