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A third of SMEs 'could not operate without vehicles', says Lex

Date: 04 December 2015   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Half of SMEs deem private transport as important to running business and a third claim they could not operate without vehicles, according to new research.

Lex Autolease surveyed more than a thousand SMEs in the UK to ascertain their transport arrangements.

According to the poll, a quarter are able to rely on public transport, saying their locations are well-served by current services which provide a convenient option for business travel.

One in five meanwhile, said their business locations are poorly served by public transport. When asked what they would do if they only could rely on public transport, 44% said they would be less efficient, and 31% said it would cost them more money than using their current vehicles.

However, businesses based in London are more receptive to the idea of using public transport - 66% said that it is a convenient option for business travel compared to 19% of firms in the North and 12% of companies based in the Midlands.

The main advantage of using public transport is being able to work while on the move, cited by 55% of the SMEs that said they prefer using trains, buses or coaches to private vehicles.

The research revealed that cars and vans remain the preference for many SMEs, with just over two thirds (67%) stating that they would rather use vehicles than public transport. Greater convenience (74%) and reliability (50%) were the most popular reasons for this.

According to the findings, 59% of firms also said that holding a valid driving license was an important attribute they looked for in new employees.

"Although an increasing amount of company activity can now be done remotely, travel remains a key part of business life, whether that's to build key relationships through face-to-face client meetings, visiting customers or conducting site visits," said Simon Barter, head of SME Direct at Lex Autolease.

"Firms need a reliable, convenient mode of travel to handle those day-to-day demands and keep their workforce mobile. While public transport provides a suitable alternative to driving for London-based firms, who benefit from the country's most sophisticated transport network, the majority of UK small businesses depend on their vehicles."