In the face of rising fuel prices and future energy cost inflation, sustainable mobility presents itself as a viable alternative – in addition to being good for the planet. For Forbes France, Betterway CEO Denis Saadeh demonstrates how his startup facilitates HR mobility management and encourages versatility.
In what context was Betterway born?
In 2019, we identified a regulatory opportunity with the adoption of the Sustainable Mobility Act and in particular the introduction of the cleaner mobility tax credit. The latter increased from €400 to €800 per employee each year.
This law is part of the continuity of a deeper evolution of mobility: we have moved from a binary model that favors the car and public transport to a multimodal model with greater use of bicycles or even scooters.
Faced with the context of increasing mobility, companies need to find a solution to adapt. Mobility has become a complex topic to manage and that’s why we created Betterway: to satisfy employees in terms of mobility and to simplify the work of HR. To do this, we have prepared a card that allows you to pay for transportation with more than 8,000 partners in France.
We are establishing more and more strategic partnerships with large companies and distributors, in a sign that the market is developing. For example, we signed a strategic agreement with Edenred, the leader in employee benefits, which gives us local and even international reach. Another agreement was also in place with the SNCF, which has enabled Betterway cardholders since mid-September to pay for business trips (trips from home to work, short and long train trips, and subscriptions) from the site and app. . SNCF Connect.
What does the introduction of a sustainable mobility package change in the company?
This sustainable mobility package is born out of the pressure exerted by cities on public authorities and also by employees towards their company. In response to the critical volume of alternative mobility users, companies started to take a real interest in it after the health crisis.
Previously, the company basically offered either a company car or a public transportation subscription fee once the receipt was presented. But now mobility is a more important topic, which is developing at the same pace as all topics related to corporate social responsibility. As a reminder, the transport sector is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions in France, with nearly 30% of all emissions.
Beyond the environmental issue, it is also about quality of life at work and adapting to new expectations of employees in terms of flexibility – particularly in relation to where they work. According to our usage statistics, we have found that more than a third of employees use multiple means of transportation.
If we free up all uses and the means of financing them, an increasing number of employees will logically be interested in multimedia. It’s a powerful promise that encourages the single-car withdrawal.
Should there be an end to the use of private cars to get to work?
I am convinced that the priority remains to reduce the use of thermal cars and not only the bike will solve the problem but all means of transportation. They will become a reliable alternative in the eyes of the citizens if their cohesion is guaranteed. The Sustainable Mobility Pack is very innovative in this sense because it allows you to put all the devices in the same basket.
The company car also occupies a very important place in companies; This concerns millions of employees in France. But this paradigm will end with the development of corporate mobility.
There are many reasons why employees are gradually abandoning the company car. I was really out of environmental awareness but also out of fear of traffic jams. At Betterway, we offer a mobility credit that also makes it possible to reward virtuous behavior: tangible, instead of a company car, a pocket of money used to finance other modes of commuting.
The rapid proliferation of small means of mobility in the city has also provoked strong reactions … I am thinking in particular of the arrival of electric scooters in Paris just before the outbreak of the health crisis.
In any case, it pollutes less than an electric car – due to its much lower overall weight. And they’ll also let us out of nearly a century’s worth of cars. It is not an easy task because cities, ecosystems and all industries have formed around it.
I think banning electric scooters is not a good move. We just need to work better on our cooperation with suppliers so that the solutions become relevant. This is what the mayor of Paris is thinking at the moment.
Since then, electric scooter suppliers have made efforts: they have created designated parking areas as well as low-speed areas. Efforts have also focused on improving recyclability.
Today, one out of two trips in Ile-de-France is made by car even though we have quite a number of possible commuting networks. In order for a citizen to do without a car, he must be reassured by a cohesive multimedia.
Will access to these alternative forms of mobility only concern city dwellers in large cities?
This big trend towards alternative commuting is not only relevant to Paris, it is also present in many French cities and medium-sized towns. Traffic is beginning to spread outside the big cities and operators are developing more and more in peripheral or suburban areas.
For example, Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines has deployed several modes of transportation to ensure the last kilometer journey. In other words, allow residents to easily commute from their home to the train that takes them to central Paris to go to work. Since May 7, a fleet of self-service electric scooters has been deployed for this purpose.
In the same way, we have also contributed to the creation of a car-sharing system for the workers who go to work in the industrial area of Strasbourg every day.
Our role is to find one or more solutions that fit needs while unlocking uses that didn’t exist before. And the incentive is clearly working: 30 to 50% of employees who take advantage of the package have adopted multimedia!