Commuting with the office bus

What if you could use commuting time as working time? That would be the perfect solution for 23% of our colleagues who spend more than an hour a day getting to and from work. Well, we’ve been testing a so called office bus for over 2 years now and guess what: it’s been a huge success. At the beginning of 2019, we decided to use it on permanent basis.

Commuting time becomes working time

We developed the ‘Office on Wheels’ project together with the Flanders Institute for Mobility (VIM) and the Flemish Professional Bus and Coach Operators Association (BAAV). ‘The goal is to do something about the time you lose when you're travelling,’ says Antoon Vanderputten, employee mobility expert. ‘You get onto the bus in the morning and start working. When you arrive at the office, you just carry on. This is how we transform commuting time into paid working time. The project is also a perfect fit with our sustainability policy. Fewer cars on the road means lower emissions and fewer traffic jams. The office bus is a new option for our employees to take the step towards collective transport.’

Office bus interior
Thanks to the office bus, there are fewer cars on the road, which means fewer traffic jams.

On a yearly basis, we save 64 tonnes of CO2. During the test, the bus had an average occupancy rate of 78%. According to a survey of participants, 96% would like to carry on using the bus after the test period. So the office bus seems to be a very interesting solution for commuter traffic.

From Ghent to Halle. And back.

In the test phase, Colruyt Group chose a route prone to traffic jams that many employees take daily. The bus runs at a fixed time from the Park&Ride in Gentbrugge to a number of stops at several offices in Halle. ‘There are 32 seats available, so you definitely have to book your seat on the bus. As a one-off, or on fixed days,’ explains Antoon. ‘The hours you work on the bus count as working hours, so you start work when the journey begins.’ 



Working in the office bus
There is room for 32 people on the office bus.

All the facilities of an office

The office bus is a mobile shared office with everything on it. In the middle, there’s a coffee machine and cloakroom. The seats are in pairs or fours with spacious tables. You connect your laptop to one of the many sockets provided. You can log into the work servers via WiFi or read documents in the Cloud. So you can carry out all your usual administrative work easily on the bus. 

Driving office bus
After a successful two and a half year test period, Colruyt Group decided to use the office bus on a permanent basis.

‘This project is the cherry on the cake of a whole thought process,’ concludes Antoon. ‘After more than two years, it is clear in all respects that the office bus is feasible for Colruyt Group. Internally, we’re also discovering more and more ways to use the office bus during the day. Team buildings or school visits, for example. Other ideas are very welcome.’

VIDEO: Office on wheels

The office bus started out as a six-month pilot project, but was eventually tested for two and a half years. The first users share their impressions.

With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Sustainable cities and communities Climate action