Archive for the ‘Van Hire News’ Category

How to get a UK driving licence check code for hiring a car or van (illustrated guide)

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

On 8 June 2015, the paper counterpart to the UK driving licence is being scrapped, and will no longer be accepted by vehicle hire companies in the UK or abroad.

This is being known as the paperless licence change — your licence will now be made up of your Photocard and the DVLA’s online records of your entitlements and convictions.

As the Photocard doesn’t carry details of penalty points, hire companies will have to carry out an online check on every driver to see if their licence is valid when they pick-up a hire vehicle. This will require a driving licence check code.

Hire companies are advising all drivers to obtain a driving licence check code from the DVLA using a new gov.uk online service.

I thought I’d give it a try to see how well the new system works. The answer, happily, is that it’s quick and simple, assuming you have internet access.

You will need your driving licence number and your National Insurance number to get a licence check code.

How to get your driving licence check code

Here’s an illustrated guide showing how to get the code you will need for a hire vehicle licence check from 8 June 2015:

(please note these images were taken on 19 May 2015 — the actual pages may change as the system develops)

1. Start here: www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence

View your driving licence info

Click the View now button to continue.

2. You’ll then be asked to enter your driving licence number, National Insurance number and the postcode on your driving licence into a short form:

Enter licence and NI details

That’s it!

3. You’re then shown a page with several tabs, on which you can view your licence details, your current penalty points and disqualification history, and a complete list of vehicles your are entitled to drive.

Click on each tab to see the information:

View your full driving licence info

4. However, the fourth option (right-hand side) is the one you will need for hiring a vehicle: Share your licence information

How to get driving licence check code

Click on the Create a code  button to create a licence check code to use when hiring a vehicle.

Remember:

  • These codes are only valid for 72 hours (3 days) 
  • You will still need your driving licence photocard when you collect your hire vehicle

Here’s what you get:

Example of a UK driving licence check code

5. I’d suggest you use the ‘View, print or save your licence information‘ link to print out full details of the check. This opens up in a new window as a PDF file (Acrobat Reader file).

You can then print this out and show it to the hire company, who can choose whether to go online and use the check code or accept your print out.

Who needs to do this?

If you are planning on hiring a vehicle using a UK driving licence after 8 June 2015, you need to do this. This applies whether you are hiring in the UK or abroad and for all types of vehicle.

All hire companies will ask for this information unless they already have a computerised alternative system in place (most don’t, yet).

Will Your Audi Automatically Open Up For Parcels When You’re Out?

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
Audi connect easy delivery service with DHL & Amazon Prime

Would you trust your Audi to unlock itself and accept parcels for you?

Missing parcel deliveries can be a major pain in the neck: long trips to the nearest depot, failed redeliveries — or worst of all, parcels that have been left somewhere ‘safe’, but somehow get damaged or disappear.

Audi, DHL and Amazon Prime have come up with a solution, which will allow you to specify the boot of your Audi as a delivery destination.

The delivery driver will be provided with a one-time access code that will be available for a fixed period of time, allowing them to unlock the boot without a key, before closing and locking it again with your parcel inside.

I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that this sounds too far-fetched — or too damn risky — to be attractive, but the reality is that cars are becoming increasingly connected, and services like this could become commonplace.

Starting in May, this service is going to be trialled in Munich, Germany. If it goes well, I’d expect it to expand — although in reality this may simply be one of those experimental services that provides data for future ideas but doesn’t take off in itself.

After all, let’s face it: modern cars are now computers with an engine and wheels. In a world where self-driving cars are already technically possible, having your boot unlock itself for a couple of minutes doesn’t seem that far-fetched, does it?

Why van hire companies may refuse your UK driving licence without online access code

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Update 19 May 2015: We’ve produced a step-by-step guide showing how to get a driving licence check code.

Anyone planning to hire a van (or a car) in June, including overseas, needs to remember that the paper counterpart of the UK driving licence will no longer be valid from 8 June.

Currently, details of any endorsements and convictions are kept on the paper part of your licence, which you need to show when you hire a vehicle. However, from 8 June, this information will only be available online, so hire companies will need to check drivers’ details online when checking their licences.

This applies when for car and van hire abroad, as well as for car and van hire in the UK.

How will it work?

Although it’s possible for a hire company to phone the DVLA and check your licence details, they won’t be keen on this, as it costs around 51p per minute and is not a 24/7 service.

The only practical solutions will be online — and that means that you, the hire customer, will need to be prepared to help.

1. Share My Driving Licence

Most hire companies are going to be relying on hire customers providing them with access to their online details using a new DVLA system called Share My Driving Licence.

You will need to visit this site within 2 days of picking up your hire van or car in order to generate a unique access code that the hire company can use to view your driving licence details online.

Share My Driving Licence is free to use, but to generate your access code, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Your driving licence number
  • Your National Insurance number
  • The postcode on your driving licence

(this system doesn’t work for licences issued in Northern Ireland)

If you try to collect a hire vehicle without providing a Share My Driving Licence code, you may be able to do it on the day — but only if you have your National Insurance number with you and are able to get internet access. It’s definitely going to be easier to do it in advance.

2. Surely there’s a better way?

LICENCECHECK RealTime

LICENCECHECK RealTime is the first product to provide real-time UK driver licence checks for companies ahead of the abolition of the paper counterpart.

Obviously, the sensible solution to this problem is for hire companies to be able to check your driving licence details online for themselves, without you needing to jump through hoops beforehand.

This will be possible, but the DVLA is relying on commercial partners to develop new systems to provide real-time driving licence checks, and at present, there’s only one such system available in the UK, to the best of my knowledge.

What’s more, that system, called LICENCECHECK RealTime, was only launched at the start of March, so it won’t be in widespread use, yet.

I suspect that all the big companies will rapidly develop or buy in real-time licence checking systems like this, to avoid huge disruption to their business, and to ensure that licences are all checked properly — not just nodded through with a look at the photocard only.

However, many of these systems aren’t ready yet, and smaller van hire companies may take longer to adopt these solutions. In the meantime, you will be required to provide access to your own details using the Share My Driving Licence system, which you can find here: https://www.gov.uk/view-driving-licence.

You can find more information in this article on the gov.uk website.

Budget UK launches new van rental service

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Budget van rental in LondonWell-known car rental firm Budget has launched a new van hire service in London, extending its existing national van rental operation.

The new service is aimed at small and medium business users and is backed by a new fleet of 100 Volkswagen Transporters, based across London.

The vehicles will be packed with handy features including Bluetooth, folding mirrors and parking sensors; making it the perfect partner for moving large loads with minimal stress through the busy capital.

Mark Servodidio, Managing Director, Northern Europe, Avis Budget Group, commented:

“We’re confident the new service, which will offer small and medium businesses across the capital a truly flexible and cost-efficient alternative to a permanent fleet of vehicle, will further strengthen our position as a partner to London’s businesses using Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.”

Budget also offers a van rental service to personal customers from branches across the UK, and as part of a wider fleet renewal, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will also supply a further 300 Transporters and 100 Caddys to bolster this national van rental fleet.

Major rental firm adds hybrid cars to London fleet: will vans be next?

Monday, March 16th, 2015
Avis Toyota Yaris Hybrid cars

Avis has just added 100 Toyota Yaris Hybrid cars to its London car rental fleet

Car rental giant Avis has added 100 Toyota Yaris Hybrid cars to its London fleet, flagging up the growing acceptance of hybrid and electric vehicles among major fleet operators.

The Yaris Hybrid cars will initially be available at Heathrow and Stansted airports, plus major central London locations. Availability will gradually be extended to Gatwick, Luton and other key south-east locations.

As full hybrids, the Yaris Hybrids are currently exempt from the London congestion charge and boast CO2 emissions of just 75g/km. At low speeds, the cars automatically switch to full electric mode, with the engine firing up as needed at higher speeds.

Will the Avis example encourage any van hire operators to make the switch?

One problem is that with the exception of the 4×4-derived Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV hybrd (plug-in electric vehicle hybrid) — which isn’t really a normal van — there aren’t currently any production hybrid vans. All the available models are either all-electric or petrol/diesel, not hybrids.

However, given that PSA Peugeot Citroen has a diesel hybrid system which is available on cars such as the 3008 and 508, it’s not an impossible stretch to imagine that this system could be adapted to fit the Peugeot Expert van, improving its urban emissions credentials.

There’s also the Ashwoods Hybrid Transit, an aftermarket hybrid conversion for the Ford Transit that’s won widespread acceptance and makes a credible claim to reduce emissions and fuel consumption by around 15%.

Hybrid technology seems to be gaining widespread acceptance in the car world, and overcomes the core objections which face electric cars — they aren’t suitable for long distances or as an only car. I don’t see any reason why hybrid technology can’t start making in-roads into the van market, especially as cost-wise, hybrid vehicles are increasingly on a par with non-hybrid alternatives, especially when fuel and emissions costs are factored in.

Winter offer: Europcar van hire from just £16 per day

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Europcar winter van hire from £16 per day

Although the weather seems to have warmed up slightly, winter is still with us — and to help you save money during the cold season, Europcar is currently offering van hire from just £16 per day.

This is a generous and long-running offer that’s available on bookings made by 29 March 2015 for checkouts until 30 June 2015 (some dates excluded, see website for details).

Europcar is one of the most flexible van hire firms around, too — hourly van hire, one-way van hire and overnight options are all available.

All Europcar rental vans includes 24-hour roadside assistance, and a choice of short wheelbase, long wheelbase and luton box vans with tail lift are available — ideal for small moves or big DIY jobs!

Europcar van hire from £16 per day

 

 

 

 

Terms & conditions apply, see Europcar website for details.

Van rental firm counts on Ford for ongoing growth

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

T.O.M. Vehicle Rental Ford vansT.O.M. Vehicle Rental has seen remarkable growth over the last five years, growing from 1,500 on one site to 8.500 vehicles across seven sites.

Serving customers from sites in Manchester, Nottingham and Scotland, T.O.M. has added increasing numbers of Ford vans to its fleet in recent years.

T.O.M. has ordered more than 1,000 Ford vans over the last year, and the hire firm’s latest order was for 330 new model Ford Transits, which T.O.M. says is the current van of choice among many of its customers. Ford vans now account for 35% of the firm’s fleet.

James Rafferty, T.O.M.’s group sales and operations director, says that the firm buying is influenced by customer preferences and requirements:

“We adapt to what our rental customers want. We find out what they are planning to do with a vehicle to ensure we provide them with the right one.

“Ford has a great range, from small vans to large, so there is something for everyone, and our customers like them. Ford is a manufacturer which stands by its products, which gives us peace of mind, with ease of maintenance a key strength of the Transit range.”

As a long-time Transit fan myself, I’m not surprised by the success of the marque’s sophisticated all-new van range and am looking forward to getting a chance to drive the new ‘big’ Transit in the near future.

Save up to 20% on Europcar Van Hire in January sale

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
Europcar van hire

Save up to 20% in the Europcar January sale

Europcar is currently offering discounts of up to 20% on van hire as part of its January Sale.

This is valid for bookings made by February 1st and completed by 30th June, with certain exclusions.

**THIS OFFER HAS NOW EXPIRED**

If you need a van for a trip to the tip, to move furniture or for a big DIY project, this could be a good opportunity. Europcar has also provided some helpful tips for driving and load a van (we have more tips on driving and loading vans):

All you have to do to benefit from the Europcar January sale discount is book online as normal*: click here to visit the Europcar website.

 

Tips for driving a van

  • Vans are bigger than cars – Be aware of the width, length and height of the vehicle when hiring a van, especially if you’re not used to driving one
  • Take corners slowly – it is possible for a heavy loads to move around if you take the corner too fast
  • Space for corners – Remember that larger vans need more room to turn so give yourself plenty of time and space when taking corners.
  • Stopping distance – Remember that the larger or heavier the vehicle, the longer it takes to stop, especially in icy or wet conditions.
  • Blind side – Watch out for cyclists and bikers who might be tempted to overtake on the blind side.

Tips for loading a van

  • Start loading your items at the front of the van and work your way to the back.
  • Spread the load evenly across the base, uneven loads can have a massive effect on a van’s stability.
  • Keep all items stacked as tightly as possible to keep everything from shifting during the drive.
  • When loading a van, place heavy items on the floor of the vehicle, and plastic and lighter things on top of the heavier ones.
  • You may have to take apart things like tables and desks in order to load everything tightly and to ensure safe transport.
  • Be careful not to scoot or drag furniture in the van as damage may occur to sofas, table legs and dresser bottoms.
  • When lifting a heavy load bend your legs not your back.

*Terms and conditions apply. See Europcar website for details.

Driving licence paper counterpart to remain in use until June 2015

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

The government has announced that the paper counterpart of UK driver licences will now remain in use until 8 June 2015, extending the previous removal date of 1 January 2015.

What do I need to do?

For anyone planning on hiring a van, this means you will still need to produce both parts of your driving licence — the photocard and the paper counterpart — when you hire a vehicle, until at least 8 June 2015.

What’s happened?

Back in November, I wrote about the government’s plan to scrap the paper counterpart that forms part of UK driver licences, leaving only the photocard. The change was due to come into force from 1 January 2015.

At the time, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) was flagging up concerns about the cost and practicality of this approach, as the planned new online system was, of course, running late, and was unlikely to be ready until the new year.

The plan was that the information contained on the paper counterpart to be available online, instead, so that individuals and businesses such as vehicle hire firms and transport operators, with a legitimate need for the information, could access it online instead. However, with hire companies needing to check thousands of licences per year, and many transport operators and staffing agencies needing to run hundreds of checks, the extra costs for businesses forced to use the DVLA’s existing driver data service would have been significant.

Lobbying from the BVRLA and the Freight Transport Association appears to have convinced the government to put back the deadline — hopefully, the extra six months will be enough for the government’s IT contractors to get their act together and finish the planned new Share My Driving Record system.

Jargon buster: van weights and payloads when moving house

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Let us show you how to move house with a hire van

If you’re thinking about hiring a van to move house, there’s lots to get your head around. Not only have you got to be aware of the maximum weight that your van can carry, but you’ve also got to understand the jargon that goes along with hiring a van.

We’ve put together a jargon buster to help you get on the road and answer the most commonly-asked questions.

Jargon buster

Large van / long wheelbase van: this is a typical large panel van that you might hire to move house, such as  long

Luton van: This is a van with a box body on the back. These are popular with small removal companies as they offer more space and a wider, flat floor with no wheel arches in the loadspace.

3,500kg or 3.5 tonne: These are the same thing, as 1 tonne = 1,000kg. Most big hire vans are described as 3,500kg vans. This means the maximum permitted weight of the van itself plus the load and any passengers is 3,500kg.

Payload: This is vital — the payload is the maximum load weight you can put in the van, including passengers.

  • For a 3,500kg panel van, the payload is typically around 1,200kg – 1,400kg
  • For a 3,500kg luton van, the payload will be a bit less, maybe 1,000kg – 1,200kg
  • These numbers vary between models. Any reputable hire company should be able to tell you the maximum payload for the van you are hiring

Overloaded: This is what happens if your 3,500kg weighs more than 3,500kg when you are stopped by the police — whether in the UK or Europe. Depending on how much over the weight limit your van is, you will be fined and/or forced to remove the surplus weight from the vehicle before being allowed to continue.

Ignorance is no excuse if you’re overloaded: you, the driver, are always liable, regardless of circumstances.

I don’t know how much any of my stuff weighs…

If you’re shifting boxes of wine or bags of cement (for example), it’s easy to know how much your load weighs. Each item is labelled with its weight, and they’re all the same.

Unfortunately it’s not so easy with household goods. You can’t realistically weigh your furniture, for example.

The solution, if you want to be sure, is to take your loaded van to your nearest public weighbridge before setting off. You can usually find details of these on your local council website (or try your nearest major recycling centre).