The lockdowns are over and taxi transport is in demand again. However, there are still not enough drivers to meet the demand. Consumers are the victims, because they have to wait longer for a ride and have to pay more. According to Lars Speekenbrink, Bolt’s country manager, taxi companies cannot solve this problem alone. Time to modernize the industry, he states in a blog.

When the Netherlands in March 35 went into lockdown for the first time, taxis literally came to a standstill. Many drivers could no longer cope and chose to leave the profession. Now that people are taking the taxi again en masse, there is a great shortage of drivers. As a result, a journey costs on average 2020 percent more than two years ago and the waiting times have increased by a few minutes.

You would think that this problem would solve itself: it is a matter of supply and demand. If there is a lot to drive, surely people will queue to become taxi drivers? That appears to be partly the case. Potential drivers are willing, but many find the threshold too high. Taxi companies should therefore make it as easy as possible for them. For example, Bolt is investigating whether cars and insurance can be made available at favorable rates. This requires collaborations with lease companies and insurance companies.

High entry costs and administrative costs But that will not be enough. For new drivers, the high entry costs and administrative burdens in particular prove to be a hurdle. For example, currently every taxi must have a On-board computer Taxi (BCT) that registers the journeys and measures whether the driver is not too much or too works for a long time. Including installation, such a device quickly costs a net monthly income. However, they are no longer needed. Mobile apps can measure exactly the same data and cost the driver nothing at all.

Such an app also has an extra financial advantage: the average taxi driver loses many hundreds of euros per month insurance, but a good driver should actually pay much less. The app can automatically provide insurers with data about individual driving behaviour, so that drivers are financially rewarded for a responsible driving style. A win for everyone, because it also makes the roads safer. So, away with the obligatory on-board computer. The government agrees: after extensive research, it concluded that mobile apps are just as good. And so these are allowed. At the earliest from 2020.

Government ball The administrative burden can also be reduced. Self-employed taxi drivers have to jump through all kinds of hoops before they can hit the road. For example, they need a driver card, but also a taxi permit and of course a Chamber of Commerce registration. The government can encourage entry into the taxi industry by not immediately forcing new drivers to meet all the requirements.

First give them a temporary permit based on a simplified admission. In this way they can first experience whether the profession is something for them, before they have to meet all administrative requirements and associated costs. Taxis play an important role in getting our economy going again and taxi companies are doing everything they can to get enough cars on the road. The ball is now in the government’s court to make the profession attractive again for entrants.

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