Royal Dutch Transport (KNV) wants student transport to be tendered in a different way. This was announced by chairman Bertho Eckhardt last week, during a round table discussion in the House of Representatives. During that conversation, it was mainly about the current problems that currently play a role in student transport and possible solutions.

“Eight MPs were also present at that conversation”, so let KNV chairman Bertho Eckhardt know. “That is quite a lot. The roundtable discussion revealed, among other things, that everyone is convinced that drivers do their utmost to ensure that student transport runs as smoothly as possible. In addition, we discussed, among other things, what the government can do to help solve the current problems. A debate about this will take place with the Minister of Education next Wednesday.”

Other tender procedure According to Eckhardt, there are several come up with solutions for the current problems, but he emphatically puts the ball down in the way of tendering. “Of course it would help if more space is created in budgetary terms, but you also have to dare to look a little further. For example, the way in which student transport is currently being tendered. Student transport is only a part of the total care transport. We want the entire package in terms of healthcare transport to be put out to tender from now on. If companies win such a package, they can also create full-time jobs. As far as we’re concerned, that’s part of the solution.”

Although, according to Eckhardt, the core of the problem lies in the tendering methodology, he believes there are still a few more themes to consider where should be looked at more closely. “A lot of students get an indication for healthcare transport. It is of course not up to us, but we do think that this indication should be looked at. Are all the indications that have been given correct or are there a number of children who could also travel by public transport? That is of course not a popular statement, but I do think that it should be taken into account.”

Deployment of volunteers Also Dennis Wiersma, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, is now aware of all the problems currently occurring in student transport. At the beginning of this month he indicated that he was shocked by all the stories that have appeared in various media. Although the minister indicated that the responsibility for student transport lies primarily with the municipalities, he was not afraid to propose a number of emergency solutions. “Good emergency solutions are, for example, deploying volunteers, including parents and retirees, as is happening in Zwolle. But hiring external parties, such as providers of coaches (with guidance) or using street taxis, as is done in Enschede, are also possible. That is why I strongly urge municipalities to deploy emergency solutions where necessary,” Wiersma said at the time.

KNV chairman Bertho Eckhardt, however, sees nothing in the deployment of volunteers. “You need certain skills and skills for that. These are vulnerable children, you can’t just let any random volunteer go to them. There will undoubtedly be a number of good ones, but you also have to keep looking at the quality. Moreover, past experience shows that volunteers often quit quickly. However, you must be able to offer the students continuity. That has often proved too difficult with these kinds of initiatives.”

Longer learning and work trajectories “In addition, we have We also talked about learning and work trajectories”, explains the KNV chairman further. “When you start the training, you have to obtain your diplomas within four months. However, the CBR has to deal with long waiting times. If people have not completed their education within that time, they will stop. Then you lost it again. That is why, during the round table discussion, we argued that these learning and work processes should be stretched to one year. Then people can complete their education within a year. That should be easy”, says Eckhardt.

Next Wednesday, 10 October, will be held in the House of Representatives. a debate on the current situation in student transport. The eight MPs who were present during the round table discussion last week will put questions to the Minister of Education during that debate. “We hope that the minister will bear part of the training costs, that the time of learning and work processes will be extended and that a plan of approach for the longer term will be drawn up”, concludes Eckhardt.

Read also:

Problems of student transport not yet solved Minister Wiersma is shocked by stories about student transport Chamber wants clarification from Minister Wiersma about driver shortage

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