I have been critical of Conservative-run Croydon Council for increasing Council Tax this year.
However the council are to be commended for their review of staff transport which has produced considerable savings.
Cllr Sara Bashford, the Cabinet Member for Corporate and Voluntary Services, says that in 2010 the Council switched from the traditional fleet approach and started a pilot scheme with the UK's largest pay-as-you-go car network, Zipcar:
The idea is simple: rather than owning a car outright or leasing a fleet, we have exclusive access to 23 vehicles during standard working hours, which is when we actually need them.
Cllr Bashford adds of the results:
• Annual travel costs were cut by 42% from £1.3m to £756,000.
• Employee business miles fell by 42% each year, from 1.1m to 642,000 miles.
• We encouraged more of our employees to use public transport or walk to work and council employee car users have fallen by more than half.
• The pay-as-you-go approach has also proven to be more sustainable, with council employee's Co2 emissions footprint decreasing by more than a third.
As well as saving money and proving more environmentally friendly, we were also able to use the cars to help out local residents. The additional 23 vehicles were available outside of council working hours to Croydon's 1,300 Zipcar members. Using the cars for both public and private use is a great example of how a single investment in an innovative service can bring about benefits that go beyond the council to directly help the community we serve.
Something for other councils to look at.