Self-employed taxi drivers can often be described as hard-working entrepreneurs. The loss of their income due to corona is therefore a blow to them. On top of that, self-employed drivers often have to deal with negativity. This is stated by director of TIS Risk Managers, René Enthoven. He wants to turn the tide.

TIS Risk Management is a family business from Amsterdam that has already 12 years of support to independent taxi drivers in the field of risk management, insurance and claims handling. Enthoven explains how he views the current state of affairs in the taxi industry.

A lot has changed over the past 25 year?

“Yes, a lot has changed in the taxi world , unfortunately not always in a positive way. For example, social control has decreased and training courses for new taxi drivers have disappeared. There are also more and more inexperienced taxi drivers, who are hardly accompanied. Think of boys who are not yet twenty. They have hardly any experience as a driver and just as little life experience. If we left the world to boys aged eighteen and nineteen, it would be a mess.”

How does your company deal with that?

“We continue to look for the best way to reduce risks for our customers, with a personal approach. That starts at the front door. As a gatekeeper, I take a good look at who I work with. This personal approach ensures connection. For example, when I started, TCA was still an institution. You can find a lot of it, but one thing I can assure you, there was a much stronger social control between the taxi companies than now.”

In 25 the CEBS taxi drivers who were affiliated with TIS Risk Managers received part of their premium back due to the corona crisis. Why?

“I empathize with my customers. If you don’t drive them, you can’t do any damage either. I think that includes a discount on your premium. Because of the connection with our customers, we want to help them. And it’s not just about money. The pride of drivers is diminishing, due to negativity that has been poured out over the industry for years. We want to give the professional drivers back the feeling of pride.”

How then?

“The entrepreneurs affiliated with us are professional drivers. They work hard for their little house tree animal. I have found a way where they are appreciated for what they do well: driving. Thanks to our approach, we have been able to maintain a profitable portfolio of taxis for many years. But we do that together. We are now adding a new development, together with Drivestar. They calculate a driving performance figure based on data collected by the Cabman BCT. Then when someone asks if you are a good driver, you pull your phone out of your pocket and show your grade.”

Now Drivestar is looking to the best taxi drivers in the Netherlands. Are you participating in that too?

“Yes. During the Taxi Expo of a prize will be awarded for the first time to the best taxi drivers in the Netherlands. That prize does not go to an individual taxi driver, but to a team of taxi drivers. These teams are composed on the basis of existing friendships and partnerships. We are not a taxi company, but we will form teams. A little competition is nice. And attention to better driving only has winners.”

Why attention to better driving only has winners?

“Attention to better driving is data-driven. The computer in taxis already keeps track of whether you accelerate and brake too often and too hard. If you do that less often and more quietly, you will get a high grade. Because it means you drive safely and cleanly. It is also a form of risk management: my core business. Such driving behavior means that you use less fuel and cause less damage. That saves repair costs and, in the long run, also premium costs.”

Are there any costs associated with the use of Drivestar?

“The first three months it’s completely free. After that, Cabman charges a small fee per month for passing on the data. By then you will be convinced that it will yield much more than it costs. And since the figure is based on data from the Cabman BCT, there is no need to invest in telematics.”

Are your customers excited yet?

“Unfortunately, due to the lockdown, attention is now mainly focused on survival. They are sad circumstances. What I do know is that the group of taxi entrepreneurs with whom Drivestar started a pilot three months ago is still working with great pleasure. So I have full confidence that if our country is allowed to open again, taxis will soon be proud of themselves and of each other again and that the earnings, partly due to cost savings, will also be raised to a good level.”

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