Initiator of the Knowledge Center for Volunteer Transport Marieke BoonPhoto: Marieke Boon

Marieke Boon and Femke Nannes have been working in volunteer transport for years. Although they do not see this form of transport as the egg of Columbus, they do see it as a weapon in the fight against loneliness. On October 6 in Houten, during Taxi Expo ’22, they will discuss this at the National Congress Contract Transport . In an extensive interview they lift a corner of the veil.

What do you want to tell at the National Contract Transport Congress?

“In the taxi world, volunteer transport has long been a taboo. However, we notice that there is now more openness on this subject, given the current tightness in the labor market. Some municipalities even see volunteer transportation as the egg of Columbus, which will solve all their problems. We don’t see it that way. We want to talk about that, among other things. In addition, we also want to discuss which forms of volunteer transport there are during the National Congress on Contract Transport.”

Why do you want to discuss this topic during the conference?

“I am a big proponent of volunteer transportation. Not like the egg of Columbus, but more as a supplement. In the Netherlands, millions of people are transported every year via volunteer transport. These are people who otherwise would not come out the door. I think that in this whole discussion about loneliness and participation in society, very little attention is paid to the importance of mobility. Both the taxi industry and volunteer transport suffer from the fact that this is no longer appreciated. We should be happy that we have these opportunities in this country.”

Why has volunteer transport been a taboo in the taxi world for a long time?

“The requirements for volunteer transport are very different from the requirements for taxi transport. And that while they partly practice the same profession. Even reclining patient transport is sometimes driven by volunteers. Of course they have their own training courses and they take that very seriously, but they do not have to comply with the official requirements and training programs that the taxi world must comply with. I understand that annoyance.”

The Regional Advisory Council for Target Group Transport (RAD) recently wrote a letter in which it signaled that, due to the current staff shortage, more use is being made of volunteers in target group transport. They express their appreciation for that, but at the same time they also say that such volunteer initiatives can never be a substitute for professional target group transport. What do you think of that statement?

“I agree that professional target group transport cannot be replaced by volunteer transport. But sometimes it is the practice. Look at Hollands Kroon, for example. A tender was issued in that municipality for Wmo transport, but ultimately no tenders were submitted. The Wmo transport there is now carried out by a voluntary organization. This is of course not what we should aim for, but as said before, it is sometimes the practice. We believe that it is necessary to look for what suits best for each situation. It’s a puzzle. We have to put them together.”

Are you already itching to discuss this during the National Congress Contract Transport?

“Obviously we are very excited about that. Even the fact that we are being asked to do this was unthinkable five years ago. I really notice that there is so much more willingness from the taxi world. For example, we now have regular contact with RMC. We look for joint solutions or other ways of collaborating. We think that volunteer transport has a lot to gain from this. In addition, it increases knowledge about each other. We think that both volunteer transport and the taxi industry will benefit from this.”

Would you also like to attend the National Congress Contract Transport or browse the trade fair? Which can! You can register here for free .

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