Employees should be provided with individual Mobility Cards by their employers that could be used to access all forms of travel, fed from an app that could plan and charge costs accordingly.
That’s the vision of ACFO, the UK’s premier fleet decision-makers’ organisation, for Mobility as a Service (MaaS) to become the norm with corporate mobility managers analysing the total cost of journeys employees make.
Mobility Cards issued to individual employees would enable them to select the most appropriate model of travel and pay for journey to meet personal and business circumstances, according to ACFO in its submission to the House of Commons’ Transport Committee inquiry into MaaS.
ACFO has already stated in its recently published ‘Vision for the Future’ that managers should measure the cost of each mile travelled and let technology dictate how that journey is actually made.
The organisation believes that a new breed of mobility manager would have that role truly enhanced with the wider adoption of a fully integrated MaaS operation.
ACFO told MPs in its submission: “This could be crucial in the provision of general ground transportation for employees on company business. MaaS should be at the forefront of how businesses should be looking at travel to ensure they are using the best options for the journey, for environment, cost, safety and employee reasons.”
In advocating Mobility Cards, ACFO said it had seen numerous apps, for journey planning and ticket holding, from various business travel agents, as well as apps for recording and the submitting of expenses. But the ability of a company to join them together was “fairly rare”, it added.
As a result, ACFO said: “The support of government towards a more integrated system will help businesses adapt and manage their mobility needs more effectively. Businesses are starting to understand the power and advantages that integrated technology can supply. But we feel that they cannot see the whole new world this could bring. This support and encouragement should have a marked environmental impact on journeys being made. The choices and range of services that these systems can provide should be embraced as the advantage for the country and communities as a whole will be dramatic.”
ACFO considers mobility to be part of employees’ benefits package and argues that “MaaS is almost uniquely placed to be able to offer a more tailored and focused solution for companies, to allow them to recruit and retain employees”. It also highlighted that younger employees were, in many cases, looking for more flexible solutions to meet their transport needs than the provision of a car, company-provided or privately-owned.
Arguing that MaaS met that requirement, ACFO said: “MaaS will only work if government departments/agencies and local councils work together on a joined-up system that will allow flexibility. The integration of transport in not just timetables, but payment systems. The ability to have fully integrated opportunities to buy and use tickets is a must in a fully rounded MaaS system.”
In its submission, ACFO highlighted that taxation was an issue that MPs also needed to consider if MaaS was to be adopted within the corporate sector.
It said in the submission: “If a company is supplying a Mobility Card to employees would it be taxed on the cash element of the value that the company was paying as with other amounts, medical or dental charges? Any support that would encourage companies to offer this benefit for wider adoption would be beneficial.”
Reflecting on the changing role of fleet managers and how mobility management was the future, ACFO chairman John Pryor said: “The world of corporate and employee travel is changing and so is the way that employers want to reward staff.
Change is being underpinned by the growing ability of technology to provide various services. As technology improves, ACFO believes more companies will become adopters.”
However, ACFO also cautioned that it was critical that technology providers were clear as to the capability of their travel solutions, and Mr Pryor added: “We support the government’s aim in trying to push and understand MaaS, but ask that it also looks at the wider picture of what systems can do.”