Grey fleet numbers set for big increase as Covid-19 discourages public transport use, Fleetcheck warns
29 January 2021
Author: Sean Keywood
Fleets need to watch out for an explosion in grey fleet numbers as employees seek alternatives to public transport, according to fleet software firm Fleetcheck.
It cites a report by Capgemini showing that just 8% of people now see buses, trains and trams as their main mode of transport, compared with 21% before the pandemic.
This trend is said to be leading to increased interest in owning cars, with 45% of those surveyed now planning on buying their own vehicle within the next 12 months, compared with 27% when the same question was asked last April.
Fleetcheck managing director Peter Golding said: "Grey fleet already outnumbers conventional company cars by a ratio of around six to one and this research indicates that proportion could increase over the next year.
"People who have used public transport as part of their job or simply for commuting look likely to instead want to use a car in very large numbers. This will have all kinds of implications for employers - ranging from potentially greater demand for at-work parking through to a need to upgrade safety inspection procedures.
"Of course, there is a chance that, as vaccination programmes begin to take effect, there will be a drift back to buses and trains, but that is likely to take time and once people have become used to having their own transport, many will want to keep it."
Golding said it could be argued that the needs of grey fleet drivers and vehicles were among the most overlooked aspects of business travel.
"The fact that employers have exactly the same legal responsibilities for grey fleet vehicles as for company cars is an area of widespread ignorance in our experience and, even where it is known, is often quietly pushed aside at a corporate level," he said.
"Sometimes, and this is largely inexplicable, the management of the grey fleet is left to human resources departments even where there is a professionally-operated fleet management function that should be in charge.
"However, the potential grey fleet growth that we are likely to see in the short-medium term should help to concentrate minds. There seems little question that this is going to become a larger and more important element of company travel. It will need managing."