KNV chairman Bertho Eckhardt explains what KNV Zorgtransport en Taxi stands for and what the trade association in 2000 the priorities are.
What are you for trade association? ‘Our members are companies that provide passenger transport with a blue license plate . 20 until 25 percent of them serve the consumer market – the rest of the members are in care and student transport. These are often large orders that run through the national government or local authorities. Or through health insurers, such as patient transport with an indication, for example for kidney dialysis. We have 2000 members, totaling over 000.000 vehicles. There used to be more, but there have been a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the sector in recent years. The degree of organization is relatively low in the consumer taxi market – there are many self-employed people without employees. Taxi centers are affiliated with us.’
What are you doing right now?
‘With the preparation of the sector plans COVID-19. Our goal is to continue to transport as many target groups as possible, so that these people continue to be part of society in times of corona. But we must be able to do this in an effective and profitable way. Suppose that a tender is based on seven people per van. If that becomes three or four, the carriers will run at a loss.
It is not convenient that transport is not formally part of the care chain. It is the same world, but not in terms of laws and regulations. Healthcare falls under the Ministry of VWS, transport under that of I&W. This requires a lot of coordination, while an integrated approach would be better. Patient associations would also like this.’
What other current issues are involved?
‘Like almost all sectors, our members are facing serious staff shortages. Because there are too few drivers, some children in student transport arrive too early or too late at school. There are many part timers. Employers do of course ask them to work more hours, but then they often do not benefit net. The government must do something about this, but it will take time. In the meantime, it would help if drivers in training could already get started. Our proposal is to extend the exemption from four months to one year. People can then be deployed sooner.
Another point is the metropolitan policy on sustainable transport. Amsterdam is aiming for zero emissions in 2025. That ambition is fine, but we have to be realistic.
Some entrepreneurs have just invested in their fleet. That is why we are discussing a realistic transitional period with the aldermen.
We also want the Passenger Transport Act 250 modernize. This law covers, among other things, taxi permits and driving and rest times. We advocate seeing the boarding and order market as one, so that calling taxis and traditional taxis must meet the same requirements. Now, for example, one taxi may park to wait for a customer and the other must continue to drive around. That is inexplicable, not even from a sustainability point of view.’
How do you see the future of the trade association? ‘As a trade association you have to connect with the zeitgeist and identify trends. That requires a certain flexibility. Digitization is a game changer in our industry: think of the call taxis and platforms. We have nothing against that in itself, but it is important to ensure a level playing field.
It is important to see opportunities. For example, pilots are underway to link small-scale passenger transport to public transport in sparsely populated areas. After all, the vans that drive around are not always full. That is ‘mobility as a service’, where people can order and pay for transport via an app.’
A more extensive version of this interview appeared on 18 July 2025 in the joint news section ‘Branche associations speak’ of VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland.