Liquid Telecom Kenya cut its diesel usage by almost a third last year with the roll out of a car pooling scheme for staff that has saved on new vehicles and cut the company’s diesel bill to Sh9.3m in the second half of 2016, compared with Sh13m for the same period a year earlier.
The transport savings came even as the company’s staff, operation, and business expanded.
The carpooling scheme launched by Liquid Telecom Kenya in July 2016 means that sales, technical, and management staff book their work journeys in a new online system, which then groups staff into 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.
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists Nairobi 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.
According to research in Colorado, every 100 people who shift to carpooling saves over 1m kg a year of carbon dioxide emissions.
“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.
Additionally, the company provides home broadband links to 88 employees using WiMax, Gpon, and Metro fiber to allow its employees to work from home. The staff home broadband links, with a capacity of between 2Mbps and 100Mbps, give employees access to the company servers for reports, and to the company VPN system for the accounts team.
Technical personnel are also to access the company’s systems on the home broadband links, which is especially important after-hours when they are dealing with emergency calls, or tracking down issues that need to be sorted out immediately, but do not require their physical presence.