Sustainable Staff Travel
We know that travelling to and from work can be a big barrier for some potential employees worried about transport links, cost and timings. However, optimising opportunities for sustainable and active travel can help make you more accessible. This makes you a more attractive employer and becomes a useful tool for recruitment and retention.
Healthier modes of transport – or active travel – can also help to boost staff fitness and wellbeing, and potentially reduce sickness absences.
Top Tips on Staff Travel
Your first step is to create a workplace travel plan. Start by auditing your business, to find out how staff currently travel to work. Identify where there may be opportunities for them to walk, cycle or take public transport – and the barriers. You probably know a lot of this already, but having a set plan can help you identify potential opportunities.
Then you can look at a range of options:
Introduce a salary sacrifice scheme
Salary sacrificing is a cost-effective way to help staff buy an electric car or get involved in the Cycle to Work scheme (see below), using their gross salary before tax and other deductions. Incorporating travel benefits into your employment packages is a great way of promoting staff retention and recruitment.
Team up with other tourism operators
who may want to work together on private hire options to transport employees from different parts of the county. For instance, fellow hotels in the central Lakes might have a pool of staff that need to travel to work from Barrow, Workington or Penrith.
Make use of subsidised public transport
Signpost staff to discounted tickets on public transport or even consider providing annual travel passes for work journeys. (This would also be added reassurance for new staff on probationary periods that travel is taken care of).
Northern offer a third off selected off peak day single or day return train tickets within Cumbria (plus Silverdale, Carnforth and Lancaster) with the MyCumbria card scheme – ideal for shift workers.
Stagecoach offer cheaper rates on bus tickets for businesses that buy in advance, and discounted books of tickets are also available for the Windermere Ferry to get people across the lake more easily.
There are also a number of group tickets or duo tickets which staff can take advantage of if they are regularly travelling together.
- Find out more about Car Share schemes. You can encourage employees to buddy up and share journeys to work, as well as signposting the Liftshare scheme to help them identify someone offering a lift on a similar route.
- The Cycle to Work scheme encourages staff to travel to and from work by bike (or e-bike), enabling them to spread the cost of a new bike over regular tax-free instalments. The government’s Cycle to Work Guidance provides full details of how to set a scheme up, including benefits, eligibility, equipment, taxation, salary sacrifice and national insurance contributions.
Remember lending or hiring bikes to employees doesn’t count as an expense or benefit – as long as they’re available to all employees and mainly used for getting to work.
- Review your onsite cycle facilities, particularly if you’re located near a safe cycleway or bike-friendly bus/train route. Do you have secure and well-signed cycle parking, storage and drying space? (This is often easy and low cost to provide). Also look into changing/shower facilities and plugs for e-bikes.
- Investigate car club membership. Co-Wheels offers low emission car rental next to the train stations at Windermere, Oxenholme and Penrith which could be handy for staff who have occasional meetings.
- Join up with national events like Liftshare Week or Cycle to Work Day, or consider creating your own company-wide challenge to get the team more engaged.
- Think outside the box! There may be other small, inexpensive ways you can support individual staff – and create a feel good factor. For example, people who walk to work may appreciate a small supply of umbrellas for rainy days!
Making the switch to Electric Vehicles (EV)
Businesses can save thousands of pounds by switching to electric cars and vans, generating significant fuel savings and reducing maintenance and repair costs.
The Government’s Office of Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) is developing grants to help with upfront costs, while there are discounts on the price of brand new low-emission vehicles through ‘plug-in grants’ which are given to vehicle dealerships and manufacturers.
You can also apply for grants to install EV charge points in the workplace, but with energy costs rising you need to decide who will bear the cost of the charge.
Zero Carbon World
Zero Carbon World offer free basic charge points for hospitality businesses; you just need to pay for installation and let the public have access free of charge. Another option for staff and visitors is the Charge my Street, Charge While you Sleep which visitors and staff have to pay to use.
Electricity North West
Electricity North West has further useful information about the tax benefits and electric vehicle grants businesses can access.
Meanwhile, Zero Carbon Business has advice on reducing the impact of transport within your business, including: planning routes, using vehicles more efficiently, making vehicles more aerodynamic and using greener supply chains.