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4 June 2019

The Municipality of Heerlen on commuting

"The e-cars are much more popular than their predecessors on gas"

Employees of the Municipality of Heerlen can choose from a variety of options to travel to their appointments: they can take a bicycle or e-bike, use the business card for public transport, or take one of the 25 municipal e-cars. Very few people still make use of their own cars to go to their meetings, as there is barely any reimbursement for the costs and finding parking is almost impossible.

Shared bicycles and service vehicles

The first sustainable service vehicles were delivered to the Municipality of Heerlen in 2012. Employees in the Management and Maintenance department used their own cars on a daily basis to carry out inspections in the city. Jérôme Doomen, Health, Safety, and Environment Officer, was responsible for making the municipal vehicle fleet more sustainable. ‘The employer has the power to improve the sustainability of the service vehicles, but not of private cars. The Municipality of Heerlen therefore decided to invest in shared bicycles and ten 100% electric service vehicles for this department.’

Setting a good example 

Jerome took on a leading role in making service vehicles available to all departments. A number of NGV service vehicles were also purchased to cover the longer distances but these have now also been replaced by electric cars. Employees could first take a test drive to get used to driving an electric car, but this seemed almost unnecessary. ‘My colleagues told me that the e-cars drive much better than the Fiat Pandas we had,’ explains Ernst Adriaanse. Ernst is a Traffic and Transport policy officer at the Municipality of Heerlen and was involved in drawing up the municipality's plans for becoming more sustainable.

Easy to reserve

Being able to quickly and easily reserve a bicycle or car via the intranet has helped sustainable travel become an integral part of the organization. The 900 employees of the Municipality of Heerlen travel to their appointments in the South Limburg region with public transport, e-bikes, or e-cars. For business trips outside the region, employees travel free of charge by public transport. In order to ensure the efficient use of the service cars, the use and occupancy levels are monitored, allowing the municipality to continue to make their commutes more sustainable.

We can always do better   

What started in one department as an alternative to less sustainable private vehicles eventually became a policy that the Municipality of Heerlen is proud of. ‘Now we want to focus on making commuting just as sustainable,’ says Ernst. ‘And we've been working together with Maastricht Bereikbaar to achieve this.’