The University of Surrey has completely overhauled its staff transport policy and adopted an on-site car sharing programme.
The University reviewed its transport strategy by partnering with car rental company Enterprise Rent-A-Car and drawing on the latter’s extensive business travel expertise. Called ‘Travel Is Moving On’, the policy review covers all elements of employee travel from taxis and flights to grey fleet mileage.
A key factor is that two car sharing vehicles have been introduced by Enterprise and are based on campus 24/7, so that University staff can use them instead of their own vehicles for short trips of less than four hours. The cars are available to all 2,300 University employees and are booked online through Enterprise’s fast and easy to use B2B Booking Tool via the University’s intranet site.
Abigail James, category manager at the University of Surrey, spearheaded the initiative. She said: “A lot of our staff have historically chosen to drive their own cars for business and claim back mileage reimbursement. This is very costly and also involves a great deal of risk, because we are legally liable for the condition of those cars even though we have no control over them.
“Given that many of our business trips are to local meetings in and around Guildford, Enterprise’s car sharing programme is a far better alternative. Our employees now have access to new, well-maintained, low-emission rental vehicles, based on-site, whenever they need a car. While for longer trips, they can use public transport or rent a car from Enterprise by the day.
“We’ll also get a wealth of management data from Enterprise on how the shared cars are being used, which we can use to refine our policy and ensure it remains as cost-effective and sustainable as possible.”
Adrian Bewley, director of business rental UK & Ireland at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, adds: “The dependence on grey fleet is widespread through the higher education sector as universities tend not to provide company cars to their staff. But there are a lot of costs and risks involved, not to mention that employees’ own cars tend to be older and not as well maintained, and thus have higher CO2 emissions.
“The University of Surrey has overhauled its transport policy to meet these challenges head-on and offer cheaper, more sustainable solutions to all areas of business travel. This is something more universities should be looking at, because I suspect many of them are spending more money and taking more risks than they should.”