Fleets are facing an Olympic size challenge but if they implement a range of initiatives to limit business disruption when the ‘the greatest show on earth’ arrives in Britain in the summer operating efficiency will be maintained.
That was the message to almost 100 fleet decision-makers who attended a special Olympic Seminar hosted by leading fleet decision-makers’ organisation ACFO and held at Ford of Britain’s Brentwood headquarters.
Fleets face many challenges during the Olympic Games (July 27 to August 12) and Paralympic Games (August 29-September 9), but communication with staff and customers was key, Seminar delegates were told by Ian Wainwright, of Transport for London.
Advanced travel planning is vital with up to 800,000 spectators and 55,000 athletes, officials, organisers and members of the media travelling to and from the Olympic venues every day. The Government has said that the overall transport ambition is to reduce non-Olympic demand during the Games by 30%.
Mr Wainwright recommended the ‘4rs’ – reduce travel, reschedule travel, re-route travel to avoid busy transport corridors and revise travel modes.
Although London is the focal point of both the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games there are events taking place in many other towns and cities. As a result, organisations may be located many miles from London, but they would be wrong to think that the Games would not impact on them, delegates at the ACFO Seminar were told.
Fleets were also reminded that thousands of vehicles typically available for short-term hire had already been booked by people attending the Games in one capacity or another prompting warnings that short-term hire options would be limited or possibly unavailable.
ACFO chairman Julie Jenner said: “There are less than 140 days to go until the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics and doing nothing is not an option for fleet chiefs.
“However, anecdotal evidence suggests that many employers have under estimated the impact that the Olympic and Paralympic Games will have on their businesses.
“Whether it is staff travelling to and from offices or depots; goods being collected or delivered; or meetings and appointments being held there will be disruption.
“There is a vast amount of information already available in terms of temporary road restrictions being introduced and public transport availability as a result of the Games, but advance planning in conjunction with employees, customers and suppliers is crucial to maintain business efficiency.
“Travel will be affected during July, August and early September, but fleet decision-makers can get ahead of the Games by compiling travel strategies now. Consideration of vehicle and driver utilisation now is essential.”
Ms Jenner added: “It is also important to remember that not only are the Games occurring during the peak UK summer holiday period, but that many employees will also be attending events. Therefore schedules may need to be compiled to ensure sufficient staff are available to ensure optimum business efficiency.”
Other Seminar speakers were from the Freight Transport Association, Institute of Travel and Meetings and global corporate travel management company Portman Travel. Ms Jenner concluded: “Due to the nature and size of the Olympics, ACFO wanted to offer members as wide a possible understanding of travel-related issues that will occur during the Games, while the FTA advised on freight-related matters.
“We believe the breadth of issues tackled means it was one of the most widely focused seminars yet held for businesses in the run-up to the Games. We were delighted with the response from members who have said how informative they found the event.”
An organisations’ best practice travel strategy should include:
- Consideration of all non-essential travel and exploration of alternatives
- The purchase air tickets and accommodation as early as possible (inbound air traffic is likely to be heavily affected during games period)
- Exploration of the option of using alternative airports and hubs
- Travelling at non peak times
- Using alternative modes and different classes of travel where feasible and carefully assess the need for all travel
- Consideration of accommodation options outside of Greater London
- Utilising alternative meeting methods such as tele or video conferencing
- Allowing enough time for travel including additional time for security and visa checks at airports
Source: Institute of Travel and Meetings.