We cannot really count on target group transport if we are to believe KNV. The trade association even calls on clients to be 'lenient' when they see that their clients are not transported on time or even not at all. Due to a lack of drivers, rosters cannot be filled in optimally. According to Bertho Eckhardt, chairman, that problem is KNValso the client's problem. After all, we have to 'solve' the problem together, it sounds like. In order to do that, it is important to first analyze the problem. Where has it gone wrong in recent years? Why have taxi drivers en masse said goodbye to the sector?

Bertho Eckhardt (chairman KNV)

It was a bit of a shock for clients after hearing that the staff shortage at the carrier will be on its own plate. When issuing the tender, you certainly did not expect that your own employees of daytime activities would have to drive the van themselves to take the clients home because the carrier is not able to find staff. To solve the problem of the taxi company, rental vans are installed at the day care center in order to solve the problem of the taxi company. I remember the Arduin case in Middelburg in Zeeland, where this was the beginning of the end as a solution to the mobility problem. Although for a completely different reason, from savings on the transport budget, employees and volunteers were deployed to transport the clients from daytime activities to the homes. It turned out to be a disaster, a real chaos conceived and directed by a consultancy firm. A project leader from outside the transport sector who came to tackle this problem for a while and disappeared from the scene during the solution.

Issues

It would be better for the taxi sector itself to solve the problems structurally. After all, the sector is not waiting for constructions with rental vans for daytime activities that should solve the problem. We are strong in the Netherlands to applaud entire professional groups, but rewarding the same group is another matter. And that is exactly where the shoe pinches. Aging is not an issue here. On the contrary, many taxi drivers in seated care transport or student transport are not the youngest. But the passion and pleasure that this profession shows every day is indescribable. Often not seen by the employers, but all the more by the clients. These people are the fixed values ​​of a taxi company who deliver a business card for the entrepreneur every day.

Uber

Uber had to incur significant costs in the second quarter of this year to get drivers back who left the company earlier. This resulted in a quarterly operating loss of more than half a billion dollars for the company. Many drivers stopped driving for Uber earlier because the demand for rides had fallen sharply as a result of the corona pandemic. In the past quarter, the company pulled the wallet hard to entice them to return. Taxi company and meal delivery company Uber seems close to the moment when the American company is finally really profitable. If it actually works for Uber to become profitable now, that would be a boost. Until now, the company had spent so much money on investments in the future that more was spent than came in through normal business operations. Uber also chose to expand to services other than the original taxi app. For example, through Uber Eats, the company is now also an important player in the field of meal delivery. This strategic choice probably caused profitability to take a little longer.

Employers

“Employers only know how to exploit the workforce,” a common statement among taxi drivers. The question is whether this is really the case or whether the disadvantages of tendering have become clearly visible. The sector has been saying for years that they drive at rock-bottom prices, but never asks who caused these tariffs. No tender has ever stated that it had to be done at the bottom price, with no room left to pay the driver a decent hourly wage. Shortages are not solved by making clients more flexible. Taxi companies struggle to fill vacancies. In the meantime, everyone has often seen them driving. Taxi vans with the promotional text 'colleagues wanted' on the back. Training is even offered for free by companies like Omnibuzz.

Support

Most corona restrictions were lifted by the cabinet, as a result of which most support measures were stopped. Due to the corona crisis, the shortage of drivers has faded into the background, but it is not new and certainly not caused by the pandemic. It has now only been strengthened as many drivers left the sector. It is not an issue that can wait now, action must be taken now. Trade unions are aiming for a structural wage increase during the collective labor agreement negotiations. Many entrepreneurs recognize the need for an increase in driver wages. Nevertheless, the division in the sector between street taxi and seated care transport is large. What looks normal for one industry is no longer affordable for another because of the many waiting hours. 

The shortage of taxi drivers is not a new problem for the taxi industry. Secondment companies have been trying to respond to this for years. Applying today means driving tomorrow or starting training immediately, while waiting for the temporary driver's pass. But why would you, as a taxi driver, offer your services through a secondment company in a sector where there is a major shortage of personnel? You look for a great new job and future directly with an entrepreneur you can rely on. The driver shortage will not be solved overnight. 

Read also: Uber taxi drivers turn off app and go on strike

shortage of taxi drivers is not a new problem for the taxi industry
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