How to promote public transportation within your company?

July 27, 2020

The car is the most used means of transportation by employees to get to work. In France, no less than 7 out of 10 people use this means of transport to commute to work. How can this trend be reversed? 

The world is changing and so are businesses. With the growing attention paid to corporate social responsibility (CSR), public transportation is also becoming more important. The use of public transportation will also allow your employees to be more fulfilled at work. Why will they be happier? Quite simply because 40 minutes on a train is much less stressful than being stuck in traffic for 30 minutes.

Would you like your employees to use public transportation to get to work? Have you already put some measures in place but would like to do more? Here are some ideas for practices you could implement in your company to make your employees aware of the use of public transportation.


Provide an economic incentive to employees who use public transportation

From an economic point of view, there are different ways to encourage your employees to use public transportation. These are usually the first practices adopted by companies to encourage employees to change their habits, but it is always a good idea to remember the basics. 


1. Reimburse your employees' transportation costs in full if they use public transportation

Every company has a duty to contribute to the travel costs of employees using public transportation. The legal minimum of this contribution is 70% in Belgium and 50% in France. 

Although this intervention is already a real gain for the employee, a total intervention would represent an undeniable advantage, since no costs would be charged to the employee. This will make employees less hesitant in their choice of travel mode.

If your company is located in Belgium, you have the possibility of using the third party-paying contract. With this system, you allow your employees to use public transportation free of charge. 

If your company contributes 80% of the transport costs, you have the possibility to sign an 80/20 third party agreement with the NMBS. By doing so, the 20% normally paid by your employees will be paid by the government. As you can imagine, this represents a real benefit for the employees who will not have to pay anything for their travel expenses, but also for you who will no longer have to take care of the monthly reimbursements. You can find more information about this here


2. Adopt a mobility budget

A mobility budget is a sum of money paid to workers so that they can spend it as they wish on their home-work trips. It will be up to them to decide whether they want to take public transportation or use another means of transportation. This budget is therefore an alternative to the budget allocated to company cars. Thanks to this system, you can offer your employees an advantage without favouring the use of a company car. 


3. Reimburse parking fees for parking close to railway stations or metro/tram/bus stops

Leaving one's car in a parking lot all day is a significant cost to workers. It is very often a hindrance to the use of public transportation. To alleviate this problem, you may decide to reimburse your employees' parking costs if they are near a train, tram, metro or bus line. By doing so, you decrease expenses for your employees. They will therefore be more inclined to consider using public transportation to get to work.

Public transport to commute to work

Communicate about public transportation

How do you communicate about public transportation? Do you have a thought-out strategy in place? Here are some strategies you could use to improve the profile of public transportation in your company. 


1. Suggest a leaflet about public transportation

To facilitate access to information do not hesitate to do all the necessary research about the public transportation options in the vicinity of your office. Once you have collected all this information, gather it in a leaflet that you will distribute and make it accessible via your company's intranet. In this way, your employees will have access to all relevant information about their public transportation options. 


2. Organize information sessions on public transportation

Organize an annual information session on the use of public transportation for commuting to work. By doing so, you not only keep your employees informed on the subject, but you also allow them to ask questions. By answering these questions, you increase the chances of them using public transportation. 


3. Talking about the use of public transportation when a new recruit arrives

What could be a more appropriate time than onboarding a newcomer to your company to discuss this subject? By including the topic of public transportation and mobility in general, you are giving your new employee the best chance to (re)consider this option. In this presentation, you will of course refer to the advantages offered by the company with respect to the use of public transportation.

Talk about public transport to new employees

Be flexible

First of all, try to understand why some employees do not want to use public transportation to get to work. Based on their response, try to make accommodations within your company. Here are 3 solutions to common problems. 

1. Make work schedules more flexible

Some employees do not use public transportation because of the set schedules of public transportation. You may decide to implement more flexible schedules to allow your employees to arrive on time  according to the transportation they use. This way, they will no longer feel pressed for time and will be able to arrive at the office on time. 


2. Filling in areas not covered by public transportation

Your offices may be located in an area with poor public transportation service. If this is the case, many employees will directly remove public transit from their list of options. 

You can accommodate this by setting up a service that will allow a relay from a public transportation station to your workplace. For example, you can offer shuttles from the station to your company. If this is too expensive, you can always try to contact neighboring companies and offer them to share the use of such a service. All companies want to improve access to their buildings. 

You can also promote the use of bicycles between stations. Folding bikes are a very good alternative and are accepted on public transportation . By using a bike like this, your employees will be able to get from the station to their workplace without having to walk. They will save time and get exercise at the same time! What better way to start the day? 

Discover here our article: 4 tips to encourage your employees to use bicycles

As you can see, the promotion of the use of public transportation is mainly based on a well established communication and the ability to adapt to different situations. If your intention is simply to reduce the number of employees using their private cars to get to work, other possibilities can be considered. For example, you can think about using bicycles and setting up a car-sharing system within your company. In order to improve the mobility of your employees and to reduce the pollution caused by their travels even more drastically, allowing them to work from home is also a solution to consider.

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