Pupils are taken to school by taxi van. Photo for illustration.Photo: ANP/Arie Kievit

The municipality of Utrecht ignores a crucial point in their plan of action to reduce the pressure on student transport. That is what Hans Poot, second chairman of the accessibility panel of the municipality of Huizen says. According to him, the profession of driver should be made more attractive, among other things through better payments. “Make people feel valued.”

At the end of last month, the municipality of Utrecht launched an action plan to reduce the pressure on student transport. In this plan, the Municipal Executive (B&W) describes what measures they want to take to achieve this objective. One of the measures is tapping into new target groups, regarding the recruitment and retention of drivers. “In order to recruit additional drivers, we are looking for potential new influx: people who are currently doing volunteer work or who have no work”, said the Utrecht college about that.

No profit According to Hans Poot, second chairman of the accessibility panel in the municipality of Huizen and active in various positions within target group transport for decades, the municipality of Utrecht is overlooking a crucial point here. “Firstly, they forget that people who earn money in addition to their benefits will be deducted directly from their benefits. Who will work for nothing? In addition, they are also classified on the very lowest scale of the collective labor agreement. The target group that the municipality of Utrecht wants to tap does not benefit from it. After all, they have to go around legal regulations. If you work while on welfare, the money you earn is simply gone.”

Poot believes that the profession of taxi driver in student transport is an extremely important function. He therefore believes that this position should be made more attractive. “There are quite a few people who want to become drivers, provided they finally realize that it is a responsible position. You should be paid decent compensation for that. Make people feel valued. Then it will automatically become attractive to hold such a position.”

Transport BV Hans Poot cites Transport BV as an example. “Look at how the Gooi en Vechtstreek region has handled it. There they set up their own transport organization with Vervoer BV. Every municipality in the Gooi and Vecht region has put an amount in there. A number of problems that play a role in student transport are much less there. For example, novice drivers are not classified in the lowest rung of the collective labor agreement, but one or two steps higher.”

“In addition, journeys from home to final destination are paid in full. This in contrast to a number of other taxi companies / companies, which do not even reimburse standstill or waiting times. Finally, drivers who drive for Vervoer BV have the option of carrying out Wmo transport between or after school trips. That means longer working hours and therefore better income. These are all points that make the profession more attractive”, concludes Hans Poot.

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