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The legal options for refraining from tendering have proven to be limited.

The State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport, Maarten van Ooijen, has informed the House of Representatives about the progress of the Target Group Transport Improvement Agenda. This agenda, set up in collaboration with, among others, the Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, and the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG), focuses on tackling the challenges within target group transport. Target group transport, which includes students, the elderly and people with disabilities, faces various problems such as driver shortages and long travel times for children.

The improvement agenda has identified five main themes that will be given priority in 2024. These themes are: tendering and contract management, decompartmentalization of transport, customer satisfaction, data collection, and supervision of quality and safety. Good tendering and contract management are crucial for high-quality target group transport. The tender manual helps municipalities to assess tenders, not only on price but also on quality. Specifically for student transport, it is recommended to include maximum travel times and a maximum number of drivers per student.

The legal options for refraining from tendering have proven to be limited. It Oberon Report indicates that parents give an average of 7 for student transport, but bottlenecks remain, especially at the start of the school year. Quasi-insourcing, as applied in the Gooi- en Vechtstreek region, offers an alternative in which the municipality organizes transport itself in the absence of market parties.

dismantled

Decompartmentalization of transport means integrating different forms of target group transport, so that, for example, the transport of Wmo users, students and the elderly can be organized more efficiently. This requires good cooperation within municipalities and an integrated approach to tenders. Regional tenders can help with this by increasing contracts and making the driving profession more attractive.

Customer satisfaction is measured by a uniform barometer, comparable to the customer barometer of public transport. This uniform survey helps to gain national insight into satisfaction with target group transport and offers municipalities the opportunity to learn from each other.

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The use of it Dictionary Traveler Characteristics contributes to better communication between the parties involved and ensures that carriers can submit a more realistic quotation. The use of this dictionary will be mandatory for Valystransport, a supra-regional transport service for social-recreational outings.

Data collection is essential for effective policy interventions. Together with the State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment and the Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, we are investigating how the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) and the Knowledge Institute for Mobility Policy (KiM) can contribute to this.

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Stephan van Baarle
Photo: © Pitane Blue - Stephan van Baarle (DENK)

During the debate on student transport in October 2022, Member of Parliament Van Baarle (DENK) submitted a motion asking to explore how supervision of student transport, Valys transport and Wmo transport can be promoted. Supervision is an essential part of the proper implementation of target group transport and plays a role in guaranteeing both the quality of service and the (social) safety of passengers.

The part of supervision Within the Improvement Agenda Target group transport is crucial to guarantee the quality and safety of transport for specific target groups, such as students, the elderly and people with disabilities. Supervision ensures that the agreed norms and standards are actually complied with and offers the opportunity to intervene in a timely manner in the event of any problems.

Improving social safety within target group transport is a priority. This can be done, for example, by introducing measures that increase the safety of passengers and drivers. This includes the use of security cameras in vehicles, training for drivers to deal with difficult situations, and strict adherence to behavioral protocols.

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taxi rules

Driver shortages remain a major problem in the transport industry. Campaigns to recruit drivers and changes to taxi rules are being looked at to make it easier to take a taxi exam. Discussions with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) should explore options to make working as a driver more financially attractive.

Monitoring the quality of service and travel time is also of great importance. This includes monitoring punctuality, vehicle condition, and passenger satisfaction. By means of regular checks and audits can be used to determine whether the carriers meet the set quality standards. Moreover, adjusting policy based on the results of these checks helps to continuously improve services.

The implementation of improvements lies largely with the municipalities, which are the clients for target group transport. Good examples and actions aimed at decompartmentalization, tendering and contract management are stimulated and supported by a driving team.

Specific points for improvement focus, among other things, on transport to Wmo day care and student transport. The Student Transport Monitor provides insight into the size and quality of student transport, with further measurements planned for 2024 and 2026. Attention is also paid to independent travel through public transport ambassadors and projects that improve the accessibility of public transport.

The House of Representatives will be held in the spring of 2025 informed about the achieved results of the Target Group Transport Improvement Agenda.

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