State Secretary Heijnen, in response to questions from the House in the Public Transport and Taxi Committee debate, informed about developments in the taxi sector. The promised investigation was completed and it appears that the taxi market has been hit hard by the decline in consumer demand for taxis. At the start of the pandemic there was about 90% less demand, in November 2021, the end of the study period, there was about half the demand for taxis than before corona.
The turnover of drivers decreased proportionally: on average they had 40 to 50% less turnover. Some of the taxi companies have anticipated the reduced demand by temporarily suspending vehicles (withdrawing them from the market) in order to save on insurance costs. Entrepreneurs can lift the suspension the moment they want to start working with their vehicle again. The vast majority of drivers have made use of financial support measures from the government.
For example, 78% of sole traders have made use of the Entrepreneurs Affected Sectors Covid-19 Compensation (TOGS). Information from municipalities shows that the vast majority of applications from drivers for the Temporary Bridging Scheme for Self-Employed Entrepreneurs (Tozo) have also been honoured. However, not all drivers meet the conditions for support. Reasons for this are, for example, too high a turnover, too few fixed costs, or the partner's income.
Leasing companies and insurers have offered leniency measures to drivers. For example, insurers affiliated with the Dutch Association of Insurers (more than 95%) use a 'framework for entrepreneurs in need' to avoid debts to drivers as much as possible. The Tax and Customs Administration has also granted deferment of payment: the percentage of drivers making use of this has increased from 11 to 25%. The average amount for which deferment has been granted was almost 2021 euros in September 7.000.
Thanks to the support measures, leniency, help from family, use of own resources and a lot of perseverance, the industry has managed to weather the crisis. Now that the corona restrictions have been lifted, the road to recovery, which, according to the investigation, had already started in 2021, can be continued. In the evaluation of the taxi legislation, which the State Secretary will start this year, Heijnen will include how the taxi market has recovered in 2022 after the corona crisis.
With the report, it also implements the motion of member Van Baarle (DENK) in which the government is requested to re-enter talks with lease and insurance companies in order to offer leniency to taxi drivers who have found themselves in a bind. That happened. New discussions have taken place in the context of the present investigation.