August 3, 2014

Unions object to amateur bus drivers

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:29 pm

buurtbus-syntus-michael-1988Currently more than ten percent of the bus drivers in the Netherlands work without pay, Volkskrant reports.

Volunteer drivers are used on unprofitable routes, or so the companies that employ them claim. On the other hand Labour union FNV Bondgenoten claims that the amateur drivers are putting paid bus drivers out of work.

Egmond Online writes that line 408 from Egmond-Binnen to Egmond aan de Zee currently employs over 40 volunteers. Els Geugies, chairwoman of Vereniging Dorpsbelangen Egmond-Binnen (Village Association Egmond-Binnen), says that volunteers don’t just drive: “We also need to make schedules, fill up on fuel and clean the bus inside and out.”

Last month the city of Rijsen started using people who are on welfare as cab drivers. Hermien ten Bolscher of cab company Taxi Gerritsen told RTV Oost there weren’t happy with the cheap competition: “As it happens we were also unemployed when we started [four years ago]. We have had to make some big investments in cars, licenses and other things. It is wrong that we now have to compete with cab companies that get subsidized.”

It’s not clear from the article whether the unemployed cab drivers are forced to work for free. None of the articles mention if the amateur drivers have received training.

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(Photo by Michael 1988, some rights reserved)

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February 21, 2014

Tuk-tuk makes hilly trip to nearest ATM machine

Filed under: Automobiles by Branko Collin @ 9:10 am

tuktuk-chris-mossIn the town of Vijlen in the southeasternmost part of the Netherlands, the local bank has shut down all the ATM machines. That is why resourceful villagers have started taking a local tuk-tuk service to Mechelen, 3 miles down the road, to get their cash, wrote last Tuesday.

The tuk-tuk, ran by a local volunteer organisation called Traag Heuvelland, has been operational for over two years. Originally it was used to cart tourists around, but these days it is popular with the local elderly in a quickly ageing area of the Netherlands.

The tuk-tuk operators have dubbed their service the ‘pinpendel’ due to its use as a bus service to and from an ATM machine. Viktor Terpstra told “We can take six passengers at a time. The ride takes about half an hour both ways including the money stop. There is a cafĂ© at the start of the route so that people who missed the tuk-tuk the first time around can have a cup of coffee while they wait.”

Rabobank closed ATM machines in eight villages in the South of Limburg last November because the machines weren’t used often and were difficult to secure against ‘ramkraken’ (ram-raiding).

(Photo of a tuk-tuk in China by Chris Moss , some rights reserved)

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