The costs of target group transport are increasing. Nevertheless, governments are making less and less money available for this, which does not benefit the quality. Koos Ramakers, transport project manager at the Hartekamp Group, has experienced first-hand how important transport is for clients. He argues that a single rate structure should be used to guarantee quality: that of the care offices.

The Hartekamp Groep health care institution offers various forms of care with forty different locations. living, working, learning and support for clients with intellectual disabilities. Such 125 people who are affiliated with the Hartekamp Group also use the target group transport van Noot, for which Ramakers is responsible. One of these people is Mark.

He explains to TaxiPro that transport is so important to him because it allows him to go to work independently. “If the taxi wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be happy,” he says. “Because then I’m at home, and there’s nothing to it. It allows me to work.” What is important to him here is that the driver has a familiar face, that the driver drives neatly and that the same route is always followed.

Taxi on time on location Another point he mentions as important is that the taxi arrives on time: something that is increasingly difficult now that the driver shortage has become such a major problem. Clients can check the arrival time of the taxi via the transport portal. The clients with autism are very fond of appointments in terms of time: eight hours is eight hours. “Noot is now working on a new app with which they want to respond even better to the needs of clients,” says Ramakers. “We will work with an hourglass. The moment it is empty, the bus is there. This is more fun to look at than a clock. With the hourglass, the driver is always on time. Because when the hourglass is empty, the driver is there.”

Stimulate independence Because there is less and less money available for target group transport, the Hartekamp Group is doing various things to keep costs manageable. “Taxi transport is very important and we have a group that really can’t live without it. So it will never disappear. We have developed the Travel Card for people who could possibly use other means of transport. For example, Mark can cycle, but needs guidance. With the Travel Card we are looking at how we can make this possible for him.”

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Mark at work. This helps to reduce costs and make clients more independent, but is also good for the climate. Nevertheless, according to Ramakers, it is important that something changes in the field of financing target group transport. “There is a clear difference between municipalities and care offices when you look at financing. The municipalities set their own rates, which therefore differ from each other, while the care offices use a national rate, based on a cost survey by the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZA). 125 healthcare providers have contributed to this.”

Single rate structure In his opinion, it is important that a single rate structure is used instead for both the municipalities and the care offices. “What you see now is that a municipality is trying to optimize the price-quality ratio during the procurement process of a new concession. The emphasis is often placed on price, because the fees for taxi transport are too low. “This can end by maintaining a single fee structure.” He immediately says that there must also be good policy. “Aimed at who needs taxi transport and who does not and how you can motivate, encourage and facilitate people to use alternative transport.”

According to him, there are already a number of municipalities that use the NZA rate. His suspicion is that money prevents other municipalities from doing the same. Still, he hopes that eventually everyone will cross the bridge. “What you see is that municipalities are making agreements with care providers such as the Hartekamp Group to provide care at a certain price. Transport is ticked off as the last item on the agenda for a low price. That this is the last to be paid attention to is allowed, but according to the prices of the NZA.”

Multiple solutions Ramakers therefore believes in multiple solutions to keep costs manageable. In addition to encouraging self-reliance, he also discusses linking transport movements in the region. “In any case, there is a responsibility with the carriers and the care providers. I don’t think there will be more money any time soon. There must be more thinking along with the authorities and lobbying for more attention for this type of transport. The world is changing and governments are changing very slowly.”

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