Home News New alternative for commuting. The ‘Office on Wheels’ that turns travel time into work time.
Officeonwheels

June 06, 2017

New alternative for commuting. The ‘Office on Wheels’ that turns travel time into work time.

Convert your commute time into work time? It is now possible with Office on Wheels, a service that allows office workers to complete their commute in a bus set up as an office. Initiators BAAV and the Smart Mobility Expertise Center, of Antwerp Management School, have examined the concept, tested it in practice, and have concluded that it is a viable business model. The roll-out of this new service has now started, with two companies already using it.

The Office Bus is a vehicle in which office workers have an individual workplace, safe and fast internet, USB connections and power outlets. As soon as employees enter the bus, they can start their business day. The return commute back home is another possible usage. This concept allows passengers to leave for work later in the morning and/or return home earlier in the evening.

Win-win-win

With this new service, BAAV and the Smart Mobility Expertise Center (previously Flemish Institute for Mobility) seek to offer solutions to companies whose staff members are faced with an excessively long commute time due to inadequate public transport and/or traffic congestion.

Because travel time is converted into working time, participating employees can enjoy a better work-private balance and a higher level of job satisfaction, which is a big advantage for employers struggling to find and maintain good staff members. Further benefits for the employer include reducing the number of employee parking spaces, as well as cost savings on fuel and commercial vehicles.

In addition to the employee and the employer, a third beneficiary comes into play, namely the bus sector, which seeks to exploit a new market with Office on Wheels.

A profitable business model

Nicole Van Doninck, Manager of Smart Mobility: “To test the feasibility of the Office Bus, a 6-month pilot project was carried out on the Gentbrugge-Halle residential route, with the participation of employees of the Colruyt Group. We then investigated the feasibility of other Flemish and Brussels industrial areas, that experience problems with traffic jams and inadequate public transport services. Based on positive research and test results, we are commencing with a further roll-out of the service.”

There are currently two buses being used for this service. The Colruyt Group will continue using the service for at least two years, and EY will implement an Office Bus on the Leuven-Liège route.

Network of Office Busses

With this initiative, the bus sector is launching a new market. In the first phase, service is usually offered to the client in a customized manner, but the business model is expected to continue to evolve based on demand and the experience that is gained. This applies, for example, to the secondary applications that pose several practical concerns these days. Jan Deman, Project Manager at BAAV: “When several bus companies work together, a network of Office Buses can be built to make the service more flexible and attractive. Investment in a booking platform also opens up a lot of possibilities and greater ease of use. It is a necessary development to launch a user-oriented business model.”

Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister of Labor, Economy, Innovation and Sports: “Cooperation is one of the key keys to innovation for me. The Office Bus illustrates this well: companies, knowledge institutions and government joining hands and offer solutions to specific social problems. A profitable project that equals fewer cars in traffic, commuting time that can be spent as a working time, and therefore, more free time and happier employees. That seems to be a profit on all fronts.”

A zero-emission bus is currently too expensive to be used at this point, which would serve to reduce CO2 emissions even more.

Road Show

In June, Office on Wheels is carrying out a “road show” to various business parks. An Office Bus will be visiting Mechelen Campus on June 8th and Pegasus Park in Diegem on June 22nd. Additional visits are being planned for Zaventem, Haasrode, Machelen-Vilvoorde, BruCargo and Antwerp.

Office on Wheels is made possible by financial support from the Agency for Innovation and Entrepeneurship(Agentschap Innoveren en Ondernemen). Get more information via the attached whitepaper en via officeonwheels.be.

Partners

Autocars Polder, BAAV, Coach Partners, De Hauwere NV, GEO Bustours, Gino Tours, ICON, The Shift, Mandel Car, Parmentier Autobus, PraktijkCoach, Proximus, Reizen Muylaert NV, Staf Cars, Transibus, VDL bus Roeselare, expertisecentrum Smart Mobility, Voka Kamer van Koophandel Vlaams-Brabant.

Audio-visual material

For photo and video material click here.

About BAAV and Smart Mobility

BAAV (Professional Federation of Bus and Automobile Companies) is a Flanders-based organization and one of the initiators of this project.Website: www.baav.be
Smart Mobility
is an Expertise Center of AMS (Antwerp Management School) that works on sustainable mobility solutions for the transport of persons and goods in Flanders. Innovation and efficiency are central to this mission. For more information: www.smart-mobility.be.

Contact
  • Elise Raman, projectmanager Office on Wheels
    T +32 11 24 60 00 / M +32 476 50 62 03 / E elise.raman@baav.be
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