Archive for the ‘Van Hire News’ Category

DVLA to abolish paper element of driving licence in January 2015 — before substitute is ready

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

The current UK driving licence consists of a photocard, together with a paper counterpart — but this is set to change in January 2015, when the paper counterpart will be abolished.

Although this has been known about for some time, I haven’t seen a lot of publicity about it. For car and van rental customers, however, it is relevant.

Here’s why.

You will no longer need to provide the paper counterpart of your driving licence when you pick up a hired van or car. That’s the good news, and  in the long run, this seems like a sensible move.

However, as you might expect, the replacment solution involves a new DVLA online service. As you might also expect, from a government-funded IT project, it may not be ready in time.

If the new service, known as Share My Driving Record (SMDR), isn’t ready in time, the hire company may need to use the DVLA’s existing driver data service to check for details of points on your licence, recent convictions, and entitlement categories. This is quite expensive — current costs are 51p/minute by telephone or £1.50 per enquiry via a dedicated electronic connection.

Given that there are 10 million rentals a year in the UK, according to the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Asssociation, this could add up to a sizeable cost for hire companies, until the DVLA gets it IT act together.

What do I need to do?

Let’s hope I’m wrong, and SMDR is ready in time. However, as it probably won’t be, then if you are planning to hire a van (or any other vehicle) early in 2015, I’d suggest three things:

  1. Take your paper counterpart along regardless of whether it has been abolished, just in case it’s still useful.
  2. Be prepared for some delay and confusion while the hire company checks your driver data.
  3. Be prepared to pay any of the resulting licence verification costs.

Although abolishing the paper counterpart seems like a good idea in principle, this looks set to be yet another poorly-planned piece of government red tape cutting that could actually cause more hassle for customers and small businesses, rather than less. Let’s just hope I’m wrong.

Are younger drivers unfairly penalised by van hire firms?

Friday, September 12th, 2014

VanRental.co.uk vanAge limits remain a problem for car and van hire customers: anyone under 25 is likely to pay a surcharge, while anyone aged 20 or under is unlikely to be able to hire a car — or van — at all.

The problem means, for example, that students are not able to hire a small van to return themselves to university with their belongings (on a one-way hire) but instead must enlist their parents’ help, in most cases.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has been looking into this issue in more depth and believes that the traditional justification given for this discrimination — that young drivers are too high risk — has been overused and is not backed up by statistics.

The organisation points out that while teenagers are a documented high-risk group when it comes to accidents, the risk drops considerably after six months of driving experience and even more so for drivers in their early 20s.

And according to existing government data*, reported killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties in accidents involving young car drivers have decreased at steady rate since 2000. In 2011, compared with the 2005-09 average, the numbers of KSI casualties in young car driver related accidents in 2011 was 35 per cent lower, and the number of fatalities was 46 per cent lower.

Neil Greig, IAM Director of Policy and Research, points out that car clubs are opening their doors to younger drivers, without problems, and that a sensible, measured approach could actually help drive new business for the hire firms:

“We are not suggesting that inexperienced or teenage drivers should be let loose with a powerful hire car. But younger 20-somethings shouldn’t be penalised to such a degree with expensive premium charges. Safe young drivers could be a potentially fruitful market as the economy picks up. The rise in the popularity of City Car Clubs which do allow 19 year olds to drive shows that demand is out there.”

“Car hire companies should be commissioning research and looking at their real world claims history to see if the age limit can be reduced. It’s a small part of the overall traffic mix on our roads but reviewing the age limit would remove what appears to be a fundamental unfairness for safe young people in their early twenties.”

You can find more information on age limits for van hire here, although do be aware that these conditions sometimes change and that the young driver surcharge can sometimes double the daily rate for a small van!

*https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/236989/young-drivers-2011.pdf

Rental companies demand police action on vehicle thefts

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Did you know that nearly half of all new vehicles sold in the UK each year are bought buy hire companies?

That may not be so surprising when you learn that the UK vehicle rental industry has a total fleet of around 400,000 cars, vans and trucks — of which an estimated 1,500 are stolen every year.

Against this backdrop, it’s not hard to understand why the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) is calling for more aggressive police action on vehicle crime, in the light of damning findings in a new report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

The report — which describes policing as a ‘postcode lottery’ — concluded that car crime is “on the verge of being decriminalised” because forces have “almost given up”, a finding with which Gerry Keaney, BVRLA chief executive, wholeheartedly agrees:

 “Vehicle theft or fraud is one of the biggest problems facing the rental industry, but our members are largely being left to fend for themselves.”

“We need police forces to take cases of vehicle crime seriously and adopt a much more ‘joined-up’ approach to working with other constabularies.”

UK vehicle rental Operators undertake rigorous training of frontline staff and share access to an industry-wide database of ‘problem renters’, but the sector still suffers an estimated 1,500 vehicle thefts each year, according to the BVRLA, which says that vehicle rental operators are often targeted on a national basis by organised gangs.

“Rental companies are not time-wasters – they know when a vehicle has been stolen and are prepared to work closely with police to solve these crimes”, Keaney added.

To help address this problem, the BVRLA has developed its own Stolen Vehicle Reporting Guidelines to help members report thefts and ensure that police forces are provided with the right evidence and information to conduct an investigation.

The Association of Chief Police Officers and forces up and down the country have been made aware of this information, but it is falling between the cracks as more and more crime-reporting and administrative functions are outsourced, says the organisation.

You can access the full HMIC report into crime here.

Sold #2: Practical Car and Van Rental changes hands

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Practical Car and Van Rental has been sold, according to a report on the Business Car website.

The website reported that Practical, which has 136 UK hire outlets and a total of 3,000 vehicles, has been purchased by a UK firm called Tudor Holdings, which also owns a Kent and Sussex-based firm called Kent Auto Panels, a car dealership group.

The deal is the second sales of a large independent vehicle hire group to be announced this week — on Wednesday, I reported on the sale of Burnt Tree Commercial Vehicle Rental to Enterprise, a deal that will create a combined fleet of more than 25,000 commercial vehicles.

In both cases, the amounts paid for the acquisitions have not been disclosed, as both deals were between two privately-held companies.

Enterprise buys Burnt Tree Vehicle Rental

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Enterprise Rent-A-Car today announced the acquisition of Burnt Tree, one of the UK’s largest providers of commercial rental vehicles to companies and public sector organisations. The purchase increases the breadth of vehicles and services that Enterprise can provide to its customers under its flexible commercial vehicle hire division, Flex-E-Rent.

The agreement includes Burnt Tree’s diverse commercial fleet of 17,000 vehicles, including commercial vans, HGVs, refrigerated trucks and accessible minibuses, its proprietary fleet management technologies, as well as its network of 20 branches and a team of 400 employees.

In the immediate short-term, the Enterprise Flex-E-Rent and Burnt Tree businesses will continue to operate as two separate brands, with a view to creating a combined entity that will be headquartered in Shrewsbury. The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, significantly increases Enterprise’s value proposition in the flexible commercial vehicle rental sector and will take its fleet of commercial vans and trucks to more than 25,000.

Enterprise UK and Ireland managing director, Mike Nigro, said:

“We are committed to the growth of our flexible commercial vehicle business, which has grown organically in recent years.

“We could immediately see the potential of Burnt Tree to give our customers access to skills and services that are particularly suited to the needs of commercial vehicle customers. Burnt Tree also has the same culture of delivering outstanding customer service as Enterprise and shares a rich heritage of conducting business in the UK.

“Burnt Tree has some unique expertise that it can bring to Enterprise and it will also benefit from becoming part of a truly global organisation. The combined business post-acquisition will be far stronger with greater economies of scale and better technology, while the transfer of knowledge will allow us to better serve our customers.”

The new business will be led by Danny Glynn, Director, Enterprise Flex-E-Rent. Burnt Tree chief executive, Richard Metcalfe, will remain in an advisory capacity to help steer the direction of the combined business.

Richard Metcalfe said:

“Last year we stated our ambition to become the leading and largest business in our industry. In time, this agreement will allow Burnt Tree to achieve its full potential to become the market leader. It will become part of the world’s largest vehicle rental company, which, like Burnt Tree, is privately owned.

“I know that there is both the vision and resources to grow the business over the long-term, which means there will be opportunities for people here. I would like to thank everyone sincerely at Burnt Tree for all their hard work and for making the business such a success. This agreement marks the next phase of growth for the business.”

Shrewsbury-headquartered Burnt Tree has been operating for more than 30 years, while Enterprise is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the UK this year. As well as its Flex-E-Rent division, Enterprise also operates a fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles from the UK’s largest network of car hire branches.

Glass carrier specialist Supertrucks launches rental service

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
Supertrucks Rental Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

One of the Supertrucks Rental Mercedes-Benz Sprinter glass carrier vans

Hiring a standard van is enough for many jobs, but when it comes to carrying glass, a standard van isn’t much good.

That’s why glass carrier specialist Supertrucks has launched a rental service offering 3.5t Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans which have been converted to carry sheets of glass up to 3.2m x 2.5m in size.

The latest initiative from Merseyside-based Supertrucks is aimed at those needing an extra truck or van to help them cope with increased customer demand, or to replace a vehicle which is off the road as a result of accident damage or mechanical failure.

As Supertrucks Manager Dave Hill explains:

“Anyone whose business entails transporting big pieces of glass know well that when an urgent requirement for additional transport arises, the local van hire outlet is not an option because their vehicles are not fit for purpose.

“Glass is a fragile product so what’s needed is a specialised vehicle, built to do the job. And that’s where we come in.”

Supertrucks Rental’s new Sprinters are available for short- or long-term hire and are fitted with anodised external racks capable of carrying sheets of glass up to 3215mm x 2540mm in size, along with roof racks with drop-down ladders at the rear. Inside, there are two more racks, one running the full length of the body, the other shorter to allow for the side door.

“There’s definitely a demand for this new service,” continues Dave. “It’s been welcomed by several customers and we’ve already taken bookings for rental vehicles. Looking ahead, if Supertrucks Rental takes off as we’re confident it will, we also intend to offer rigid trucks for hire.”

The UK’s number one manufacturer of specialised glass carrying commercial vehicles, Supertrucks was acquired earlier this year by the fast-growing Bevan Group. Since then the business has gone from strength-to-strength. The factory at St Helens has been working flat out, with new staff recruited and overtime and weekend shifts introduced.

Save 10% on Questor van hire excess insurance – EXCLUSIVE

Friday, July 18th, 2014

**This great discount code offer has now been extended until 31st October 2014**

Hiring a van this summer?

Don’t forget to plan for the cost of insurance — van rental companies’ standard insurance excess levels for vans are usually several hundred pounds and normally exclude glass, tyres and roof damage.

For a limited period only, you can SAVE 10% on Questor van hire excess insurance — EXCLUSIVE to vanrental.co.uk

Van hire excess insurance provides cover for the excess on your van rental insurance policy, protecting you from a big payout in the case of any accidental damage.

Here are the details:

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Valid from: 16th June 2014

Expires: 31st October 2014

CODE: SYY2075

Visit the Questor website for more information on excess insurance.

Could Uber-style van app slash demand for van hire?

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Traffic light at amberAnyone who was in London on 11 June is likely to have found that the capital’s traffic was even worse than usual, thanks to a protest by the capital’s black cab drivers, who parked up in Trafalgar Square to complain about the in-roads being made into their archaic and closed-shop business practices by mobile phone app Uber.

[Uber is an app that allows anyone needing a taxi to use their phone’s GPS to find the nearest available taxi (normally a minicab), book it, and pay for it, if necessary.]

Uber’s makers says that it improves the efficiency of taxi networks in dense urban areas, and I’d tend to agree. Black cab drivers, of course, are opposed, as the growing popularity of Uber means that more drivers are using their phones to summon minicab taxis, rather than walking the streets looking for a black cab.

Uber for vans?

In the UK, services such as Uber are restricted to passenger transport — but in Hong Kong, a new startup, GoGoVan, is doing the same thing for urban freight services.

The premise behind the business is that while some businesses have their own dedicated fleet of vehicles, many don’t, and rely on ‘man and van’ services, couriers and daily-rented vans to collect and deliver goods around large cities. According to the firm’s chairman, Gabriel Fong, in Hong Kong, 35,000 of the city-state’s 70,000 registered vans are essentially owner-operator or small courier companies. Historically, they’ve relied on telephone-based call centres for business, but the GoGoVan app speeds means that drivers can receive instructions much faster and with far greater geographic accuracy — meaning they can sometimes be at the job within minutes.

The company gathers feedback on each job and rates drivers, removing any who consistently fail to meet the required standards.

Could it work in the UK?

So could this model work in the UK? GoGoVan has already expanded to Singapore and recently secured a ‘seven figure’ round of funding and is targeting international expansion within the Asia-Pacific region, into cities such as Tokyo and Seoul. I can see how it could work in Europe, with the proviso that, in the UK at least, we don’t have the same culture of ‘calling a van’ like we call a taxi.

In my experience, most businesses have direct relationships with courier and light haulage companies — call centre-based services such as those with which GoGoVan is competing are less common, although the rise of parcel websites such as MyParcelDelivery.com is perhaps a sign that this might be changing.

After all, as long as the price and service are right, who cares who the provider is?

Naturally, this might have a damaging effect on the self-drive van hire business in urban areas — after all, if you could call up a van with driver on your phone within, say, half an hour, you might not go to the trouble of hiring a van for the day to drive yourself…

Scottish van hire firm opts for 100 Mercedes-Benz Citans

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

TIN Vehicle Rental Mercedes CitansScotland’s leading business van hire specialist, TOM Vehicle Rental, has taken delivery of 100 new Mercedes-Benz Citan small vans.

Supplied by Dealer Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles Ayr, the latest additions to the TOM fleet are all 109 CDI models powered by high-torque 1.4-litre engines rated at 90 hp. Customers can choose between Long and Extra-long versions, according to their cargo-carrying requirements.

To enable its customers to benefit from improved fuel efficiency and a lower carbon footprint, TOM chose BlueEFFICIENCY specification for a significant proportion of the new Citans.

The Citan BlueEFFICIENCY offers an economy figure of 65.7 mpg, and CO2 emissions as low as 112 g/km, thanks to features including low rolling-resistance tyres, an optimised battery and alternator management system, and the ECO start/stop function, which automatically cuts the engine when the vehicle is stationary and restarts it as the driver prepares to move off.

TOM Group Operations Director James Rafferty says:

“As a rental operator we want vehicles which are reliable and cost-effective over their whole life. The Citan offers a class-leading warranty which will protect our maintenance position and ensure that we are covered for the working life of the vehicle.

“Equally important, the Citan is also extremely fuel-efficient, which makes it a highly attractive proposition for customers – these new vans are already proving very popular, with many having been snapped up for long-term contracts by established customers.”

TOM was founded in Airdrie some 20 years ago, and still has headquarters in the town. The firm only hires vehicles to business users and now has a fleet of more than 6,000 vehicles, the vast majority of them vans.

A market leader in Scotland, TOM last year opened a depot in Trafford Park, Manchester, and continues to march southwards, recently picking up business as far away as London.

The Mercedes-Benz Citan is the manufacturer’s first small van and has a volume carrying capacity of up to 3.8 m³, with a maximum payload potential of 735 kg. Citan panel vans are also available in Compact length, while the Citan Traveliner is based on the Long wheelbase and has a folding rear bench seat, allowing it to carry the driver and up to four passengers. The Citan Dualiner has the same seating configuration but, because it is based on the Extra-long format, also offers a practical cargo space.

EXCLUSIVE: Save 10% On Questor Van Hire Excess Insurance

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Save 10% on Questor van hire excess insurance — EXCLUSIVE to vanrental.co.uk

We’ve teamed up with the good people at Questor to offer you an exclusive 10% discount code for Questor insurance.

Van hire excess insurance provides cover for the excess on your van rental insurance policy, protecting you from a big payout in the case of any accidental damage.

Here are the details:

Valid from: 16th June 2014

Expires: 31st October 2014

CODE: SYY2075

get-a-quote-now

 

 

 

Visit the Questor website for more information on excess insurance.