The corona crisis has taken a heavy toll on the workforce in the taxi sector. Many drivers were forced to leave the sector. However, now that the demand for healthcare transport is increasing again, the sector is struggling with vacancies that are difficult to fill. KNV Zorgvervoer en Taxi entrepreneurs’ association recognizes the problem and is working with others on various initiatives to recruit healthcare transport and taxi drivers.
As in other sectors, the corona crisis hit the healthcare transport and taxi sector hard. The transport volumes in WMO transport and in the Regiotaxi were decimated. In daytime transport and seated patient transport, the volumes were many tens of percent lower than before the crisis. As a result, healthcare transport companies suffered considerable financial blows, despite the generic support measures and the fact that various clients assisted financially where possible by compensating part of the canceled journeys.
Now the crisis has reached its peak seems to be and transport volumes are rising again, another problem is unfolding: a major shortage of care transport drivers. KNV chairman Bertho Eckhardt about the extent of this problem: ‘Several full-time vacancies for student transport in The Hague, but unfilled. Group transport drivers in the Eindhoven region. Vacancies in Mijdrecht, Apeldoorn, Utrecht, Groningen. You could almost say: where not? Eckhard continues: ‘The many vacancies are often a recurring image after the summer holidays due to changed contracts. We also saw an increasing shortage of drivers before the corona crisis. But this year it is clearly different. Drivers looked around during corona and found another job. Now that the situation has turned like a leaf on a tree, vacancies can therefore no longer be filled, not even by people who previously entered the sector, for example, through agencies such as UWV.’
The association of entrepreneurs is currently looking for solutions to the problem in various ways, but is also concerned about the continuity of transport. Eckhardt about this: ‘I am already hearing stories about tricks such as modified timetables to give carriers the opportunity to get everyone to school on time. Hopefully those emergency solutions offer the desired space and we can move forward in this way. However, it remains important that sufficient drivers arrive quickly before rides are cancelled. This problem will not be solved overnight. KNV and its members are therefore committed to solving this problem for as long as necessary so that all transport can continue. But at the same time, we also ask for understanding for situations where force majeure causes problems.’