Leading ground transport experts CMAC Group recently commissioned a survey to explore the use of taxis for business-related travel, with the aim to provide organisations with the insights into why they should include travel by taxi, minicabs, and private hire vehicles in their corporate travel policies when it comes to facilitating travel for employees.

A business travel policy plays an integral part within businesses to make sure employees are safe and secure when travelling as part of their job. Not only does it provide workers with safe travel, but it helps to protect organisations from any oversight or negligence which can have serious consequences.

While most business mobility policies have plans and procedures in place for aspects such as accommodation, air and rail travel, taxis are often left out of the robust processes for managing compliance – even though it is the preferred method of transport for most employees, with 82% stating that they prefer them over public transport.

The oversight means that employees often book their own taxi travel, even though taxis are one of the least regulated modes of transport. CMACs survey revealed that over half of those using taxis for business travel independently source their own. Whilst this frees up time for both employers and their staff, it can expose both to considerable risks if an incident occurs during travel.

The report also uncovered that 81% of employees travelling for business use local private hire companies and taxi ranks to service their taxi requirements, this behaviour makes it difficult for travel managers to understand how staff are travelling and where they are at any given time. It adds a complex layer of traceability and accountability, should an incident arise, if an event occurs, or data is needed on an individual’s journey.

Akin to this, one in five said that they have often felt vulnerable when travelling by taxi and both men and women surveyed have had a negative experience, such as road rage, driver fatigue and not reaching their final destination.

Shockingly, CMAC Groups survey revealed that only 16% of business travellers feel that their organisation places a priority on their safety whilst travelling for business.

Companies have a Duty of Care to their travelling employees to ensure their health and safety; any oversight or negligence can have far-reaching consequences.

So, what can they do to help employees feel more secure when they’re out of the office?

The managed ground transport experts at CMAC Group have put together their top tips on how to change your business travel programme for the better:

 

  1. Go Cashless

Cash or personal card ranks as the favoured method of payment (61%) amongst corporate travelers. Aside from adding an administrative layer through expenses and lack of financial transparency, cash transactions can obstruct traceability. This can cause difficulties holding a taxi provider to account, should a complaint arise.

There is also an increased safety risk when colleagues are expected to carry cash, especially when travelling alone at night. Taxi prices can fluctuate, especially after midnight or during busy periods. It is therefore difficult for employees to predict fare prices and ensure they have enough cash to cover the journey. Employees may also not be able to afford to cover the cost then await a reimbursement through expenses.

This can all be negated with a managed taxi service.

 

  1. Plan for all eventualities

It’s crucial to clarify what employees need to do in an emergency situation.

Our report found that 78% of business travellers have had a negative experience whilst travelling in a taxi, some of which have made them feel unsafe. With almost three quarters of employees travelling alone, and 73% stating that they use taxis for work purposes outside of 9am – 6pm, it’s important that there is round-the-clock support available.

Not surprisingly, 88% of business travellers that we surveyed said that it is important to know there is a 24/7/365 support line.

Peter Slater, CEO at CMAC Group adds “We offer contact centre support, day and night, to ensure the security of both our clients and suppliers. It’s reassuring for them to have a specially trained customer support team available wherever they are in the world.”

 

  1. Enlist the experts

Because taxis are one of the least regulated modes of transport in the UK, it opens up potential risks and liability for both the traveller and the organisation. Implementing a managed taxi programme could be the most effective way to manage compliance risks, effectively track business travel and take appropriate action where required.

A managed taxi programme has a multitude of benefits, including:

 

  • Provides companies and stakeholders with full visibility of when and where employees are travelling

 

  • Uses trusted and reliable taxi providers that have been vetted prior to onboarding

 

  • Optimises expenditure and consolidates invoicing – streamlines administration and allows complete control over travel costs

 

  • Provides total end-to-end duty of care making business travel much safer for all

 

  • Offers choice to staff, helping them to book the most appropriate vehicle for every occasion

 

  • Enables companies to easily apply restrictions (such as cost, mileage and number of journeys)

 

  • Provides travellers with 24-hour contact centre support for peace of mind

 

  • Reduces wait times and uncertainty in unfamiliar locations, whilst boosting traveller confidence and supporting staff retention

 

Whilst the benefits of a managed taxi programme are clear to see, only 15% of respondents stated that they use a managed provider to book a taxi for business travel.

 

  1. Ensure an end-to-end duty of care

With taxis excluded from most travel policies, 51% of traveller’s self-book. Research also found that in quarter of cases the traveller does not inform anyone which taxi service / provider they’re riding with

This ‘blackspot’ in a travel itinerary – and duty of care – could have major consequences should a crisis arise.

CMAC Group would like to see more organisations incorporating travel by taxi, minicabs, and private hire vehicles into their corporate travel policies.

“A taxi policy is important for ensuring traveller safety. Ensuring full visibility and management of taxi users is essential whilst providing clear guidelines for staff – for example only using company-approved suppliers.”

 

  1. Communicate your travel policy to staff

CMACs report revealed that 67% of those who must take taxis for business are not completely aware of their company’s policy. Furthermore, 8% claim that a policy has never been communicated with them.

“The travel policy should be distributed to all staff and stored somewhere that everyone can easily access such as an intranet or online booking tool. We recommend regular communication of the policy to ensure staff are reminded of this, once a month seems to be the preferred frequency.”

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.