According to the Global Business Travel Association, total U.S. business travel spend is expected to increase 3.7% in 2016. With business travel on the rise, corporate travel arrangers and employees are urged to be mindful of their expenses. However, in an attempt to save their companies a few dollars, many employees are using taxis and rideshare services, such as Uber and Lyft, for business travel.
These providers seem like viable options to road warriors, but are they the safest? As duty of care—a corporation’s legal responsibility to protect its employees that are traveling—has become a critical component to reducing corporate risk, travel arrangers should be mindful of the transportation providers their employees use.
Here are five of the most important things to consider when evaluating ground transportation providers that will help keep your travelers safe.
1. Vehicle Age and Upkeep
According to the S. Department of Transportation, the chances of sustaining a fatal injury from a car accident rise as the car ages, which make safety checks imperative. Look for ground transportation companies that regularly inspect their fleets for safety, cleanliness and overall quality. For comparison, the popular rideshare program Uber “requires vehicles to be 2006 or newer,” while GroundLink commits to maintaining a first-class fleet of vehicles that are five years old or less.
2. Driver Screening & Background Checks
Just as important as the car your travelers are in is the driver they are with. When it comes to screening drivers, ground transportation companies should have an extensive process that ensures only qualified individuals are put behind the wheel. Thorough background checks, proper licensing and impeccable driving records are all must-haves when choosing chauffeurs. GroundLink takes these requirements a step further and mandates that all drivers have at least two years of commercial driving experience. Additionally, GroundLink mandates that drivers sign a confidentiality pledge to ensure that our passenger’s personal information is not made public.
Since Uber and Lyft established themselves as technology platforms as opposed to transportation services, regulations for chauffeurs and taxi drivers are not applicable to rideshare cars. In fact, Uber’s Terms & Conditions as of January 2016 clearly state:
“YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THIRD PARTY TRANSPORTATION PROVIDERS PROVIDING TRANSPORTATION SERVICES REQUESTED THROUGH SOME REQUEST BRANDS MAY OFFER RIDESHARING OR PEER-TO-PEER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES AND MAY NOT BE PROFESSIONALLY LICENSED OR PERMITTED.”
3. Insurance & Liability Coverage
In the event of an accident, who will be financially obligated for any sustained injuries or damages? Although rideshare vendors Uber and Lyft require drivers to have personal auto insurance, this doesn’t necessarily mean the driver has adequate commercial coverage.
An excerpt from Uber’s Terms & Conditions as of January 2016 clearly spells out that the company assumes no liability for using its services:
“UBER SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING LOST PROFITS, LOST DATA, PERSONAL INJURY, OR PROPERTY DAMAGE RELATED TO, IN CONNECTION WITH, OR OTHERWISE RESULTING FROM ANY USE OF THE SERVICES, EVEN IF UBER HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.”
Lyft, the other popular ridesharing application, contains similar provisions in its legal agreements.
While a $1 million policy is a good starting point, GroundLink’s maintains a $6 million minimum coverage.
4. Use of Technology
According to Acendas, one of the largest travel management providers, use of traveler locator tools is a key component of today’s corporate duty of care policies. GroundLink offers travel arrangers the ability to track the vehicles their travelers are in in real-time using its web-based Corporate Account Center. For added security, automated text messages are sent to passengers with an embedded link to their drivers’ picture, name, car model and a real-time updated map of their vehicle’s location.
5. Consistent Standards
When your travelers use transportation providers abroad that you have not vetted, you’re faced with similar safety issues. This can be avoided by partnering with a U.S. company with international affiliates that adhere to consistent safety standards. With GroundLink’s ON TIME EVERY TIME ® car service available in most cities across the U.S., as well as popular international business hubs including London, Paris, Rome, and Toronto, corporate travelers enjoy safe, first-class service in the U.S. and in 110 countries when traveling abroad.
Every time your road warriors leave on business trips there is a chance they could be hurt or injured. This unfortunate reality has forced companies to reduce corporate risk by adopting duty of care policies, more closely evaluating the travel providers’ employees use and carefully choosing car service providers that have consistent, high safety standards.
To learn more about protecting your travelers and GroundLink’s duty of care standards, download our whitepaper, Protecting Your Travelers: Duty of Care for Ground Transportation.
Tags: business travel, duty of care, groundlink duty of care, travel risk, travel risk manangement, traveler safety