While we are all preparing to re-open our businesses, we should not only be looking at blue and red team strategies, we should be looking at staff transport strategies for our businesses.

Our business is lucky enough to have access to many vehicles and from early in March we had already instituted staff transport strategies to ensure that none of our team were using Public transport.  We also started running specials to encourage other businesses to follow suit. We were very aware of the impact that one case could have on our business.

Even one person using public transport puts your entire team at risk.  Questions need to be asked about the recent mass infection of a team of 24 people at a business on the East Rand.  Was this caused directly by an incorrect transport policy.  During the time spent at work, the staff members keep the required social distancing, wash their hands and wear masks, but after work they are all transported in one mini-bus with inadequate ventilation.  While it might seem like a good idea to rent a mini-bus and drop everyone off at home, you end up putting all your eggs in one basket.

The safest mode of transport in terms of protecting against Covid, is one where you are sitting next to an open window, but what is the most cost effective form of staff transport?

The cheapest form of staff transport, is the method where your staff get their own vehicle and manage their own transport and pay their own fuel, and avoid public transport.

The second cheapest method of staff transport is get your staff with vehicles to create lift clubs with your other staff who have vehicles.  It is important to make sure that the correct protocols are followed in terms of windows, and spacing within the vehicle.

If you cannot leverage off your existing staff vehicles, companies like Pace Fleet Services are offering short term leases on small vehicles that will allow your staff to lease their own vehicle (with or without subsidisation) while we are at risk from COVID.  The leases are cheap and have short terms so you are able to terminate the lease once the requirement for safe staff transport is no longer needed.  If you subsidise these leases for your staff, it could be one of the cheapest and lowest management methods of reducing the reliance on public transport for your staff.  Not only on week days, but on weekends and after hours. 

In these arrangements, you would subsidise the lease cost of an entry level vehicle for your staff member, and they would contract with Pace and pay the fuel and tolls and arrange between themselves and the other staff for lift clubs between themselves.  This type of cost sharing arrangement makes sense for you and your employees, and it reduces the level of management required.  The only requirement on you is to make sure that lift club members start and end their shifts at the same time each day.

One of the requirements for a lease for a private individual is usually a hefty deposit, this usually acts as a barrier to entry.  Companies like Pace have been doing owner driver schemes for years and are equipped to allow for payroll deductions, which eliminates the requirements for the deposit.

Obviously all of the above strategies rely on a member of your team having the required driving license.  In these cases you can choose between a minibus strategy and an Uber type service.  The issue with these type of arrangements is the cost.  Staff transport vehicles are allowed to carry 60% of their capacity, meaning the following:

Almera/Corolla = Driver + 2

VW Kombi/ Hyundai H1 = Driver + 4

11 Seater Quantum     = Driver + 5

16 Seater Sesfikile = Driver + 8

At Pace we have access to over 400 drivers (all vetted and licensed) with roadworthy vehicles nationally, and we can put you in touch with them directly should you require driving services.

Questions have been asked about what constitutes a safe COVID-19 driving protocol when sharing a vehicle. At Pace we have the following for our staff:

  • All staff members must sit next to an open window when driving, rain or shine
  • A mask should always be worn at all times
  • Always sanitise yourself and the touch points (including key) before getting in
  • If you were not the last driver or occupant of the vehicle, we have been recommending that the staff leave the vehicle on, with the heater on full for 3 minutes before entering.
  • The fan settings should not recirculate air, but allow fresh air into the vehicle
  • Any personal belongings in the boot should be kept separate

If you are looking for a staff transport supplier that is taking the lead, please contact Peter Jacobs peter@pacefleet.co.za or Grenville Salmon gren@pacefleet.co.za .