Mobility Budget - Alternatives to Company Cars
In Belgium company cars are fiscally deductible, making the country a fertile breeding ground for company vehicles. For employers, company cars are a handy way of giving the employees an extra form of payment and simultaneously solving their mobility problems. Of course the employees use their company car. Why would they bother looking for alternatives? This is just one reason why 68% of the Belgian employees use a company car for commuting. In addition, a Danish study calculated that the Belgian Government spends 1.2% of their GDP (about 4.1 billion euro) on a favourable taxation environment for company cars.
However, a growing amount of people are questioning company cars. Because of the increasing number of environment and mobility problems, some people are now suggesting to use sustainable alternatives instead. Preferably an employer should have a multimodal mobility budget, allowing him/her to spend it on a vast range of transport means. Last year, the Flemish Social Environment Association (Bond Beter Leefmilieu) and Mobiel 21 (in cooperation with other Flemish sustainable mobility organisations Traject, Arbeid & Milieu and the stakeholders) elaborated further on this idea. They did some research to find out if people are open to this new concept and how these alternatives would influence the mobility budget in Belgium. The link on the left-hand side of this page will lead you to the final report.
Mobility Budget: What and How?
The study concluded that a multimodal mobility budget should be an easy administrative instrument. For this reason, there should be a good, useful product to support the system (post-paid, like a mobility card or pre-paid, like a mobility cheque).
Moreover, one should try to avoid extra costs when implementing the new system. This holds true for both the employer (extra wage costs) and the employee (wage losses). The study also emphasised that preferably, employers should give all their employees the chance of using the new budget. The latter should have the opportunity of using the budget flexibly; using different forms of transport mainly for commuting and other business related traffic.
Finally, it would not be a good idea to make the system obligatory. On the one hand, employers want the liberty to choose the system they think is best. On the other hand, trade unions defend the employees' right to choose and even quit the system if they wish.
Implementing a Mobility Budget
Belgacom, GDF Suez and CT are already using the system. Will you be next?