SAN FRANCISCO - The City of San Francisco will keep closer track of employees' use of city vehicles to crack down on abuse and better manage the fleet to save money, according to The San Francisco Examiner.

The City is installing software that will not only track vehicle usage - mileage, gas and time running - but that will serve as a database to ensure proper vehicle maintenance to reduce more-expensive repairs later on. Information gathered will be used to determine how many vehicles are truly necessary.

"We continue to do our best to reduce the fleet in this city," Mayor Gavin Newsom said at his June 1 budget address. "We still have too many cars under management. And we are going to dramatically decrease the number of vehicles in this system."

The new software, called FleetFocus, "will enable the department to effectively track city-owned vehicles," according to Newsom's proposed budget, which highlighted methods used to reduce government spending. "FleetFocus will permit the department to track maintenance-related issues with vehicles, which will allow better preventative maintenance and reducing costly repairs later. This program will also capture operating expenses such as fuel, oil and licensing."

The program is expected to be "fully operational before January 2011," reported the Examiner. The announcement to deploy the FleetFocus software was made in late March.

"In terms of addressing abuse, the department heads will have information readily available to them," said Tom Fung, director of the Fleet Management Department. "Our goal is to get all the vehicle information into this database."

The City's fleet has 1,591 passenger cars and a total of 2,697 vehicles, which include pickups and vans. With other types of equipment such as trailers and trucks, the fleet has an inventory of 6,881 vehicles or pieces of equipment, reported the Examiner.

The software is Newsom's latest effort to tackle the problems long associated with The City's vehicle fleet. According to the Examiner, other cost-saving measures taken recently included identifying more than 500 vehicles that were either old or underused and asking department heads to determine if they still need them.