Liquid Telecom Kenya has saved one-third of its 2016 fuel costs after it introduced a carpooling scheme for staff in sales, technical, and management teams, which saw it spent Ksh 9.3m in the second half of 2016, compared with Ksh 13m for the same period a year earlier.
The carpooling scheme launched by Liquid Telecom Kenya in July 2016 is an internal system allows the firms’ employees to use vehicles traveling to the same area, so that they share vehicles, instead of each using a separate car or van.
“Carpooling is a key element in achieving a sustainable business, and in cutting congestion and air pollution,” said Mr Ben Roberts, CEO of Liquid Telecom Kenya. “More individuals using the same route to work and companies taking up carpooling makes for a win-win and effective initiative in achieving a greener, healthier world.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) lists Nairobi as among the global cities with rising air pollution levels, in a scourge that it estimates is causing more than a million deaths a year, worldwide. In this, car exhaust fumes contribute to 40 per cent of the particulate matter urban air pollution, according to a UN report- ‘Actions on Air Quality’.
Excess traffic is also causing human and wildlife fatalities in road accidents, and economic losses from road congestion. A 2016 report by the World Bank estimates that Value of Time (VOT) lost to travel in Nairobi due to the massive traffic gridlocks costs about Sh80-Sh400 million per workday.
In sum, Nairobi residents lose Sh5bn a year on the costs of traffic congestion, according to a study by Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Against this backdrop, carpooling has been shown to reduce transport costs for companies, road congestion, travel costs for private users, and air pollution, with each 1600cc litre car on the road generating 200 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.
“Taking a few cars off the road may not have an immediate impact on traffic congestion, but as more companies and individuals take up carpooling, overall traffic congestion will decrease, and real savings can be made,” said Roberts.
An analysis from sustainability consultancy Carbon Trust suggested that working from home has the potential to save companies $5bn and 3m tonnes of carbon emissions a year through reduced commuting.
Liquid Telecom Kenya has also rolled out a new fleet management system that has meant it has been able to expand its business without adding more vehicles. The company runs a fleet of 63 vehicles of its own, as well as 21 hired vehicles. The firm also allows its employees to work from home.
“Having introduced products like Hai, there would have been a need for more vehicles to cater for the technicians, sales representatives and engineers. But if we had purchased three additional vehicles our fuel cost would have increased by around Sh60,000 per month,” said Erick Nyonjala, Liquid Telecom Kenya Fleet manager.
The company is also replacing its 2000cc vehicles with new high performance vvTi vehicles with 1500cc engines, low fuel consumption, and low emissions to be assigned to departments, rather than individuals, as part of the carpooling set-up.
Liquid Telecom Kenya has also invested in a telematics system that monitors vehicle mileage and enables scheduling of timely services and maintenance, further reducing environmental pollution through emissions.