Parking places for quality taxis at Breda station. Photo: ANP/Hollandse Hoogte/Tobias Kleuver

Taxi drivers working in Breda experience little added value from the taxi quality mark. This is the conclusion of an evaluation carried out by research bureau KWINK Groep. According to the report, this is due to inconsistent enforcement and unclearly defined quality rules.

The quality mark that taxi drivers must have if they are allowed to offer taxi rides, was created by the municipality on 1 September 2019. This quality mark is part of the general taxi regulation and is mandatory to obtain a local taxi permit. The quality mark was supposed to guarantee and improve the quality of taxi transport for customers, but according to the drivers little has come of it.

Little added value This is evident from an evaluation by research agency KWINK Groep, which included street surveys, online surveys and interviews with drivers, among others. “The quality mark mainly functions as an admission ticket for the location. It removes drivers from anonymity and excludes drivers from outside Breda. The quality mark does not (yet) provide sufficient incentive for quality”, is one of the conclusions. “On the one hand because enforcement is not yet completely conclusive, on the other hand because violations are difficult to detect and because the quality rules are not clearly defined. The quality mark exam also offers little guarantee of quality. The consequence of this is that the quality is not yet up to par, but also that drivers experience little added value from the quality mark.”

According to the evaluation, however, it is still too early to make firm statements about the added value of the taxi regulation and the quality mark. “However, it can be concluded that quality is difficult to maintain and that a control mechanism is difficult for the customer to create. It is also concluded that the taxi sector shows little responsibility for achieving quality improvements. On this basis, questions must be asked about the extent to which further quality improvement can be achieved.”

However, according to the municipality of Breda, there is still room for improvement. “A general picture emerges from the report that improvements are certainly possible and desirable in certain areas and that the effectiveness of the policy can be improved,” the Municipal Executive (B&W) writes in a letter to the Breda city council.

Follow-up actions The Commission therefore proposes two follow-up actions. One of those actions mainly focuses on enforcement. “Based on the evaluation results, we will soon start a Taxi Enforcement Focus pilot. This increases the effectiveness of enforcement and therefore also of the underlying taxi policy. Taxi drivers indicate that by far the most problems, during busy nightlife, occur at the Nieuwe Prinsenkade taxi stand. The taxi enforcement activities will therefore mainly take place there, on Saturdays of 00.01 until 04. 13 hours and from now on also on Friday nights from 01.00 until 13.00 hours”, according to the board.

A route that should lead to a new taxi policy is also possible, according to the municipality. “Based on the results of the evaluation, we will examine whether and how renewal of the taxi quality policy should take place. This concerns the taxi regulation itself, the detailed rules and the organization around it, including the role of the SKB taxi foundation.”

However, according to the Board, there is a catch with this option. In September next year, about 2019 percent of the current local taxi licenses will expire. “The adjustment of the taxi regulation should therefore be arranged before the summer of 2024. This includes the associated further rules and the associated organization. Further proposals for this will come your way at a later date”, the college promises the Breda city council.

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