Now that work is picking up, it is important for independent drivers to maintain or obtain their quality mark. There is a huge staff shortage at companies, which means that independent drivers are hired to drive transport. However, they are not allowed to drive all transport without a quality mark, because clients require this in certain contracts. This is not sufficiently recognized by all self-employed drivers.

All large companies in the taxi industry are provided with the taxi quality mark, partly because more and more clients are requesting it. The inspections that examine whether the requirements of the quality mark are met have been more difficult to carry out in the past two years due to corona. “Especially when companies are housed in small spaces or in situations where the one and a half meters was difficult for inspectors to maintain, we sometimes had to do crazy tricks,” says inspector Terry Bouhuizen. “Fortunately, the TX-Keur foundation was compliant with this and introduced a good package of measures during the first wave, including online driver training and a postponement. of a maximum of three months on the inspection, a lenient handling of damage to vehicles and 23 percent discount on the license costs.”

As a result, the companies have often been able to retain their quality mark, but because the shortage of drivers has increased, their own workforce is increasingly too small to carry out assignments properly. ABC Taxi Label Advice and Training produces course and instruction material for the TX-Keur Foundation. Where, according to director Yvonne Botterhuis, things go wrong now that the driver shortage is large and work is picking up, is that many self-employed drivers do not have a quality mark and do not want to. “As a company, if you hire freelancers for an assignment that requires a quality mark, you are obliged to ensure that subcontractors also have the quality mark within a certain period. And if the quality mark expires, it must be renewed in time.”

Opportunities outweigh the costs Because many self-employed drivers do not want to obtain or renew the quality mark, they cannot work as a subcontractor and therefore miss out on work. “The costs are often cited as a reason for not obtaining the quality mark, but the possibilities it offers certainly outweigh this,” she says. “With the quality mark, they can easily drive for parties such as Trevvel, Munckhof or Valys. But you can also drive in Amsterdam at Schiphol if you have a quality mark. It should therefore be seen more as an investment than something that only costs money.”

In her opinion, obtaining the quality mark is also many times easier for self-employed drivers than for companies with staff. “There are far fewer demands on them. An independent driver must show, among other things, permits, insurance, payment receipts and completed courses. Companies with personnel, on the other hand, must also, for example, issue a statement from the Social Fund for Mobility that they comply with the collective labor agreement.”

Compensation and special course However, the severe corona time lowered the threshold to get the quality mark for independent drivers. For this reason, TX-Keur has introduced a number of measures to accommodate this target group. “Self-employed drivers were often not eligible for corona support. In order to make it as easy as possible to obtain the quality mark, a compensation has been introduced. In addition, the training was free of charge and the insurance for drivers in the event of a single-vehicle accident was no longer compulsory. In the meantime, TX-Keur has decided to continue these measures, even now that work is picking up again.”

In addition to these measures, efforts are also being made in other ways to convince independent drivers to to obtain the seal of approval. “When drivers want to get the quality mark and they see the regulations, they are often shocked and have the idea that the inspection is not feasible for them. It is, of course, a legal document that must meet certain requirements. Otherwise it is open to interpretation.” However, this makes it difficult to understand, she says. “There were already courses for this, but these were only aimed at companies with staff.”

ABC has therefore been commissioned to create a special course for this target group, in which it is explained in a clear way explained what the quality mark means, how it can be obtained and how it can be preserved. “Once the drivers have completed this course and understand what it takes to pass an inspection, they usually find it not too bad. They will then see that it is a matter of collecting documents and following training courses.” According to Botterhuis, the courses are therefore certainly bearing fruit and the hope is that this positive development will continue.

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