Sustainable mobility package: what's the verdict 3 years on?

Three years after its introduction, we look back at the Sustainable Mobility Package and its challenges.

For the second year in a row, the Government has called on ViaID and ekodev to conduct a survey on the implementation of the sustainable mobility package in private sector companies. Now that the figures are public, it is an opportunity for us to assess this government initiative two years later.

Sustainable mobility package: a few reminders

The sustainable mobility package, also known as FMD, is a scheme introduced by the government in 2020 as part of the LOM law, which consists of encouraging the use of sustainable mobility during home-work journeys.

Originally, the FMD was scheduled to come into effect in July 2020. The main purpose of the scheme was to encourage soft and sustainable mobility for French commuters. However, the circumstances of the health crisis accelerated its deployment and the project was adopted in May 2020, during the first deconfinement.

In concrete terms, the FMD represents an optional payment by the employer of the cost of transporting employees from home to work using "soft mobility" (or active modes: bicycle, etc.) or "alternative" modes (carpooling, etc.).

Employers may decide to grant up to €700 per year per employee as part of the sustainable mobility package, the sum paid being exempt from social security contributions, CSG-CRDS and income tax.

Sustainable mobility package: which means of transport are eligible?

The employer may pay for all or part of the costs incurred for employees' home-to-work trips using sustainable modes of transportation. The following modes of transportation are considered sustainable

  • Personal bike (electric or not) : purchase, repair...
  • Carpooling (driver or passenger)
  • Shared mobility services: rental or self-service provision of bicycles, scooters, scooters, gyropods
  • Low-emission car-sharing services (electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen vehicles)
  • Public transport (bus, metro, RER, tramway) excluding subscription
  • Purchase of a scooter

Sustainable mobility package: who can benefit?

  • All categories of private-sector employees: permanent and fixed-term contracts, temporary employees, apprentices, trainees, part-time employees, etc.
  • Public companies: the judiciary, ministries and prefectures, town halls, departments and regions, public establishments, independent public authorities, public interest groups, public hospitals, public retirement homes. However, the rules of implementation are not the same as those for private sector companies.

Sustainable mobility package and public transport passes: can social benefits be combined?

The sustainable mobility package can be combined with the 50% reimbursement of public transport passes or the reimbursement of fuel costs.

However, there are limits to the exemption:

  • Combined with fuel costs: the exemption is €700 per year;
  • Combined with compulsory reimbursement for public transport: overall exemption limited to €800 per year.

Sustainable mobility package: a mixed but encouraging result

Between March and April 2022, the Government launched a "Sustainable Mobility Package Barometer". This survey of 823 private and public employers (managers, human resources departments, sustainable development/society departments, professional federations, associations, etc.) showed that only 38% of private sector companies had implemented the sustainable mobility package by that date. This is nevertheless encouraging, since a year earlier, only 26% of companies had implemented it. Worryingly, only 35% of companies that had deployed the SMF felt that they had not encountered any difficulties in implementing it.

As in 2021, the main reasons for deploying the FMD are to encourage the use of alternatives to the private car and to promote environmentally friendly practices (also for 69% of respondents), to contribute to the company's employer brand and to set an example (68%), and to meet employees' expectations (62%).

Of the private employers that have deployed the DMF, 93% have opened it to at least bicycling, 56% to carpooling, and 46% to public transportation (excluding subscriptions). Only 13% of companies have opened the DMF to all eligible modes. This compares to 16.6% in 2021.

Bicycles are clearly a must and, contrary to popular belief, are popular in all types of areas, both urban and rural.

In addition, a mission report on the bicycle economy submitted to the Prime Minister on February 8, 2022 by Guillaume Gouffier-Cha, MP for Val de Marne, showed that only 39% of CAC40 companies had implemented the sustainable mobility package at the time, 19% of the companies surveyed were considering its implementation and 42% had no plans to deploy it.

It is clear that the FMD system has not been as successful as expected and that almost two years after it came into force, the results are still mixed. So much so that at the time of writing this report, discussions are underway to make its implementation mandatory for all employers with more than 11 employees by 2027.

Sustainable mobility package: what are the obstacles and difficulties to its implementation?

Although this system has real advantages, the reluctance of companies to implement it can be explained in several ways.

First, for organizations that have not deployed the DMF, the main barrier to implementation is the budget allocation. This was stated by 40% of employers surveyed, confirming the 2021 finding. Next comes the lack of understanding and information on the subject for 30% of respondents, followed by the priority given to the deployment of other solutions (fleet of EVs, bike loans, etc.) for 23% of respondents.

However, the increase in costs is only a preconceived idea, since the deployment of the sustainable mobility package allows companies to make savings. Indeed, it is very common for companies to pay for public transport passes that are not used by their employees. Thanks to the FMD, employees can buy a single ticket only on the days they go to the office and vary with other means of transport if they wish. Note that this practice is profitable for the company as long as the employee telecommutes one day per week.

In addition to budgetary constraints and a lack of information, the deployment of the sustainable mobility package may be accompanied by numerous practical questions (selection of so-called "green" modes of transport, types of expenses to be covered, etc.) and the fear that companies will find the HR management of this system complex.

Indeed, managing the accumulation of different schemes internally is not easy because the company must constantly check that the 600 € threshold is not exceeded. The manual management of certificates of honor and other supporting documents is complicated and time consuming.

However, at a time when CSR and telework organization are at the heart of companies' concerns, the sustainable mobility package should not be overlooked.

In addition to meeting employees' new expectations, the implementation of the sustainable mobility package allows companies to improve their brand image and reputation. In addition, it is an effective new communication tool that allows them to attract new customers and talent by demonstrating a high level of commitment to CSR.

To sum up, although the FMD was originally conceived as an advantage for both employees and companies, the majority of them have not yet taken the plunge. Lack of information, costs and additional management time appear to be obstacles to the deployment of this system to move towards sustainable mobility. However, there are solutions that simplify the implementation of the FMD within companies.

Sustainable mobility package: how to remove the obstacles?

Worklife is a solution that addresses the issues outlined above when implementing the sustainable mobility package.

The Worklife offer is based on a Visa payment card, valid with all sustainable mobility actors, on which it is possible to cumulate the FMD scheme and the reimbursement of public transport passes. As a result, companies no longer have to manually manage receipts.

The Worklife solution offers the flexibility that employees need, as it can also be used to finance sustainable means of mobility: bicycles, electric scooters, carpooling, electric scooters. The card also allows for the payment of individual transport tickets.

To sum up, 3 years on, we can confirm that the Forfait Mobilités Durables is gradually becoming an integral part of French employers' mobility policies. Even if they are not yet in the majority, more and more of them are taking up this scheme, which responds, on its own scale, to employers' challenges in terms of social and environmental impact.

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