The first and last miles of a business trip are often the least efficient. Legacy ground transportation’s outdated business practices thwart workers’ productivity on the road.
The problems of business travelers’ productivity are well known in airports and in the sky. To help, airlines and airports are offering more amenities where possible, like business lounges, open spaces, charging stations and free Wi-Fi, but productivity is just as limited when moving between airports, hotels and meeting locations.
The experience lacks customer service and convenience
Traditional ground transportation is fraught with frustration. Travelers know the experience of waiting in interminable airport, hotel and convention center taxi lines, or hoping to hail a cab on in a foreign city. These scenarios expose travelers to unfavorable weather conditions and lack the privacy and discretion people need to make phone calls.
Taxis are also famous for rejecting credit cards and demanding cash. Not only does this complicate the payment transaction for customers, but it also adds to employees’ expense report times.
Legacy limousine companies, on the other hand, have made it difficult for passengers to contact drivers. Instead, they often use a chain where travelers call a third-party booking service or the limo company – hoping that someone is still there – and then customer service calls the driver.
Hodgepodge policies inconvenience travelers
Beyond the ride itself, ground transportation providers waste time for business travelers before and after rides.
Scheduling a legacy limousine ride often means phone calls or using a clunky website. Many lack dedicated apps, and some require passengers to schedule rides before receiving the price. Cancellation can also require a phone call, up to 24 hours in advance.
Some taxi companies, on the other hand, allow passengers to schedule rides in advance, while others tell customers to call back an hour, half hour or 10 minutes before they need a pickup – and the time could vary depending on the day or the dispatcher.
After the fact, invoices are inconsistent in the industry. Limousine companies often add surcharges, ranging from pick-up fees, airport fees, parking costs, and vague terms like “administration costs” and a “surface transportation charge.” These confuse and frustrate customers, and complicate the expense reimbursement process.
In all, travelers are forced to remember a variety of policies based on the city, country and ground transportation provider. Then, they must properly fill out expense forms after the fact, hoping they do not overlook the tip or range of fees from the provider.
What is next for ground transportation providers
The ground transportation industry must do more to increase travelers’ productivity. As a start, providers can make payment easier by accepting cards and clearly showing all-inclusive, transparent prices. In addition, they can make it easier for customers to directly contact the drivers.
Both of those changes would save time and eliminate two significant areas of stress.
What about you? How can ground transportation companies make the first and last miles of trips more productive? Share your opinions in the comment section.
Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.