Statement | Intervene in student transport in Rotterdam!

Renske is usually picked up at school by the Trevvel student transport sometime between 2.30 and 3.00 p.m. Now nothing is certain. In the morning we have to wait and see when Trevvel comes. And if he comes. The same in the afternoon. Recently she had to wait until 6pm at school. But no taxi came. Renske’s teacher then took her home herself.

Since the beginning of this school year, the number of complaints received by the Ombudsman and Children’s Ombudsman about Trevvel has exploded. Too early, too late, or not showing up without notice, that’s what most complaints are about. And Trevvel cannot be reached to clarify. Parents and teachers who call Trevvel are put on hold indefinitely and then disconnected.

Pupil driving is intended for children with disabilities who cannot go to school themselves. In Rotterdam, Trevvel performs this task for the municipality. Children and young people tell me that because of Trevvel they are late for school. As a result, they miss lessons and tests. Parents say that they take stressed children out in taxis. And stress is not good for academic performance. So the problems with Trevvel are not only annoying, they also put pressure on these children’s right to education.

More and more are affected by the failing student transport in Rotterdam. First and foremost, of course, the children themselves. For children who are interested in structure and regularity, the unpredictability of whether and, if so, when Trevvel will come is extra difficult. And it is also difficult for their parents.

They have problems at work. Coming to work later or leaving earlier, employers can understand that. But after a while, not all employers tolerate it anymore. And what does a parent do? He will work less to pick up his child himself. And that can lead to financial problems.

Students who use transportation have already made a number of suggestions for improvements: Make sure the app works well

The teachers also suffer from the problems with student transport. Usually most children are taken by taxi within half an hour after school ends. Nowadays, it happens that there are still children waiting at five or six o’clock. The teachers spend a lot of time – in vain – getting in touch with Trevvel. Or they take the children home themselves. Precious time they cannot spend preparing for tomorrow’s school day.

What now? The youth councillor, who is ultimately responsible for pupil transport, works hard to arrange transport to school, where Trevvel does not. We will critically monitor whether this succeeds. And in the longer term? Student transport in Rotterdam is vulnerable. The tender was awarded to one party. If it doesn’t deliver, problems quickly pile up. Outsourcing such an important task to one party might not be such a good idea on reflection.

In that tender, somewhat higher requirements should also be placed on the drivers than just a driving licence, a taxi pass and a good conduct certificate (VOG). It takes a bit of a driver to drive a van with, say, seven children with behavioral problems in the back. Or get a companion ride in a large taxi as standard, that helps too. And what actually makes the tender contracts not public? Shouldn’t it be known what service has been promised? In any case, the municipality – and thus also Trevvel – has the task of bringing Rotterdammers who cannot do it themselves where they need to go. One time.

You will only get good service if you know what needs, questions and ideas the user has. So it is high time that the municipality together with Trevvel enter into a structural dialogue with users about what good service means to them. Not just once, but structurally.

Students who use transport have already given me a number of suggestions for improvement. Have a properly functioning app. The current app continuously provides incorrect information about when the driver will arrive and where he is. One student said the app sometimes indicates the driver is in Africa. Makes the driver’s job more attractive. By giving them more work and paying them well. And if that doesn’t help, fine Trevvel if the taxi is late.

Stan Goudsmit is the municipal ombudsman for children in Rotterdam, Albrandswaard, Capelle aan den IJssel, Hellevoetsluis, Krimpen aan den IJssel and Nissewaard

Leave a Comment