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How Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority are successfully using the less-than-one-day rental vehicle contract

Louise Woolhouse, Procurement Specialist from the NZGP travel team, talks with Drew Roberts from Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA) about their journey to successfully implement less-than-one-day rentals vehicles in their travel programme.

Transcript

Duration: 10:57

Louise Woolhouse: Kia ora everyone, I'm Louise and I work in the All-of-Government travel team at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and today we're speaking with Drew from Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (EECA), who's going to share with us a little bit about how they utilise the less-than-one-day rental (LTODR) vehicles in their travel programme.

Louise Woolhouse: Hi Drew.

Drew Roberts: Morning Louise.

Louise Woolhouse: Thank you so much for your time today. To start us off, could you share with us what the main motivation was behind EECA’s less-than-one-day rentals initiative?

Drew Roberts: Yes. No problem. It was quite simple. It made a lot of sense to EECA to head into less-than-one-day rentals due to the low emissions target we set. So back in 2007 we set a benchmark to reduce our carbon emissions and since then we’ve reduced it by a third, and we’ve since been certified carbon zero by Toitū.

Part of that made us focus on our travel and we created guidelines to choose the lowest emissions vehicle fleet available, and Less-than-one-day-rentals have this option.

In the Auckland office, for example, we are pretty close to 100% utilisation of electric vehicles through LTODR, and in Wellington we're not too far behind, either.

Louise Woolhouse: Wow. So, how did you implement it into your travel programme? What were those first few steps that you had to take as an organisation?

Drew Roberts: We're actually quite lucky at EECA because we're a small agency and that enables us to just get on and do it. It's sort of within our mandate as an agency of what we can and can't do, and because we're relatively small and agile that just made it quite easy. So it wasn't a big transition whatsoever, we just informed a few people and then rolled it out within the organisation.

Louise Woolhouse: When it comes to actually booking a rental vehicle through the less-than-one-day rental vehicle contract, it's a little bit different from a traditional taxi or hire car. Could you explain the booking process for us?

Drew Roberts: It's actually quite simple. Now that everyone's confident and familiar with booking airlines or holidays online, it's no different than that. You just have to set up an account with the car share scheme to start with, and EECA’s got a couple of owner accounts, and then what we have to do is get individual drivers added to those accounts. So the very first thing you do is just make sure you've got a driver's license that you can add to it. They then add you to the account.

When you get added to an account generally most organisations send out a swipe card. What that swipe card is, is it enables you to access the car when you’ve booked it. On the wind screen there's a little toggle, you just put the swipe card in front of the toggle and it unlocks the door.

And then once you're in the car, you've got access to the key to the car and if you're using a petrol car it’s also got a fuel card, in case it's low on petrol.

But in order to book the car, once you're set up, all you need to do is just get on the internet site and you have a look around at all the cars that are within your area. For me, for example, I’ve got about six cars within 300-odd metres to choose from. And you just have to choose one that's available for the timeframe that you need.

You can book it you that day, half an hour before or you can look at a week or two in advance as well. So there's plenty of options there. The only thing I try to do when I'm booking, is to make sure I'm not booking one that's due back at the same time. So, if I want one at 11 o'clock in the morning, I make sure that it's been there for at least an hour before, just in case, someone's running late. It's relatively user-friendly.

Louise Woolhouse: Wow, so it’s almost just like booking a meeting room within your organisation?

Drew Roberts: Yeah, like anything on the internet it’s pretty simple these days. You’ve just gotta remember your password and username.

Louise Woolhouse: Yes exactly! And with those swipe cards that you were talking about, do you have just a few for the entire organisation, or does each individual staff member get their own swipe card?

Drew Roberts: We have a pool of swipe cards. For our office in Auckland, I think we might have about four or five. And there's a couple of us which will have one that we keep on us at all times. But yeah, generally a pool of them if you don't use them very often.

Louise Woolhouse: How do you currently manage the Less-than-one-day-rentals service? Do you have someone internally who is the administration person, or is it just kind of done on an ad hoc basis?

Drew Roberts: Once again due to the size of EECA, it's more of an ad hoc basis. It's a bit of a piecemeal exercise. We don't have a fleet manager or real admin people to be able to manage this for us. But we just have accounts out there, and then we give instructions about how to use different accounts, whether it's Cityhop or Mevo for example.

And then we put all the information and guidance up on the intranet. So anyone who's starting can get access to the guidance. In the Auckland office, for example, all we do is if someone new starts, I just show them the ropes and show them how to do it online. I take them to cars, and show them how to get in and use the service. So I guess that's just being small and agile, it’s a little bit easier to make that happen.

Louise Woolhouse: Yea, but equally good to hear that you've just included that into your on-boarding protocol, which I think regardless of your agency size, is something that's an option.

Drew Roberts: Yeah

Louise Woolhouse: Now you touched on it earlier, but just going back to some of the challenges around the less-than-one-day rental vehicle service. I know one thing that people find a bit difficult, is adjusting to having to book a car that they are within range of. Is there any kind of anxiety around a car (that’s close by) being available when you need it? Have you heard that at all from staff?

Drew Roberts: We're based in the CBD in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, so we don't really have that anxiety. They're quite big in the CBD around the larger regional areas, but if you're out in the suburbs, you may have a little bit more anxiety around that sort of thing.

But I can say I've got less anxiety of booking a car to get to a meeting in Manukau, for example, than what I do trying to make sure I've got an Uber to get back in the time that I need. So I have a lot less anxiety about that, or waiting for a taxi at the other end.

It's relatively simple, and the reason for that is that it's all visual on the website. You can see what cars are available, when they're available and they've always been good and available when I’ve needed them, so it hasn't been hard at all.

Louise Woolhouse: Right, so you've got that real time information there, at your fingertips really.

Drew Roberts: Yep

Louise Woolhouse: Just wondering cost-wise, how has using the less-than-one-day rentals option affected your spend on taxis and hire cars? Do you know at all, or potentially even fleet?

Drew Roberts: It's a little bit hard in overall budget to decipher if we have improved or not. But ultimately, EECA is trying to minimise travel costs overall, and we have found that less-than-one-day rentals helps that. When I've done a little bit of further investigation we’ll see.

You know, I think there's a sweet spot for any type of vehicle. And I think people have just got to use their common sense for that as well. So for me personally, if it's a short trip and an hour-long meeting, I do find either riding a bike, walking, catching a train, catching a bus, catching a taxi or catching an Uber is the preferred option. If I'm going long distances, perhaps I will look for rental cars, although less-than-one-day rentals do hire them out for more than 24 hours.

But my sweet spot is, if I've got a meeting half-an-hour away from work, for an hour or two, I'm going to be gone, maybe three, four hours. I find that’s the sweet spot where I find that I use it all the time.

And the reason why it's cost competitive, is if I rent a car, I've got to walk 15 or 20 minutes to the car rental place. I've got to sign the car in, I've got to sign it back out and I've got to fill it up with petrol. All that waste of time of me walking around doing all that stuff, I don’t need to do. And that is where you save money by using less-than-one-day rentals.

Louise Woolhouse: Absolutely. Beyond what you've just spoken about there, and also the emissions-saving of using a less-than-one-day rental car, are there any other benefits that you’ve seen?

Drew Roberts: The shared economy is a new way of living and working. So having a car-share is one aspect that EECA has embraced. We don't provide company cars or fleet vehicles, so car-sharing is ideal for the staff and our travel requirements.

One thing that I've really found valuable is the ability to get access to these vehicles at any time of day. When I rent a vehicle, I quite often struggle to get back to the office by 4:30pm in the afternoon or eight o'clock in the morning to meet some of these requirements that you need for a rental car. So quite often I have to pick it up the day before, or drop it off the day after.

Less-than-one-day rentals enables you to pick it up and drop it off, anytime of the day or night. So I found that part quite easy to use and has been quite valuable in some instances.

Louise Woolhouse: Thinking about other agencies who might be looking to follow what EECA is doing, is there any advice you'd give to government agencies who are looking to increase their own use of less-than-one-day rentals?

Drew Roberts: I’d just say, just do it. You get a couple of people to trial and test the cars. So get people are more engaged in that sort of shared economy and it'll work out quite well. You'll find it's actually really easy, really beneficial. Once you get started, it’s just about learning the process. It's not scary. There's no anxiety that we’ve found and it's actually pretty easy at the end of the day, so just try it.

One thing that I find really valuable at EECA is quite often when people start, they might not have driven electric vehicles. So that's actually a good way to show someone what an electric vehicle is and what it can do. Just, you know, share your experience and knowledge with others, and the same at the other end, when you're at meetings. When I've used less-than-one-day rentals vehicles, I just say, “Hey, this is how we do it”. And people quite often comment, and say it’s a great little idea, why don’t we do it? So just get out there and try it would be the main words that I’d come back with.

Louise Woolhouse: Great. Well, thank you so much for talking to us today Drew. It sounds like EECA are doing really well in this space. If your agency would like to implement less-than-one-day rentals into your travel programme, there are videos on the New Zealand Government Procurement and Property website about how they work, and the full contact details for the three suppliers on the panel who operate in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Thanks so much Drew.

Drew Roberts: Thanks Louise.

 

Cityhop - Less-than-one-day rental - How to video

Cityhop - How to video

Transcript

Duration: 0:50

Cityhop

Book online – desktop or mobile

Simply select the car you want for the time you need

Choice of cars, SUVs, vans, hybrids and EVs

Choose from over 150 vehicles, book by the hour or the day

Insurance included with every booking

Fuel included with every booking

Dedicated parking space for easy pick up and return

Book Unlock Drive

Over 50 locations

Mevo - Less-than-one-day rental - How to video

Mevo - How to video

Transcript

Duration: 2:00

Welcome to Mevo.

To get started, open the Mevo app to find the closest vehicle to you.

You'll find Mevos parked throughout the home zone and at Mevo dedicated parking locations, including at Wellington airport.

Tap reserve before you head down to the car up to 30 minutes in advance.

Once you've arrived at your vehicle, tap in the app to unlock the doors.

If your Mevo is plugged into a charger, unlock the car using the app before removing the charger and place this safely back in its holster.

Replace the dust cap and secure the charging port by twisting the latch.

To start your Mevo, place your foot firmly on the brake and press the start//stop button on the centre console.

When the needle is at ready on the dash, the engine is on and you're ready to drive.

The handbrake will disengage automatically, but you can press down on the switch to do this manually.

NOTE: with the latest upgrades, use your app to LOCK/UNLOCK your vehicle while on trip.

Bluetooth on!

If you are on a long trip and you run low on fuel, stop into any Z Energy station and top up using the fuel card in the glovebox.

If you have any other issues, or an emergency, you'll find a comprehensive in car booklet in every Mevo with all the information you'll need.

You can end your trip in any metred, coupon, or P120 and above parking space in the home zone, as long as this space doesn't form any part of a clearway.

The home zone light on the centre console will turn green when your Mevo is inside the home zone boundary.

Once you are parked and engage the handbrake, and turn off the engine.

***Make sure the fuel card is re-inserted back in the cardholder and the blue light is off.

Make sure the windows are up and you've collected all your personal belongings.

If you parked your Mevo at a charging station, you can plug in to recharge it for its next
adventure.

Electricity will flow automatically.

Tap End Trip in the app once you are all done.

You'll receive a trip confirmation email and your trip details will be visible in your account overnight.

See you next time, ma te wa.

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