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Comment: How MaaS can help corporate mobility after COVID-19

By / 7 months ago / Comment / No Comments

Sandra Witzel, head of marketing at SkedGo, discusses how Mobility as a Service (MaaS) can help business reduce their staff travel costs, while encouraging active and greener travel.

Sandra Witzel, head of marketing at SkedGo

Transport is a major part of an organisation’s cost base. From 2016 to early 2019, the average spend on travel per company in Europe increased 217.85% (Spendesk). Staff travel is virtually non-existent at the moment due to COVID-19, which leads us to the question of what corporations are going to do with their car fleets?

While business travel will most likely come back eventually (albeit in a reduced form) this seems like a great time to evaluate the cost of corporate fleets versus providing employees with flexible mobility budgets so they are in charge of how they travel.

What is Mobility as a Service?

MaaS organises transport efficiently, allowing passengers to plan, book and pay for multiple transport modes from a single mobile app. It offers convenience and provides an opportunity for travellers to personalise trips such as prioritising carbon-friendly routes.

Alongside public transit and on-demand services, MaaS apps support a growing range of transport types: electric vehicle hire, e-scooters, e-bikes, kick scooters and active travel, adding cycling and walking into the mix.

For fleet managers, MaaS may be an unfamiliar concept, but it could provide real business benefit as we assess the level of travel needed after COVID-19, and how costs can be reduced.

Tracking travel consumption

Firstly, MaaS is truly adaptable and has the ability to integrate preferred transport options for employees, including corporate shuttle buses. This means that HR, finance and fleet management professionals can track travel spend in many different ways, for example, by geography, department, individual, CO2 emissions, miles travelled or business reason, as well as overall costs.

Integrating MaaS into an organisation’s expense solution means employee journeys can be directly submitted to accounts, along with electronic VAT receipts making the whole process as near real time as possible. Alternatively, any physical receipts can be scanned with a mobile device.

Sustainability goals

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is in general terms, a commitment by an organisation to carry out their business in an ethical way. More practically, it’s about how companies can be seen to make a positive difference to issues such as the environment or social change.

MaaS can support an organisation’s CSR policy by tracking CO2 emissions so they can reduce the environmental impact of their travel. In a world where businesses are increasingly judged on their green credentials, it offers an easy way to monitor carbon consumption.

Active travel

Given the pandemic, much focus has turned to active travel.  This provides an opportunity to gain citizen buy-in on multiple levels from social distancing to sustainability and well-being, encouraging us to leave our cars at home.

Countries across Europe are already seizing this chance. Permanent and ‘pop up’ infrastructures are being implemented in, for example, Berlin, Paris, Brussels and Milan. The UK government announced a £2bn package to encourage walking and cycling, while Leicester City Council and Leicestershire County Council received more than £1m of funds to extend their active travel partnership.

Organisations can use MaaS to encourage shared transport and active travel with the potential to reduce on site car parking spaces. Swapping the latter for cycling bays and building shower rooms, supports employee wellbeing particularly where MaaS is linked to a fitness device or app so staff can track their progress. It can potentially have a beneficial impact on employee health insurance costs too.

MaaS business travel – a case study

Optus, the Australian telecommunications company, needed a white label solution so their employees could travel to work efficiently and in an environmentally friendly manner.

At SkedGo, we created a custom app which integrated their staff shuttle service across major cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. The journey search results show Optus-operated shuttle bus stops and timetables alongside other public transport options such as bus, train, ferry, tram, metro. It also includes active travel and forms of transport which reduce congestion including car sharing, motorbike, cycle routes, and walking.

Optus’ sustainable transport manager, Penny Dillon, told us how the app helped them to encourage their employees to travel to work sustainably, showing the cost of driving versus other forms of transport.

Why now is the time to consider MaaS

At its core, Mobility as a Service is about making transport easier to navigate and encouraging people to review their transport choices and their impact on the planet. It helps organisations to meet their environmental and CSR commitments, but it also means everyone – from large corporates, to small and medium sized businesses and not-for-profits – can reduce their costs and increase efficiency.

If, after COVID-19, you are currently asking yourself questions regarding the annual cost of your company fleet, your monthly spend on mileage and travel expenses, or how you can better keep track of your employee’s transport usage – then MaaS could be the solution you are looking for.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006.