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New Alphabet product tackles the mobility issue

Lease car, company bike, train or taxi? From now on, with the AlphaFlex plan employees decide for themselves on their favourite means of transport. To put it another way, it’s customised mobility. Product Manager Katelijne De Weerdt explains everything in minute detail.

Could it be argued that AlphaFlex is an answer to our changing mobility needs?

‘Definitely. After all, the car isn’t always the ideal mode of transport. If you need to get to the city centre, the train is the best alternative. Or perhaps a combination is in fact the best: take the car to the station, and from there take the train into the city, and after that cycle to work on a folding bike. AlphaFlex’s freedom of choice is its strength. The principle is simple: an employer makes a budget available to its employees that can be distributed across three options- a car, a company bike and/or the Alphabet Mobility Card for mobility expenses. As an employer, you decide what your employee can spend his or her personal budget on, but within that personal budget the employee decides. In that way, each party has the maximum amount of freedom of choice.’

A leasing company that makes bicycles available and even promotes cycling and public transport... That does sound a little bizarre, doesn’t it?

‘Not at all. Mobility is our core business, and by using innovation we want to contribute to solving the mobility issue. Of course the car plays an important role in this, but we recognise that traffic congestion is gradually becoming untenable. It’s from this perspective that we look at mobility through a different lens. AlphaFlex is an answer to a specific market demand. Employers don’t benefit from traffic jams - quite the contrary - so you need to provide other modes of transport in addition to a company car.’

Let’s discuss the company bicycle first. To be honest, it’s an unexpected option.

‘Alphabet has been offering company bikes for years now. Initially our range was limited, but today cycling fans have a wide selection: city bikes, folding bikes, electric bikes, racing bikes, etc. Just name it, it can all be found in our selection. The concept is simple: you provide your employee with a bicycle budget and the employee opts for the bicycle that suits him or her best. There is no need for a huge budget with regard to company bikes, meaning part-time employees are also eligible. In this way you are capable of providing all your employees with a method of transport.’

Flat tyres or broken bicycle chains: every seasoned cyclist is aware that this unfortunately happens from time to time. Does something like bicycle assistance also exist?

‘Each bicycle includes a maintenance contract so that your two-wheeler remains in perfect condition. And should something still go wrong, then you can rely on a breakdown service that will provide you with assistance as fast as possible. It’s not something to be underestimated, if you keep in mind that a steadily increasing number of people are opting for an e-bike. The fact of the matter is that electric bicycles are more difficult to repair on your own. Furthermore, your bicycle budget also allows you a range of options, such as a bicycle helmet, panniers, etc. It’s exactly the same as with a company car. Likewise, the contract runs for a period of four years.’

In addition to a bicycle budget, the employee may also be given a mobility card to pay for mobility-related costs. How does that work exactly?

‘The employee receives a prepaid credit card that is linked to a fixed sum, for example 150 euros per month. He or she may spend this amount on mobility: to pay for a parking pass, to visit the car wash, or to purchase tickets for public transport. The card can also be used for bicycle sharing, taxis, refuelling and toll charges. The biggest advantage is the tremendous freedom of choice. After all, it’s you, the employee, who decides what your money is spent on, even if is only our diverse network of partners, spread across the whole of Belgium, that you are able to make use of. Suppose that the budget isn’t fully spent, then the remainder may then alternatively be paid as part of the gross salary.’

A lease car can also be included in AlphaFlex. Could you provide a brief description of the Alphabet range of vehicles?

‘To start with, you can choose from between conventional cars and hybrid or electric vehicles. In addition, your employee can also cede a portion of his or her salary in exchange for a car. This is called motivational leasing, a budget-neutral solution allowing you to profile yourself as an attractive employer. It doesn’t end there though. There is still Add-on Mobility to consider. From time to time your drivers will need another vehicle, such as a van to move house or an estate car for travel. For this purpose you can allocate a budget to them, which they are then permitted to spend at their own discretion.’

We still also need to briefly address money. Lease cars, company bicycles and mobility cards all happen to be taxed differently. How is taxation arranged in this respect?

‘With regard to taxes, a lease car remains the simplest, given that a company car is taxed at a flat rate. Whether or not the car is used frequently or infrequently, the benefit in kind is already established in advance. For other AlphaFlex components the situation is different. For instance, the bicycle is tax exempt as soon as it involves occasional use for a commute. In this case, you then do not owe any taxes. The same principle applies to the mobility card: here too the emphasis has to be on professional use. My advice? Consult your AlphaFlex payroll advisor. This will result in your employees benefiting the most from the budget.’

Freedom of choice is nice, but isn’t the system unnecessarily complicated with all those options?

‘Not at all. In the past two years we’ve put considerable effort into AlphaFlex, and the end result is a user-friendly platform, on the part of both employer and employee. Using an online tool, employees are able to combine options and opt for those that suit them the best. Administration on the part of the employer also remains well within bounds. Incidentally, we provide support from start-up to implementation and also offer additional advice once AlphaFlex has been launched.’

AlphaFlex in a nutshell

  • A fixed mobility budget is made available to your employees.
  • This budget can go toward a combination of mobility options:
    • a lease car,
    • a company bicycle and
    • a card for mobility expenses.
  • You personally decide which options you make available - combining them is an option.
  • A partner/point of contact for all mobility.
    • Alphabet handles every aspect of the administration, meaning that your lease company is the sole point of contact.
    • With AlphaFlex, the collection of receipts is a thing of the past.
  • A mobility policy for all employees.
  • You manage your mobility transparently, and as a result of convenient reporting tools you retain an overview any given time.
  • Achieving your sustainability goals becomes a cakewalk: your employee decides what the most efficient means of transport is for each trip.
  • You employees are satisfied thanks to optimal freedom of choice, and greater freedom of choice creates a more attractive working environment.
  • You receive support from start to implementation.

Interested? Click here for more information and to request a price quotation.

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