Potholes and congestion are biggest ‘bugbears’ for fleet operators
Damage to vehicles due to potholes and sitting in congested traffic are the top ‘bugbears’ for companies that run fleets, according to new research by RAC Business.
In the research, carried out among 500 UK firms, nearly half (46%) of those interviewed cited pothole damage as their biggest issue, while 43% said congestion on their local network posed a challenge to their company.
19% cited poor reliability of company vehicles as a concern, with 17% naming restrictions caused by congestion charges and low emission zones.
In April, the Government announced it will provide £50m during this financial year to enable more than 100 councils across England to repair 943,000 potholes. The money is part of the £250m ‘Pothole Action Fund’ which, the Government says, will be used to repair more than four million potholes by 2020/21.
However, the results of an Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) survey published in March suggest the ‘one-time cost’ to get roads in England and Wales back into ‘reasonable condition’ is now £11.8bn.
The AIA estimated that 13% of England’s road network (excluding London) is in poor structural condition, while the length of time it would take to clear the carriageway maintenance backlog is 14 years.
In January, the RAC revealed it was called out to 25,487 pothole-related breakdowns in 2015, a rise of 24% year-on-year.
Jenny Powley, sales director for corporate business at RAC Business, said: “Potholes can be a real headache, not just for drivers, but for the business owners that have to foot the bill for the repairs. The time spent off the road due to damage caused by potholes can amount to hundreds of pounds a day in lost productivity.
“It’s concerning to see the number of pothole-related breakdowns rising at a time when the Government has committed to investing in maintenance and improving road infrastructure.
“Despite the fact that local authorities increased their spending in 2015 to try to catch up with some of the road maintenance and repair backlog, this data suggests that there is still some way to go.”