This is what Paul Brown of Leeds firm Cars on Demand has to say about Britain's roads

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Spending on road infrastructure is being overlooked and certain key routes require more investment to bring them up to scratch, according to the boss of a vehicle leasing company.

Paul Brown, managing director of Cars on Demand, believes that the surface conditions of “a lot of roads now is very poor”.

Road improvements needed: Paul Brown, managing director of Cars on Demand, would like a more holistic strategy to transport infrastructure investment.

Road improvements needed: Paul Brown, managing director of Cars on Demand, would like a more holistic strategy to transport infrastructure investment.

He told The Yorkshire Post: “Over the years it’s been the same. Money either goes into one thing or another instead of it being looked at as a whole and thinking actually we need this road to support that rail network and that airport infrastructure.

“You need to tie the whole lot together into one piece rather than it being lots of individual bits of transport infrastructure.”

Another issue on the roads that needs addressing is the quality of signage, which Mr Brown says is “appalling”.

He believes that in some places there are too many road signs, leading to unnecessary confusion among motorists.

The Leeds-based vehicle leasing company has been boosted by the growing trend of vehicles being either leased or financed.

Previously, Mr Brown was a sales and marketing director at a national vehicle leasing company based in London.

“I was enjoying it by and large but as with those types of jobs you end up working extraordinarily long hours and travelling around all the time, which then resulted in me getting divorced,” he said.

Mr Brown met his current wife, who was from Yorkshire, and he was presented with the ultimatum to either move up to the region or go their separate ways and carry on being a batchelor.

“So I decided the best thing to do was move up here,” he said. Launching the business in August 2003 also enabled him a change of pace.

Today, Cars on Demand has nine full-time staff supported by a network of self-employed delivery and collection drivers.

Mr Brown got the idea for the business from his previous role, where an increasing number of customers were taking a car for two, three weeks at a time but then kept renewing the lease.

“That’s an extremely expensive way of using a car,” Mr Brown said. “That’s where the idea came for this mid-term leasing so anything from one to 12 months.”

One of the key reasons for this growth in vehicle leasing has been the flexibility it affords people.

Mr Brown said: “The biggest change has been the requirement, in the last few years, for people to have more flexibility. In a similar way to mobile phones, people like to swap and change and upgrade or downgrade. Their requirements change more regularly.”

Uncertainty over Britain’s relationship with the European Union has led to a slow down in new car registrations.

However, that has not had an impact on Cars on Demand. Mr Brown says that uncertainty is good for the business as more people opt for the flexibility of a lease to an outright purchase.

Mr Brown would still like things to settle down to allow the business to plan better for the future.The business supplies 1,250 contracts a year, mainly to small and medium sized enterprises.

“The next target is to get that to 1,500 contracts over the next year and a half,” the managing director of Cars on Demand says, “then we’d like to get to 2,000 contracts a year.”

Mr Brown says he has a “great team” working for him and the aim is to continue to build a positive work environment while growing the business.


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