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15
August, 2017

Ontario’s 407 Express Toll Route (ETR) is a crucial route for many fleets. This main highway is a quick east to west route that avoids many of the clogged main roads.

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Ontario’s 407 Express Toll Route (ETR) is a crucial route for many fleets. This main highway is a quick east to west route that avoids many of the clogged main roads.

It’s also the most efficient out of all the 400 series highways.

407 etr highway

Image source: wikimedia

And while the efficiency is a real time-saver for fleets, challenges can arise when it comes to dealing with 407 ETR charges.

Because the highway’s billing process is 100% electronic, it can lead to incorrect charges and possible double billing.

And while fleet managers know that the highway 407 rates are a necessary part of their total cost of ownership, they also know inflated bills slowly chip away at profits.

For ordinary folks, errors are easy to spot. However, fleet managers have many vehicles to track. This makes it hard to take account of every single error without outside help.

On top of that, fleet managers already have a huge array of responsibilities to deal with, from making sure operations run smoothly, to keeping drivers happy, to reducing overall costs.

So if you add dealing with 407 toll billing issues to all of that, the workload becomes almost unmanageable. In addition, fleet managers might not even know how to spot or sort out these incorrect charges.

The challenge is real.

So, for starters, we’ve identified the top three incorrect charges that fleets can incur when using the 407 ETR.

Once you’re familiar with what can go wrong, you may want to enlist the help of a third party service to help you monitor, track, and resolve any potential billing errors.  

TOP 3 ERRORS TO LOOK FOR ON YOUR FLEET'S 407 ETR CHARGES

1. Vehicle Classification Errors

This is a common error with trucks in particular, but can also affect light passenger vehicles. The overhead 407 ETR gantry scans the dimensions of your vehicle as it enters the highway.

It gages the vehicle type, combined with the class of transponder (if one is in the vehicle) to determine the vehicle class: light, heavy single, or heavy multiple.

Unfortunately, this system can end up marking vehicle types wrong, resulting in the wrong per kilometer charge.

For example, a Ford F150 pickup truck should be classified as a "light vehicle". Instead, the system may call it a "heavy single".

2. Camera Charges

A camera charge is billed when there is not a transponder in the vehicle. For a light vehicle, this charge is $4.10 per trip.  For a heavy vehicle, the charge is $50.00 per trip.  

Under the Highway Traffic Act, it is mandatory for heavy vehicles to have a functioning transponder. But from time to time, a vehicle with a transponder can be billed camera charges.

This can occur for a number of reasons:

  • Transponder failure

  • Gantry issue

  • Metalized windshield

  • Transponder not properly mounted

Over time, these 407 ETR charges can add up, being quite costly to fleets. In fact, just six round trips with camera charges cost more than the annual cost to lease a transponder!

3. Double Billing

407 ETR’s system should either read a transponder or capture a picture of the rear license plate. However, it can end up reading both the transponder and the license plate for the same vehicle!

This can occur on all types of vehicles and can be very common with tractor trailers.  

Duplicate billings can be difficult to spot and often times require the assistance of a third party who can easily spot the billing inconsistencies on the fleet’s bills.   

Third Party Help

Though issues with the world's first electronic open-access toll highway are improving, it may take a while before they are completely resolved.

When you have multiple vehicles using the 407, incorrect charges can add up quickly.

Most fleet managers monitor their charges alone and pay the bills without knowing that there are errors.  Monitoring your fleet plates, transponder, drivers, billing errors, and credits is complex and tedious.

A fleet manager’s time should not be bogged down with ETR invoicing.

At Foss National Leasing, we have a specialized department dedicated to resolving 407 ETR charges called Road Toll Services.

This program already helps a large number of fleet managers avoid worrying about incorrect bills so they can get back to what they do best - running their fleets.

Conclusion

Don’t let incorrect charges from the 407 ETR eat away at your company profits.

We recommend keeping a close eye on your ETR invoices and especially look out for vehicle classification errors, camera charges, and double billing.

If managing all of your 407 bills becomes too much to handle, or you are unsure if you are being charged incorrectly, reach out to a third party company like Road Toll Services who can monitor your charges for you.

The savings you will incur will be a real boost to your bottom line.

 

Authored by Caissie Burdeney

 
Road toll bills can be a significant part of your total cost of ownership. Learn proven strategies for taking control of your TCO in our free white paper below. 

FOSS FLEET MANAGEMENT WHITEPAPER

UNDERSTANDING YOUR TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP

Reducing your TCO starts with taking control of expenses. Get actionable strategies to reduce ownership costs, save money, and maximize ROI.

 

 

20
July, 2017

Managing a fleet is a tough job.

For starters, keeping track of each vehicle's plates, tags, and stickers can burn a lot of your valuable time. You can easily spend...

Managing a fleet is a tough job.

For starters, keeping track of each vehicle's plates, tags, and stickers can burn a lot of your valuable time. You can easily spend hours muddling through these details.

Image source: pexels.com

Although it is an unrewarding task, you need to keep your fleet operational and ensure each vehicle is compliant and up-to-date with licensing and insurance requirements.  

This becomes even more challenging for multi-province operators as rules and regulations are different for each region. How can you keep your entire fleet licensed, registered and insured? How do you manage all the deadlines in each jurisdiction?

The thought of doing this manually is mind-boggling.

So the question that begs to be asked is: 

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"What is the best way to successfully manage fleet vehicle licensing and registration?"

VEHICLE FLEET MANAGEMENT BEST PRACTICES: 5 TIPS TO MAKE LICENSING AND REGISTRATION A BREEZE

To start with, if you decide to deal with the licensing and registration yourself, we strongly suggest you become familiar with the rules.

Reading the Canadian Automotive Fleet's (CAF) licensing procedures guide is a good reference and can assist in answering some of the general process and requirements within every province.

After you read CAF’s guide and understand the licensing requirements for your fleet, you’re on your way to streamlining your procedures. The following five tips will help you be better organized and much more efficient in the process.

1.Have access to a detailed database

We recommend you create a very detailed database, or rely on a fleet management company who already has this database in place. The database should host at the very least the:

  • information of each plate

  • plate expiry

  • driver name attached to the vehicle

  • vehicle weight  

Having all of this information in one place will be essential in ensuring you can keep track of the licensing requirements and important dates for each vehicle.

In addition, each province will have their regulations regarding licensing and registration, so you should familiarize yourself with the different laws in the jurisdictions your fleet is operating.

A benefit of working with a fleet management company is that we possess provincially audited databases that host critical registration information. This information accurately reflects each driver's plate and expiry, in addition to insurance requirements for each province.

2. Authorize a Power of Attorney

It’s crucial to have the correct documentation to authorize a Power of Attorney or a fleet management company to manage vehicle registration on your behalf.

This often includes even the ability to ask questions at a licensing body, as provincial government authorities may not answer them unless the person asking is authorized to do so.

Make sure this is proactively in place. If it isn’t, you might have to go back and forth to ensure you have the correct documentation before your vehicle renewal can be dealt with.

Foss National Leasing does over 90% of the registration process for our clients and has the power of attorney to manage leased, managed and owned vehicles on their behalf.

3. Be proactive in your renewal management

Unfortunately, many companies can leave licensing and registration to the last minute. Plate expirations on company fleets can catch many fleet managers off guard if they haven’t been proactive in their renewal management.

And once the renewal process has been completed with the licensing offices, you then have to turn around and get those documents back out to drivers before the expiry date.

It can be a truly overwhelming process.

If you choose to work with a fleet management company, a good one will start this process 90 days in advance of the due date, by scrubbing all data files that are in the fleet’s database. This means fleet managers are not backing themselves into a corner at the last minute to get it all done.

In addition, if you have heavy duty trucks in your fleet, you’ll need take extra proactive steps every year before you can renew your registration.

You’ll need to make sure the trucks are correctly registered for the additional weight requirements, and that they pass the routine safety inspections, in addition to providing accurate mandatory reporting logs dependent on the province(s) where they operate.

A fleet that meets safety requirements means there's one less barrier to getting the license renewed.

When looking at proactive renewal management, it’s also important to know that unpaid bills slow down or halt the licensing process. If you have toll fees, tickets, or violations, pay off everything as soon as possible.

If you don’t you will be prevented from renewing your vehicles’ registration - and risk taking your employee off the road. The cost of a lost opportunity can be significant.

4. Use consolidated billing

As you probably already know, each company or branch has a unique billing structure. It can be a major challenge for fleet managers to figure out expense reporting internally, and how to allocate the right expense to the right division.

A fleet management company can provide consolidated billing assigned to your dedicated cost center structure.

In the fleet’s database, the structure is set up to allocate each vehicle to the correct cost center and level structures, so fleet managers are spared the headache of figuring out which division each vehicle belongs to.

5. Expertise, professional relationships, and compliance adherence

As with virtually every area of life, strong relationships are essential to success when it comes to renewing your vehicles.

And building relationships with the people at your licensing office will go a long way toward keeping your fleet operational and on the road.

For example, when you are licensing vehicles, depending on what type of vehicle you are driving, you could end up registering it under the wrong class. Some trucks sit under a passenger class. However, at a certain weight, they get into a commercial plate license.

It can be a challenge for fleet managers to fill out the paperwork correctly, so having good relationships with licensing bodies can help prevent and resolve these issues. Alternatively, a  good fleet management company will have dedicated agent professional partnerships across Canada at various licensing offices.  

In addition, a significant money-saver is getting to know the discounts that are available for fleets in each province.

For example, in British Columbia, you can save on insurance if you insure at least five commercial vehicles under the Fleetplan program.

However, it’s important to note that, for some fleets, this can add a significant surcharge and may not be beneficial depending on your driver's accident history.  

If this is the case, then it's best to not apply for the Fleetplan discount until your driver's accident history improves.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba cover a portion of insurance for fleets, but will still require you to carry a master insurance coverage certificate to ensure you meet the clauses required for insurance in the Master Lease agreement.

Conclusion

Managing your fleet vehicles’ licensing and renewal process is a downright complicated affair.

Because of this, many businesses opt to hire the extra hands of a fleet management company, which can take the guesswork and headaches out of the process.

So take advantage of these five best practices to have a smooth, stress-free licensing process this year!

 

Authored by: Darlene Spriel

 

Vehicle licensing fees are an important part of your fleet's total cost of ownership. Get a deeper understanding of your TCO as a whole, and learn how to reduce costs with out free white paper below. 


FOSS FLEET MANAGEMENT WHITEPAPER

UNDERSTANDING YOUR TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP

Reducing your TCO starts with taking control of expenses. Get actionable strategies to reduce ownership costs, save money, and maximize ROI.

 

 

28
June, 2017

Any oil and gas fleet management professional will tell you, light truck fleet maintenance is a different ballgame when you are out on oil rigs in remote areas.

...

Any oil and gas fleet management professional will tell you, light truck fleet maintenance is a different ballgame when you are out on oil rigs in remote areas.

Light truck fleet maintenance on Alberta oil rigs

Image source: pixabay.com

If you operate a fleet of vehicles under these conditions, working with a fleet management company can help you streamline your maintenance tasks. As a result, you’ll save money, and your vehicles will stay out in the field, doing their job more effectively.

We interviewed our client Troy Mattie, Supply Chain Manager at Savanna Energy in Calgary, Alberta, to uncover some common issues that oil and gas fleet managers face.

He also shared insights on how working with a fleet management company has helped Savanna Energy resolve challenging fleet management issues. In the end, the company is able to keep their talented people in the field delivering their services.

INTERVIEW WITH TROY MATTIE: EFFECTIVE LIGHT TRUCK FLEET MAINTENANCE FOR THE OIL & GAS INDUSTRY

What are some issues specific to light truck fleet maintenance in the oil and gas energy sector?

Some of the biggest issues we face are the conditions the vehicles are driven in. The terrain on lease roads is rougher and is mainly made up of dirt roads. These conditions are not your typical highway driving, so as a result, the vehicles end up with atypical wear and tear.

This, in turn, requires atypical maintenance.

Start saving time and money on your vehicle fleet maintenance with the help of this free pdf guide >>

One of the challenges we initially had in setting up our preventative maintenance schedule was creating one that was suited to our specific vehicles. For example, often our drivers need their vehicles’ fluids changed at shorter intervals than is normally necessary for non-energy sector vehicles.

Once we communicated those needs to Foss National Leasing, they resolved the issue by adding in extra maintenance activities to our schedule.

What did you wish you knew about oil and gas vehicle maintenance before that you know now?

One thing is, I didn’t realize how much upselling maintenance and repair businesses do. They’ll say you need something done, but you never really know for certain if the work is actually needed.

Working with Foss National Leasing, and their service technician who oversees related purchases helps us understand what maintenance is actually required on the vehicles.

They have the vehicle’s complete maintenance record in front of them. As such, they ask the repair shop to validate the service request. This is an expertise we rely on daily as our internal team does not have the capacity. It has saved us thousands of dollars a year.

How else has Foss National Leasing helped you address your light truck fleet maintenance issues more effectively?

A big part of it is being able to see our vehicles’ maintenance history.

Working with Foss National Leasing makes it easier to see our historical maintenance reports. For example, we can now look closely at recurring issues, and also see if certain drivers have higher maintenance costs than others. We can also look back to see whether maintenance was ever even done on a given vehicle.

You can’t do those things if you don’t have a good historical maintenance record. Foss National Leasing also gives guidelines about whether certain activities should or shouldn’t be included in your maintenance program.

Any parting advice for other energy sector fleet managers in regards to vehicle maintenance?

Maintenance records are a big piece.

A fleet maintenance program may need to comply with regulatory or customer requirements in order to demonstrate the proper maintenance activities are being performed.

There are unscheduled, surprise audits that can happen at any time. So having the vehicles’ maintenance schedules and history can help when these audits occur, as you’ll have all of the information in one place, and can provide it to the auditor easily.

Conclusion

Light truck fleet maintenance for the oil and gas industry requires special consideration. There are many factors, such as terrain conditions and regulatory requirements, that oil and gas fleet managers must contend with.

Working with a vehicle fleet management company can help you successfully navigate these situations, helping you save money and stay productive out in the field. 

 

Authored by Ken Payne

 

Ready to streamline your fuel and maintenance costs and start saving money? Download our free pdf guide below. 


FOSS FLEET MANAGEMENT WHITEPAPER

CONTROL YOUR FUEL AND MAINTENANCE COSTS

Find out how you can save up to 15% per year. It's really simple to do.

 

 

14
June, 2017

Having safe, qualified drivers represent your company on the road is critical to your business.

How do you know that each driver is a safe driver? Do they have defensive or dangerous...

Having safe, qualified drivers represent your company on the road is critical to your business.

How do you know that each driver is a safe driver? Do they have defensive or dangerous driving habits? Could even one of them be putting your company at high financial risk?

Fleet driver safety training

Image source: Pixabay

It is proven that fleet driver safety training reduces collisions. Perhaps your company has 25 or 100 fleet vehicles. How can reducing the number of vehicle collisions make your company more competitive?

A good fleet safety program actually reduces costs by reducing injuries which put good employees out of service. Plus, there’s the cost associated with an accident and the liability exposure.

At the core of driver safety training is driver satisfaction: by improving their defensive driving skills your drivers and their loved ones are safer and happier!

FLEET DRIVER SAFETY TRAINING SOLUTIONS FOR BUSY FLEET MANAGERS

Driver risk assessment poses two key questions for fleet managers:

1. How can you easily assess driver behaviour and driving skills?

2. Is there a low-cost system that places minimal intrusion on your business and drivers' abilities?

A cost-effective and practical solution is Foss National Leasing's Fleet Assessment and Safety Training (FAST) program.

Assessment and discovery are critical: new drivers may not have enough experience or skills. Older drivers, while experienced, may have years of old driving habits that may not match today’s traffic situations.
 

Company Vehicle Policy Testing

Through its optional corporate vehicle policy-testing module, FAST reviews your vehicle policy and establishes multiple driving testing questions.

FAST then posts the policy online in a secured website where your drivers are tested to confirm that they have read and understood the policy. This is an important first step to take for ensuring fleet safety.

Your corporate vehicle policy defines the company’s expectations for the safe and economical operation of a company vehicle.

It sets the standard for safe and courteous driving patterns and also sets the standard for what is not acceptable. It’s important to be able to validate that your drivers have read and understood your policy and standards.
 

Online Driver Risk Assessments

Our system identifies your drivers’ skill levels and areas for improvement. It also provides focused feedback.

FAST provides online driver assessments which are more cost-effective and consistent than in-car testing. The program reports the results of the testing, identifies each driver’s skill set and recommends lessons targeted on areas that need improvement.

There are over 100 driver safety-training modules available within FAST at approximately 20 minutes in length each and include driver training subjects like:

  • Deadly driving distractions
  • Adjusting to weather conditions
  • Defensive backing strategies
  • Avoiding collisions with animals and debris

Conclusion

Fleet driver safety training is essential both for ensuring the health and happiness of your drivers, and reducing fleet costs.

Online driver risk assessments like Foss National Leasing's FAST program are an effective way to make sure your fleet's safe driving standards are being met. 

 

Article by Ken Payne

 

Want even more insight into how to reduce fleet costs? Check out our free pdf guide below. 


FOSS FLEET MANAGEMENT WHITEPAPER

CONTROL YOUR FUEL AND MAINTENANCE COSTS

Find out how you can save up to 15% per year. It's really simple to do.

 

 

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