Sue Hurst speaks to Mark Green, Fleet Manager at The Royal Borough of
Windsor & Maidenhead council, about the organisation’s innovative car
sharing scheme that provides the perfect mobility solution for all staff
to use across the council
What attracted you to the idea of setting up a car sharing scheme?
The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has fully utilised the support of the EST for many years, and one of the recommendations from our latest audit was to look at introducing efficiencies to how our staff travel – including ways to improve both our exhaust emissions and reduce costs in the process.
After looking at various initiatives and schemes it stood out that a state-of-the-art fully-remote pooled car sharing product was just the job we needed to meet our staff travel weaknesses.
What made you choose Alphabet’s AlphaCity scheme?
It’s a unique product really, through AlphaCity, Alphabet were able to supply the type of cars we wanted while enabling us to do away with car key storage and key access. With the keyless technology members of staff simply use a membership card to unlock the vehicles. The booking system is online so there’s no need for our own managed booking system enabling us to reduce our pool car administration burden by approximately 90%. The hand holding is now a thing of the past.
With both the booking system and vehicle on-board technology, pool car users do not have to come into the office to pick up keys, employees can go straight to the cars, so its a far more efficient than the system we originally had in place. This scheme is also really good for employees who walk, cycle or use public transport to get to work and back….a car is available, should one be required, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
How many vehicles and what type of vehicles are you running under the scheme?
With the AlphaCity Scheme the vehicle choice is limited at the moment to MINI and BMW EVs.We decided that the 1.5 Petrol Mini Coopers best suited our needs because the lack of an on-site semi-fast charging facility means we could not go down the EV route. We do find that not being a City hinders us with regard to grant funding, so unless grant funding becomes available we will continue with the petrol MINIs.
We have 13 mini Coopers at the moment but we will be looking to expand the numbers to around 24 as more employees use the pool cars going forward.
The reason we selected petrol over diesel is that we have five Air Quality Zones in our Borough, so this should help towards reducing the exhaust particulates in our town centres.
Which members of staff have access to the vehicles?
All staff members can access the AlphaCity cars, there is no restriction. If employees claim for mileage using their own cars then we are encouraging them to use our funded AlphaCity Cars...lowering exhaust emissions and our Duty of Care obligations are catered for.
Has AlphaCity replaced the running of pool cars, grey fleet cars etc?
The scheme has been put in place to reduce the costs of the Grey fleet, the 13 Alphacity MINIs have replaced our pool cars – seven Fiesta 1.4 TDi Hatchback cars and Damian and Jemima the two Nissan LEAFs. The Nissan LEAFs were fantastic for the four years we had them, and we were really sorry to see them go but slow charging proved to have its operational limitations.
What have the immediate cost savings been?
This is our first year with AlphaCity and we are right on track to save an initial £100k. We believe that the annual saving will increase as we reduce our ongoing Grey Fleet mileage costs. We will make this saving target and with only 13 cars on the pool fleet and reduce exhaust emissions in the bargain.
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