'Pay-As-You-Go' But No White Elephants

Cautious welcome to Darling’s proposal from industry leader

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling’s proposal that vehicle tracking technology could support a future pay-as-you-go scheme for Britain’s motorists has been welcomed by Quartix, one of the UK’s leading vehicle tracking companies. But with one clear proviso - no white elephants please!

"If the Government awards a single contract for vehicle tracking to just one supplier we could be facing a colossal white elephant, overrunning on both time and budget. Understandably, motorists would lose confidence in an expensive and unpopular Whitehall imposed solution," said Quartix director Andy Walters.

"The ideal approach must be to let the experts develop the solutions. We already have one of Europe’s most innovative vehicle tracking industries and the technology is widely used by companies with vehicle fleets to reduce their operating costs and further improve driver safety.

"An extremely competitive marketplace is waiting to be tapped into. I’d encourage the Government to set out the monitoring requirements as well as the data formats and interfaces to be adhered to, and then simply let a successful industry get on with delivering the solutions."

Walters, whose company currently supports over 600 UK companies ranging from major corporations through to owner-managed businesses, added that this approach would also provide the best deal for motorists.

"Fleet operators are currently able to shop around for the best deals and leasing vehicle tracking systems, as well as purchasing them, has proved extremely popular. If the proposal does take off, I would hope vehicle manufacturers and their customers would be free to chose from a wide range of companies and fit systems in a similar way to how they currently select audio and navigation systems," Walters added.

While the debate initiated by the Secretary of State has focussed on the possible advantages of any future pay-as-you-go policy, Walters stressed that vehicle tracking technology might benefit motorists in many other ways.

"There are obvious concerns about civil liberties and the right to privacy which would need to be addressed. However, Quartix’s approach and those of many of our competitors, actually focuses on helping company car drivers, rather than monitoring them. Whether it’s a disputed insurance claim, parking fine or simply enhancing your vehicle’s security, the applications and technology are already in place to support the motorist."

9 June 2005 Staff

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