Frustrated with the morning commute? There may be a better way... We talked to Rizwan Hemraj, Sustainable Travel Officer with Travelchoice, at Peterborough City Council, about what his team can do for you – whether you’re an employer or employee

What is Travelchoice all about? travelchoice-5

Peterborough is a leading authority for promoting sustainable transport. It was selected as one of three Sustainable Travel Demonstration Towns and awarded the full allocation of £5 million of Local Sustainable Transport Fund by the Department of Transport. It’s also a city that aspires to create the UK Environment Capital. As part of that challenge, Peterborough City Council recognises the need to promote effective travel choices to reduce single occupancy car journeys and promote a cleaner, greener and healthier city. This is what Travelchoice is here to do.

You also sponsored he Peterborough Bondholder Breakfast at KingsGate on 1 May. How and why did that come about?

Peterborough is creating the UK environmental capital, and getting more businesses involved in travel planning and sustainability as part of that is, we feel, very important. Being a sponsor of the Bondholder Breakfast is part of that, as it’s a great platform to speak to local businesses and showcase how we can support them. Representatives from the Travelchoice team will be making
a presentation at the Bondholder Breakfast on 1 May, engaging with organisations to tell them how we can help businesses plan and develop a thriving and successful business in Peterborough. We’re basically there to tell businesses what we have on offer.

Many people seem to think being green will actually cost them more…

Absolutely not. Businesses are, quite naturally, always concerned about their bottom line, and because we’re in a recession every penny does count. However, engaging with us can actually save your business money. That’s what we’re there for – to help you plan and develop. If we talk about car-sharing, for example. Land is very expensive, and if you have a number of employees sharing journeys that means less money that has to be invested in parking space. And there are the significant costs to owning and running a car – fuel costs going through the roof, maintenance, insurance and so on. If you consider other sustainable options – walking, cycling, car sharing or public transport – you’d be surprised how cost effective it is. And how easy it is.

Is that message a challenge in a city built around cars?

Even if you do use a car, we have a whole carshare scheme in Peterborough – there’s a website where people can log their daily journeys and find others with whom they can share quickly
and easily. It’s that simple to get on board. And don’t forget we have an excellent cycle network in addition to the parkways – we’re very fortunate in that in Peterborough. We’ve got the Green Wheel infrastructure which is very thorough and very well maintained.


How else can businesses benefit?

Costs are obviously a big factor for businesses, but there are lots of other benefits. Many doctors have said in the past that if they could prescribe walking or cycling as a medicine they would do that, because they’re so good for your health and wellbeing. And having a healthy and happy workforce also means a more productive workforce. So, it’s not just direct costs, it’s those health and wellbeing aspects as well. There’s creating a travel plan, which we can help with. Businesses can benefit from green marketing once they get involved with sustainability, too. We also have a personalised travel planning project ongoing at the moment, where we will go into a business and create a personalised travel plan for each individual. And that encompasses all modes of transport, from car sharing to walking, and from home to work. It’s changing simple habits that can make a big difference.

If I came to you today to ask what you could do for my business, what would happen next?

We have a whole team, and basically we would come out and meet with you and see what you want to achieve – where you are now, and where you want to be. We can then assist you, if you don’t already have a travel plan we can help you put one together, we can put down milestones and targets and make sure they’re all feasible and achievable. Then there are lots of other things we offer – for example, a business grant scheme. If your organisation wants, for example to have increased cycle storage, we will match-fund you up to a certain value for the cost of that infrastructure, as long as you, with our help, produce a travel plan or update your existing travel plan. Furthermore, we have a workplace cycle challenge that will be running over the summer, this is for organisations to compete against each other and there will be prizes on offer. We have recently installed a Brompton Dock at the Railway station and corporate membership is currently being developed. Basically, there
are a lot of different options that you can explore with us to become more sustainable, and more productive.

What’s your key message, in a nutshell?

Travelchoice provides choice to improve health and wealth. There have been many businesses who have already come on board and who have benefited, but to those that haven’t our message is simply come and meet with us, engage with us, let us know what you want, and by working closely together the city can have more thriving businesses and a better, cleaner, healthier environment.

Twitter – @pcctravelchoice

For all business related queries, please contact:

Rizwan Hemraj – Sustainable Travel Officer Transport and Infrastructure Planning

1st Floor Stuart House
East Wing
St John’s Street

Telephone: (01733) 863808

Fax: (01733) 453457

For more information about benefits available through the Peterborough Bondholder scheme and how to register for your FREE membership, go to:


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