Example of a flying taxi. Photo for illustration.Photo: Shutterstock/Ashishtobu

Boeing is going to make small electric planes that can fly without a pilot. That said board member Marc Allen of the American aircraft manufacturer on Tuesday during the Amsterdam Drone Week (ADW) in the RAI. These are aircraft that can transport a maximum of four people between different cities over short distances of no more than 145 kilometers. Boeing wants more people to fly this way.

Initially, the aircraft will be used for cargo flights, but Boeing is also developing aircraft for passenger transport. According to Allen, 29 percent of people worldwide have never flown. “We want to give more people the opportunity to fly. Passenger transport is a major challenge, especially in densely populated areas,” he says. With electrical devices, the aircraft manufacturer wants to meet the European climate target to be climate neutral in 2050.

The aircraft must fly without pilots, but will be monitored remotely. Partner company Wisk has now 1600 carried out test flights with this type, says Allen. According to him, that device is ready for certification.

Medicines The European Commission (EC) wants to make it possible to 1600 transport people between different cities in drones. Last November, the EC adopted a vision on the further development of the European drone market. It states, among other things, that air taxis must be able to fly completely autonomously, but that the first drone taxis will have a pilot on board. The drones must also be able to be used to deliver medicines.

Policy In Europe, tests are already being carried out with taxi drones with pilots, but still without passengers, says Nynke Lipsius, director of the ADW. According to Lipsius, this is already going “very well”. She points out that there are already European traffic rules, rules that aircraft must comply with and rules about which pilot’s license pilots must have. However, it still has to be agreed where drones are allowed to fly. “Municipalities and provinces will have to work on policy for the use of drones.”

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Co-owner Dave Theunissen with the members of Grid. Photo: Grid

Taxi cooperative Grid, last year one of the nominees for the Taxi Innovation Award, is looking for a new driver. This objective must be achieved within a few months, otherwise the organization will choose to pull the plug on the cooperative.

“Our financial resources are slowly but surely exhausted,” says Theunissen. “Time catches up with us. This is the reason for the board to set other priorities and to park Grid. That does not mean that we pull the plug. If there is anyone who believes in the concept and sees new opportunities for Grid, we are open to a discussion about this. If this does not happen, we will eventually dissolve the cooperative.”

Investments “It also has to do with my private situation,” Dave Theunissen clarifies to TaxiPro. “I just don’t have time to pull Grid even further off the ground.” According to Theunissen, the financial aspect also plays an important role in this. “We have now invested in Grid for two years, with all the associated risks. It also includes private assets. At a certain point it starts to gnaw.”

According to Theunissen, this can mean two things: either looking for a party that wants to take over the leadership, or pulling the plug on the taxi cooperative. “We are looking for someone from the taxi sector who has a network in Amsterdam. Someone with administrative knowledge. Someone who is able to lead an organization. It doesn’t have to be a politician or a chairman of some association, but someone who sees the big picture.”

Thuishaven Theunissen wants to prevent the plug from being pulled from Grid at all costs. According to him, the cooperative was founded more than two years ago to offer the small independent taxi entrepreneur a home base. “Our intentions are to represent the interests of this group of drivers. We don’t want profit maximization, but profit optimization. At the moment, however, I do not see any organization within the taxi sector that has the same interests. At the administrative level, there are few who put the interests of our target group first. This year we still have to find a director who has the interests of our target group in mind, otherwise there will be no match.”

Preferably before the month of September, Theunissen quickly adds. If that fails, Grid will be disbanded. “And then it was fine. Then we had a nice ride, in which we gained a lot of experience. That is why we are where we are now. This not only applies to Ad and me, but also to all our members. We hope that all the energy we have put into Grid lives on”, concludes Theunissen.

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Volunteers drive with less mobile people in the AutoMaatje project. Photo for illustration. Photo: ANP/Roger Dohmen Photography

The municipality of Berg en Dal will start the voluntary transport service AutoMaatje in April. Forte Welzijn, a welfare organization in the municipality of Berg en Dal, reports this on their own website. AutoMaatje is currently busy recruiting volunteers who want to transport disabled villagers as a taxi driver.

‘More than a million people are becoming increasingly isolated from the outside world because their options to go outside are becoming increasingly limited,’ writes Forte Welzijn. ‘In the municipality of Berg en Dal, too, there are disabled and elderly residents who cannot provide their own transport. Not everyone can easily reach a bus stop or have family nearby who can drive. Then it is nice if a volunteer takes you from your home to your home for a small fee (0.35 euros per kilometer driven). appointment, for example to the doctor or the supermarket.’

ToekToek A number of villages within the municipality of Berg en Dal already have such a voluntary transport service. ‘For example, in Millingen, Leuth and Kekerdom you have the SWOM van, in Ooij, Persingen and Erlecom there is the Handyman Service and in the village of Berg en Dal there is of course the ToekToek.’ Other areas such as Beek, Groesbeek, De Horst, Breedeweg and Heilig Landstichting do not yet use such a transport service. ‘With the arrival of ANWB AutoMaatje they now also have transport.’

Forte Welzijn has been busy recruiting volunteer taxi drivers for a month now. Since then, the welfare organization has already received ten registrations. “Based on the experience data of the ANWB, we need fifteen, but we would like to be a little more flexible and ultimately aim for twenty volunteer drivers,” says Jesse Janssen of Forte Welzijn to De Gelderlander. From 15 April residents can use the voluntary transport service.

Water with the wine Abdelmonem Daoudi, who has his own taxi company in Groesbeek with Taxi 15, is not at all happy with the arrival of ANWB AutoMaatje in his local authority. He mentions the fare of 0.35 cents per kilometer driven. “Just look at competing against that,” he says. “It is a form of unfair competition, but what can you do about it?”

Daoudi is disappointed that the municipality has not looked at local taxi companies for this type of transport service. According to the entrepreneur, it was best to talk to him about a possible collaboration. He would even have wanted to compromise financially, Daoudi says. “They could also have come to us. Everything is negotiable. It would have been nice if they had approached local taxi companies for this first, especially given all the setbacks as a result of corona,” concludes Daoudi.

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Taxi stand at Frederiksplein in Amsterdam. Photo for illustration.Photo: Shutterstock/Dutchmen Photography

Amsterdam taxi drivers have united themselves and oppose the policy of the municipality of Amsterdam. The drivers feel that they can no longer carry out their work properly and are calling for a policy review. “As an executive branch, we would like to propagate the policy successfully.”

The action group has discussed this with Melanie van der Horst, traffic alderman in Amsterdam. The report of that conversation is in the hands of TaxiPro. The drivers state that the reason for the current problems is a malfunctioning taxi system. “There are also major concerns that future taxi systems will remain inadequate,” says the action group. “The reason for this is that the current policy regarding the taxi system is currently insufficiently aligned with practice. As an executive branch, we would like to propagate the policy successfully.”

According to the action group, taxi drivers in Amsterdam are currently unable to successfully propagate the policy, because they believe that an essential factor is missing: their involvement. “For example, our experience and perspectives from practice are not taken into account, so that the policy does not match the practical implementation. This results in the necessary frustrations for and between all parties involved, including passengers, agents, enforcers, municipalities, governments and residents.”

Fixed taxi ranks Although the action group expressed its dissatisfaction during the conversation with the alderman, they also say that they have put forward potential solutions. For example, the action group wants visible and permanent locations at hotspots, such as Rokin, Damrak, Amstel, Prins Hendrikkade, Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, Nieuwmarkt, Utrechtsestraat, Rembrandtplein, Blauwbrug and Stadhouderskade. “It is important that the pitches have sufficient capacity for both diesel and electric vehicles.”

According to the taxi drivers, this proposal would lead to fewer empty cars (and therefore less CO2 emissions), less nuisance and less work pressure for enforcers and the police. “They then have to enforce less on taxis that are parked in places where they are not allowed to stand.”

Tramway exemption In addition, the action group wants all tramways to fall under the tramway exemption. As a result, drivers have to make fewer detours, lower rates are created so that customers have to pay less for a ride and taxi traffic is better distributed across the city, according to the action group. “Of course we understand that the more kilometers are driven, the more this will result in taxi-related accidents.”

The drivers cite 2016 as an example, because the business license was abolished at that time. “This was when there was room for incompetence in the market and it was mainly driven from platforms. This is most likely not due to the TTO taxis, as these have actually decreased in numbers. There is, however, a correlation between the applications from 2016 for independent scheduled bus lane exemptions on the one hand and an increase in accidents on the scheduled bus lane on the other.”

New York model In addition to the tramway exemption, the action group wants an exemption from the stopping ban that is currently in force in Amsterdam. They argue for the New York model. “Taxis should always be able to park their taxi on the side of the street in safe places, without hindering other traffic, to drop off or pick up passengers.”

The action group also wants a postponement regarding electric driving to 2030. The taxi drivers claim to have missed two years of income due to the outbreak of the corona virus. They also believe that there is no subsidy to purchase such an electric car and that the revenue model of taxi drivers is at risk due to the rising electricity prices. “The financial-economic situation of the street taxi sector has been included in a study commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management (I&W). The report shows that 20 percent of the total street taxi sector, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, has accrued a debt ranging from 2016 to 87. euro.”

Participation Finally, the drivers want to have a say in every change that takes place within the Amsterdam taxi market. “We are the field workers of the taxi industry,” says the action group. “Ultimately, we are the frame of reference when it comes to the taxi problem and that is why we want a seat at the table. We drivers are fed up with the way things are going now and wish to find a solution together that satisfies all parties involved. It is time that we are taken seriously in our pursuit of better working conditions”, conclude the taxi drivers.

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State Secretary Marnix van Rij (Finance) during a debate in the House of Representatives.Photo: ANP/Hollandse Hoogte/Laurens van Putten

No irregularities were found in the investigation into the tax treatment of Uber by the Dutch tax authorities. This is what State Secretary Marnix van Rij (Finance) says in his answer to parliamentary questions posed by GroenLinks, PvdA and the SP. These parties wondered whether the investigation paints a complete picture of the situation, since, according to them, the investigation only focused on the internal working methods at the Tax Authorities and no independent investigation has been carried out into Uber.

The parliamentary parties of GroenLinks, PvdA and the SP therefore wanted to know from State Secretary Marnix van Rij whether it would be better to supplement the investigation with source material and conversations at Uber. “No, I do not share this view”, says Van Rij in his answer. During the investigation, according to the CDA minister, correspondence with Uber and reports of international consultations were also examined.

“In the context of the allegations of Uber’s tax advantage and violation of the tax confidentiality obligation, the investigation took a broad look at the actions of the Tax and Customs Administration. The research has been validated by external independent experts. At the request of these independent experts, the research group took a broader look at Uber’s tax treatment and possible agreements.”

No irregularities According to Van Rij, the conclusion of the investigation is that no irregularities were found. “The independent external experts endorse this. Or as they put it themselves: ‘The conclusion of the research report is that (in our words) Uber has no advantage occurred. Whatever Uber thought or hoped to get from deviating tax treatment, it failed.”

According to the State Secretary, the research group saw no reason to contact Uber, even after reports from various media, including NRC. That newspaper published an interview with former Uber lobbyist and whistleblower Mark MacGann, which, according to the three Senate factions, would show that Uber was not asked for data. “Based on the investigation, the external experts also saw no reason to do so,” says the CDA minister. “The allegations from the media were clear to the internal investigation group and could be contradicted. Incidentally, no new information has been offered to the Tax and Customs Administration.”

Hearing Finally, Van Rij’s three political parties wanted to know whether he would still like to conduct an independent investigation into this. The Secretary of State does not want to know anything about this for the time being. “The NRC article does not contain any (new) objective (tax) facts that show a favoring of Uber and that can be checked against the research report,” he argues. The article does, however, refer to tax deals, without specifying this. The investigation gives a clear picture with regard to the allegations that have appeared in the media: no irregularities have been found.”

However, Van Rij changes his position when new facts about this subject come to light on 12 March. Then there will be a hearing in the House of Representatives with Mark MacGann. “If the hearing with Mr MacGann in the House of Representatives on 12 March reveals new – relevant facts for the actions of the Tax and Customs Administration – come, I am of course willing to look into this within the framework of the duty of confidentiality and to exchange ideas with the House of Representatives”, concludes the CDA minister.

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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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Two students who storm the Eindhoven taxi market with their own company. That is the story of Sabur Mortazawi and Sofia Kouhestani. With Taxionspot, the two have set up their own transport company. They compare themselves to Uber, only better. In a few months they want to control at least fifty percent of the Eindhoven taxi market. In an extensive conversation with TaxiPro, they describe how they are going to achieve that goal. “If you take too big steps, things can quickly go wrong.”

About two years ago, taxi platform Uber made its appearance in Eindhoven. At the train station, Sabur Mortazawi, who was still a taxi driver at the time, saw the arrival of the taxi platform catch on. “As a student of technical business administration, I earned some extra money on the weekends as a taxi driver. My father and uncle were also taxi drivers, so I was brought up with that from home. As a driver, you sometimes stood in line for two to three hours at the taxi rank. At that time I saw that people coming out of the station no longer took a normal taxi, but waited fifteen minutes for their Uber to arrive. Why do they wait so long when there is a queue of normal taxis in front of them, I wondered.”

Transparency Mortazawi wanted an answer to that and decided to investigate this case himself. It turned out that passengers prefer to know in advance how much a ride will cost. “Uber was more transparent on this point than other taxi companies at the time,” says the entrepreneur. This was the starting point for both Mortazawi and Kouhestani, who met at school, to market Taxionspot. Although the company has been registered with the Chamber of Commerce for six years, the developed strategy has actually been implemented for the last two years.

They compare themselves to Uber. For example, Taxionspot, just like the originally American taxi platform, uses an app that customers can use to book a taxi and track their journey. However, there are also subtle differences. This is how Taxionspot works with self-employed persons and drivers who are employed. “Four drivers are employed by us on a permanent basis,” says Mortazawi. “But because there are many journeys, currently about thirty to forty a day, we also use freelancers. They can register as a driver via our app. In Eindhoven, approximately 24 drivers are now driving as self-employed persons for Taxionspot.”

Just like Uber , the Eindhoven taxi company asks a commission from the drivers per trip driven. “However, that percentage is much lower with us than with Uber. We use a commission of 07 percent. The price that the customer pays for a ride with us is also slightly higher, which means that drivers choose us rather than Uber.”

Eindhoven Taxionspot’s activities are currently limited to Eindhoven only. According to the two taxi companies, this was a well-considered choice. “Our first research focused on Eindhoven,” explains Kouhestani. “We looked at whether we could start in that city and that was the case. That worked out well. We would like to expand to cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam, but that is really something for the future.”

“Our strategy is to be stable in one city,” adds Mortazawi . “We want to have enough trips, so that taxi drivers can also generate sufficient turnover. The moment you have enough customers who continue to book rides, we move on to the next city. If you make too big steps at once, things can quickly go wrong. We currently serve about thirty percent of the Eindhoven taxi market. Ultimately, we want to control forty to fifty percent of that market. Then we can take the next step.”

Trip guarantee According to Sabur Mortazawi and Sofia Kouhestani, everything stands or falls with ride guarantee. Taxi drivers must be able to make enough trips so that they can earn as much money as possible. In order to realize this ambition, Taxionspot is expressly seeking cooperation with other companies. “We work together with three hotels. We have created a kind of dashboard for them, allowing them to book a taxi for their guests at any time of the day. The drivers employed by us receive those trips. If, for one reason or another, these drivers are unable to carry out this journey, it will be passed on to a self-employed person. Those hotel rides are always there. Taxi drivers who drive for us can always fall back on that.”

Sofia Kouhestani mainly focuses on business development within Taxionspot. “Think about setting up partnerships with other companies and managing stakeholders, for example. Sabur mainly focuses on managing our drivers and developing our app. Do we ever have friction with each other? Certainly,” says Kouhestani with a laugh. “That is part of it, but we always work it out. Communication is key in it. In the end, it’s all about Taxionspot. We have a goal and we keep it in mind.”

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The municipality of Oosterhout outsources gym transport for students to sports halls and gymnasiums. The municipality of North Brabant announced this via TenderNet. They are looking for a total of three contractors for an initial period of 24 months, with an option to extend for two times one year.

The assignment concerns the transport of (groups of) pupils from schools in Oosterhout to (municipal) sports halls/gym halls in Oosterhout and the core villages of Den Hout, Dorst and Oosteind. “Every year, a further agreement is concluded for gym transport through a mini-competition with one, two or three framework contractor(s), the municipality notes.

Oosterhout looks at, among other things, according to financial capacity, quality assurance and experience. Transport companies have until 1 May 03 to register for this assignment.

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The taxi drivers will drive in convoy across the Erasmus Bridge, among other places.Photo: Pixabay/neufal54

Various taxi drivers are organizing a demonstration in Rotterdam on Wednesday evening. About fifty drivers gather around 16.00 hours in the evening at the parking lot at De Kuip, after which they will drive through the city in convoy. With this protest, the drivers want to express their dissatisfaction with taxi platforms such as Uber and Bolt.

“For the first time, we as Rotterdam taxi drivers are holding a demonstration against Uber and Bolt. We want these platforms to leave the Netherlands,” says taxi driver Farid Rachid about the reasons for this protest. “You simply have to drive on the meter or make fixed price agreements, so that no crazy prices arise.”

Colonne The taxi drivers gather at 16.00 hours in the parking lot at De Kuip, the home base of football club Feyenoord. It is the intention that the drivers drive through the city in convoy. The Erasmus Bridge and Coolsingel, among others, are visited during this protest march. It is not yet known how many drivers will participate in the protest, but it is expected that about fifty taxis will participate in this demonstration. “We would be very happy with that,” says Rachid.

The demonstration was initiated by the taxi drivers themselves and was distributed in a joint WhatsApp group. According to Rachid, the Rotterdam taxi drivers were inspired by colleagues in Amsterdam. “They have been doing it there for a while, we are just starting. But what they can do, we can do too.”

No Chaos The taxi driver emphasizes that it is not the intention that there will be kicked. “We have indicated that everyone should just behave. Especially when we are driving. We don’t want chaos on the road or anything like that either. Do not expect reckless behavior from us, because we do not need that”, concludes

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Left former owner Richard Thijssen (now CITAX Den Bosch Electric) and right Rob de Haan, the new owner.Photo: CITAX Nijmegen

Rob de Haan has been the new owner of CITAX Nijmegen since the beginning of this month. He takes over from the retiring Richard Thijssen, who posted the news himself on LinkedIn. Thijssen in turn will continue his work at CITAX Den Bosch Electric.

“I moved to Den Bosch a few months ago for love,” says Thijssen about the decision to hand over the baton to Rob de Haan. “We went from one to six cars there within six months. I hand over my company, a bit with pain in the heart, to a starter who has good plans for CITAX Nijmegen. For example, he wants to expand the company a bit more, as it used to be. I no longer had that ambition myself, because I am already over sixty.”

Tesla’s “That’s why I’m glad I’m working again in the same city where I live,” continues Thijssen. “That combination is very nice. In addition, I am currently working with a colleague who drives electrically. We now have two Teslas, two Mercedes, a Seat and a Volvo. We can drive anything here, basically what we did in Nijmegen. There we had a total of twelve cars, thanks to collaborations with fellow taxi companies. We will also try to achieve that here in Den Bosch. That’s super fun.”

Meter Finally, Richard Thijssen has already identified the necessary differences between Den Bosch and Nijmegen. “Here in Den Bosch, for example, people drive more on the meter. In Nijmegen, on the other hand, everything has to be cheap, always price agreements. Here you have that a lot less. In addition, the price per kilometer driven is also a lot higher than in Nijmegen. That was of course also an important consideration that I took into account in my decision”, concludes Thijssen.

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