The great search for taxi and coach drivers is increasingly aimed at young people. TaxiPro spoke to young people who already work in the industry about their choice for the profession and what transporters can do to appeal more to the young target group.
When corona flared up in our country, the young people we spoke to started as drivers on taxis or coaches. Some had previously worked for a delivery service, but they missed the social aspect of their work. Warner Delfsma (21) is one of these youngsters. He has been working as a taxi driver at CarCab in Heerenveen for five months now. He previously delivered packages and meal boxes to various employers. He likes not to sit alone on a bus anymore.
The social aspect is also one of the most important positive characteristics of the work that the young taxi and coach drivers mention. “The interaction with children and people from other target groups is great fun,” says Niels van Vliet (20). He has now been working as a coach driver at Pouw for six months and previously worked in the taxi industry for a year. He himself describes his work as a “dream that I have fulfilled.”
Due to the variation in rides and people, every day is different for him. “One minute you’re on a school trip and the next you’re on a seniors trip.” During these trips, Van Vliet regularly receives comments from older passengers. “They then make comments like: ‘Do you have your driver’s license?’ or ask ‘How old are you?’ I like that interaction.” The fact that there are not many young employees in the sector does not appear to be a major problem for the young people who do work there.
Part-time job or gap year This is a different story for the carriers themselves: they are focusing more and more on recruiting younger employees. Many drivers have often been forced to work in a different industry during the corona time. Many do not return and there is also little influx of new drivers. Young people could do the job as a side job or in a gap year. The latter was the case with Joost Withagen (21), taxi driver at Munckhof Taxi, because he did not know which training he wanted to go to. to do. “I have already done five courses, but each time it was not what I wanted. That’s why I went to work.”
After working in a factory and at a gas station, he ended up in the taxi industry. “I already knew someone who did the work and he found it relaxing, so I went to try it.” Withagen completed his training through Taxiwerq and was soon placed at Munckhof Taxi. Still, he doesn’t expect to stay in the industry for the rest of his life.
Minimum wage and few career advancement opportunities This pattern is also reflected in other young taxi and coach drivers. Many of them are still thinking about going to study for another profession. Withagen is also considering this. “Of course you work for the minimum wage and if you still want to live on your own, this is difficult. There are also no real growth opportunities. It’s a bit of a dead end, so for now it’s more of an interim solution.”
Yet there are also young people who are satisfied and have no intention of leaving the industry to leave again after a certain period. “People say money doesn’t buy happiness and I agree with that,” says Van Vliet. “You have to do what you like, and this is what I like.” Delfsma agrees. “I would rather have a job that I enjoy going to with a slightly lower wage than a job with a top wage that I have to drag myself to.”
Awareness of the flexibility Wanneke de Haan (38) started a few weeks ago as taxi driver at UVO Vervoer in Uithuizermeeden and attaches great importance to the flexibility that the work offers. In this case, it also has to do with parenting. “I mainly drive student transport and transport to the day activities. There are peak times when the children have to go to school or the mentally handicapped to their daytime activities. That’s all pretty early and you still have all day left. I am also at home in between and then I have extra time for the children.”
The youngest drivers on taxis and coaches generally do not have children, but that flexibility is also for them a great advantage of the job. They believe that this aspect should be emphasized more by carriers. They often have the impression that peers who are still in training are not aware of the flexibility of the work. By emphasizing this and using the right channels, more young people can be reached. “Signs along the road or Facebook are not really the way to attract young people”, says Warner Delfsma.
The young drivers think that advertising via platforms such as Instagram or posting videos works better on LinkedIn. “I personally don’t read the newspaper anymore,” says Van Vliet. “That is a bit of the past. What Pouw does, for example, with videos on social media, the use of party buses and now, for example, a ‘once-on-a-bus day’ , attracts young people more in my opinion.”
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