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GROUND TRANSPORT


Coaches at the ready at CHOGM


Chauffeuring the heads of Commonwealth


THE UK GOVERNMENT HOSTED the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April 2018. Leaders of 53 countries attended events in London and Windsor over five days. Following a tendering process, TBR Global Chauffeuring won the contract in December 2017 to become the CHOGM official transport partner. TBR started preparations in January; dedicating three members of staff to work full-time on the project in its London office and hold regular meetings with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). The work included interviewing and accrediting more than 450 specially trained drivers and planning more than 30 routes, while 56 TBR staff went on site at 70 event venues one week before CHOGM to support fleet management and logistics. TBR managed all ground transport


requirements for VIPs, delegates, media and FCO staff, using a fleet of 330 vehicles including coaches, multipurpose vehicles, Jaguar Land Rovers, vans and even golf buggies. A FCO spokesperson said: “The TBR team worked exceptionally hard to ensure that heads of government and foreign ministers had seamless transport movements and that their wider delegations were provided with an excellent level of service.”


72 BBT July/August 2018 John McCallion, chief executive of


ground transport technology platform GroundScope, says companies, particularly global corporations, are “becoming increasingly focused on this area” due to the need to control costs, as well as recognising their duty-of-care responsibilities. Abi Cummings, an associate at


consultancy Festive Road, agrees: “More corporates are now thinking and including ground transport in their managed travel programme. Consideration is also taking place on how to re-educate and change the behaviour of their travellers in order for them to use the programmes they have in place, with duty-of-care normally being a primary driver and cost management the secondary driver.”


TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS While the technology platforms to manage and consolidate ground transport are undoubtedly improving, most travel managers in the sector admit there is “plenty of work to do” in improving these services, particularly with so many players and sources of data involved. For example, Amex GBT’s new ground transport platform offers access to more than 750 ground operators in 2,000 cities across 18 countries, with options such as black cabs, taxis, limousines, airport express train services and ride-sharing through a deal with Lyft. The platform is designed to capture bookings with suppliers, whether they are made online, offline or through the TMC’s mobile app.


“Uber will not be


offering guaranteed rates through Uber


for Business; it’s the same price as our other services”


Of course, what’s really shaken up the


sector has been the emergence of ride- hailing apps, most notably Uber. For all of the seemingly endless controversy swirling around the company, Uber is at least partially playing the corporate game through its platform, Uber for Business, by providing management information (MI) for organisations and working with expense management specialists such as Concur and Chrome River. But Erinn Collier, UK head of Uber for


Business, says the company will resist offering corporate discounts. “We will not be offering guaranteed rates through Uber for Business; it’s the same price as our other services. If we introduced price fixes it would mess with our natural supply and demand.” she says. “Historically we find that we are 20 to


30 per cent cheaper than other comparable ground transport providers, even with surge pricing. It’s not just about cost savings, there are convenience and safety aspects as well because it’s a cashless system. The driver is being tracked and you know what routes they are using.” However, surge pricing remains an


issue. Beth Sampson, commercial director at ride-hailing service Brunel, which is


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