Community operator replaces owned minibuses with long-term rentals


Community transport operator East Surrey Rural Transport Partnership (ESRTP) has replaced 34 of its fleet of fully-owned minibuses with long-term rental vehicles from Enterprise Flex-E-Ren vehicles.

ESRTP is a charitable company based in Oxted, Surrey. It operates minibuses throughout the east of Surrey, providing contracted day centre, school and rural bus services to Surrey County Council and the local community.

It was established in the spring of 2006 and now has 48 minibuses and around 70 drivers, escorts, mechanics and office staff. Historically, ESRTP bought one new high quality custom-built accessible minibus per year and also bought second-hand vehicles at short notice to take on new contract work. It also had to operate two garages with four full-time mechanics to keep the fleet on the road.

It has now switched to sourcing vehicles on long-term rental through Enterprise Flex-E-Rent, and this has resulted in significant savings. The vehicles include 16 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter accessible 16-passenger minibuses, five 16-passenger-seat accessible Peugeot Boxers and 13 13-passenger non-accessible Ford Transits.

Surrey County Council is working with ESRTP and Enterprise Flex-E-Rent services for community transport and also employing car club vehicles from Enterprise Car Club throughout the county.

Marcus Dodé, chief executive of East Surrey Rural Transport Partnership, commented: “Although the 2016/17 winter wasn’t severe by any means, we struggled to maintain a fully-operational fleet that was available to people every day. Often, it was ancillary equipment such as power doors, steps and passenger lifts that kept vehicles off the road.

“Our management team and trustees of the charity realised that a fundamental change was needed. We chose Enterprise because of its in-depth experience in community and accessible transport. Enterprise also maintains the ancillary equipment and provides replacement minibuses when our fleet is being serviced or repaired.

“We no longer have the annual cost of employing mechanics, garage book-keepers, parts and consumables, vehicle excise duty and rent on two premises. A lot of the cost and hassle of managing a fleet has been removed and the new minibuses have been very well received by our drivers, too.”

Mark Howell, sales director at Enterprise Flex-E-Rent, added: “Community transport is a highly specialist area that costs local councils and providers millions of pounds a year.

“They often need to be built to very precise specifications, and reliable service and maintenance are essential to ensure they are on the road at all times – as well as a replacement service when vehicles need to be taken away for repair.

“This is a wonderful example of how long-term rental can help organisations source exactly the vehicles they want, backed up by maintenance, repair and a replacement service.”

Stuart Masson
Stuart Massonhttps://www.thecarexpert.co.uk
Stuart founded sister site The Car Expert in 2011. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for the car industry for over thirty years. He now provides overall direction for our four automotive titles.

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