Choosing a Car Service Provider

How to vet ground transit firms for service and safety

• A company's duty of care responsibilities should include its travelers' transportation to and from airports.

• Seek suppliers that meet all local licensing and insurance requirements.

• Evaluate a provider's technology capabilities. Ask whether cars can be tracked and drivers contacted at any point in time.

• Discuss procedures for traveler safety and security.

In selecting preferred hotels, implementing travel booking procedures and other key areas, corporate travel managers take precautions to ensure high levels of service, efficiency and safety for their travelers.

However, one area of travel that often is overlooked when it comes to duty of care is the establishment of policies and procedures related to ground transportation. In a recent study by Concur, ground transportation was the fifth-highest T&E category spend, superseding that of car rental. To control spend as well as the travelers' experience, companies should develop policies and select providers for car service.

Following are five points to consider when evaluating ground transportation companies and establishing duty of care and risk management objectives for the ground transportation space.

Screened Drivers
Look for a ground transportation provider that fully screens its drivers, inclusive of performing background checks, drug screening and employment history checks. In addition, providers should be actively training their drivers. Drivers should periodically be evaluated based on their ability to execute on-time pickups, maintain car cleanliness and dress in professional attire.

Quality Vehicles
Fully inspected vehicles that are well maintained are imperative when it comes to reducing risk.  Providers that regularly inspect their vehicles clearly demonstrate that they are committed to travel safety.   

Licensed and Insured
Each city has different licensing, insurance and regulatory requirements. Ground transportation providers must ensure that their vehicles meet local requirements and standards wherever you travel. From proper insurance to umbrella accident policies, make sure your ground transportation provider is equipped to handle any situation.

Technology Capability
Do you use a provider that allows you to track your employees' rides in real time? Can the provider track all of their drivers' locations at any given time? Are you able to connect with a live customer-service representative via phone, email and live chat 24/7? Does your service provider monitor traffic reports, ride activity and flight status updates to ensure optimum service? Look for a provider that integrates the latest technology with its services and provides multiple forms of tracking capabilities.

Security precautions
Evaluate companies that go above and beyond the call of duty to take care of their customers. If your employees are traveling late at night or very early in the morning, will they receive a message when the car arrives, rather than having to stand outside?

Does the ground transportation provider allow passengers to view the name of their driver, along with a picture and the car number when the car is on the way?

Such safety measures help reduce risk and assist in enforcing a company's duty of care commitment to its employee travelers for the duration of their trips.

 Tim Penna is vice president of operations at GroundLink (, a company that provides car services across the United States and 110 additional countries around the world.