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Woking council saves money and mileage with car share

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Woking Borough Council has reduced costs, mileage and CO2 emissions by encouraging employees to use car sharing rather than the grey fleet.

The Council introduced the Enterprise CarShare programme in early 2010. Since then, its CO2 footprint for employee business travel has dropped by 37 per cent (around 1.2 tonnes of CO2 per year) and grey fleet mileage has fallen by 14,000 miles a year.

And thanks to better journey planning and more consideration over whether trips are actually necessary, the Council has saved thousands of pounds with no reduction in its services to the local community.

Historically, employees used their own cars for work journeys and claimed mileage reimbursement. However, the Council believed that it could reduce the carbon footprint of transport as well as cost by changing employee thinking and behaviours.

Working with the Energy Saving Trust and Enterprise CarShare, the Council based two vehicles near its offices in Woking as a ‘virtual’ car pool for its 320 employees.

David Johnson, corporate strategy manager at Woking Borough Council, notes: “We wanted everyone to buy in to the thinking behind our car sharing programme. We knew that mileage reimbursement was seen by many as a discretionary ‘perk’ so we brought the unions in from the beginning. That way they knew that we were providing alternative means of transport at no cost to employees rather than trying to reduce benefits.

“They grasped this immediately, as well as the environmental benefits of the Enterprise cars, and this got them on board from day one.”

The Council also worked with employees to change behaviour and manage demand, encouraging them to think about journey planning and why they had to travel in the first place – so that rather than several different trips spread over a week, employees organised their time to do them all during the period for which they had the CarShare vehicle booked out.

David Johnson adds: “Enterprise CarShare has helped us change how employees think of business trips. Without the perceived perk of mileage reimbursement and how it can encourage them to drive more than they need to, our employees take a more considered approach to their travel planning. In fact, many now see the programme as an additional staff benefit.”

Adrian Bewley, director of business rental at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, adds: “Woking Borough Council has been able to drastically cut down its grey fleet, reducing costs and carbon footprint, and get employees thinking about when, why and how they travel. It’s using car sharing to drive a real cultural change.”

The programme has proven so popular that the vehicles are now also being made available to staff and members of the public outside working hours.

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