Shropshire Council has begun a pilot programme with Enterprise Car Club to provide its employees with more cost-effective business journeys.
Five dedicated Ford Fiestas are now based at Shirehall in Shrewsbury, with more planned for the coming months.
The vehicles are available to council staff 24/7, 365 days a year, and can be booked online by the hour and accessed with a key card or mobile app for quick and easy mobility.
Previously, Council employees undertook the majority of work trips in their own cars and then claimed back mileage reimbursement. The Council believes there are more efficient and productive ways of undertaking its business journeys by doing things differently, through utilising the Enterprise Car Club Scheme and public transport, and also making better use of the technology available to it.
More than 120 council staff from a range of different departments have already signed up for the programme, which lets them use these dedicated cars as well as any of the other 1,500 Enterprise Car Club vehicles located in 25 cities around the UK.
James Willocks, transport commissioning manager at Shropshire Council, said: “Working with Enterprise we can track who is booking the cars, when, how far they travel and why, which will enable us to capture and analyse the journey data to hopefully help us significantly reduce our current expenditure on mileage reimbursement.
“We also hope that this scheme will offer potential savings for staff. By providing them with alternative travel options they could reduce their own personal costs by removing the need for business insurance on their vehicle, reducing wear and tear and additionally reducing the depreciation in value of their vehicle.
“We feel that this scheme can also help us contribute towards easing the parking problems that we currently have at our main headquarters. A number of staff have already indicated that they would not need to drive a car to work if they knew that there was a vehicle available for them to carry out their business journeys.
“Importantly, as employers are liable for the condition of any vehicles used for business, Enterprise Car Club also helps us with our duty of care to our staff. These new cars are modern and regularly maintained, so we can now be certain our employees are in vehicles that are low-emission and fit for purpose.”
Dan Gursel, managing director of Enterprise Car Club, added: “Many local councils have traditionally relied on the grey fleet, but are now realising that this is both costly and can lead to employees driving older, less well-maintained vehicles. It also means they have little control over that travel, as the expense claim is sometimes the only record.
“As a lot of work trips are short duration, an Enterprise Car Club membership is a simple, easy and much more manageable and cost-effective alternative. It also means employees can access the wider and growing network of car club vehicles around the country if they ever need to travel elsewhere.”