Children in special education are often picked up late: ‘Work must become more attractive, give drivers full-time contracts’

Pupils in special education often have to wait hours for transport. Royal Dutch Transport acknowledges the problems and calls for drivers to be offered a 40-hour work week: “It makes work more attractive”

In addition to the fact that students sometimes have to wait hours to be picked up, some are also structurally late to school. Elijah Delsink therefore offers a petition in The Hague tomorrow. Because of his autism, he uses his own transport and, as chairman of Elevinteresse Gymnasium, is committed to the pupils’ interests in secondary special education.

Three quarters of an hour late for school

Michelle Hess is the director of Sint Maarten, a school for special education in Utrecht. At her place, 10 to 15 students arrive late every day due to a lack of drivers. “They are there at a quarter past nine instead of nine-thirty. They miss important lessons,” she says.

The students are often picked up late. “Then they’re in the school yard at half past four, and at some point we bring them back in, because they still haven’t been picked up. It’s annoying for the students, but also for the teachers. It creates even more for them. workload.”

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Many drivers left during corona

“The problem has gotten worse over the past year,” says Bertho Eckhardt. He is chairman of Royal Dutch Transport (KNV) and also sees the problems in transport for special education.

Eckhardt explains that much has been quiet during corona. “When normal life started again, many drivers were gone because companies had to downsize to cut their costs. The drivers who left are not coming back. With this tight labor market, you can’t just pick and choose drivers from anywhere.” He is at a loss to give an exact number, but it would certainly be a shortage of hundreds of drivers.

Short working days

Drivers in special education now often only have short working days, says Eckhardt. “You have a peak moment at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day. In between, you have nothing to do. It’s small tasks with a few hours.” According to the chairman of KNV, that should change.

According to him, it can be solved by fragmenting health transport less. In addition to transportation for special education, there are other rides that fall under this transportation. Bertho Eckhardt sees that municipalities often tend to offer all these different forms of care transport separately.

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Full 40 hour job

One carrier runs the WMO tours, the other runs special education and yet another company takes people to the hospital. “If you wanted to combine that and let a company in a municipality be responsible for all the care transport, you could create full-fledged jobs for the drivers in 40 hours.”

“This prevents you from having all vans from different companies driving behind each other, which is also not logical from a sustainability point of view,” says Eckhardt.


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Long waiting times CBR

He also argues for expanding work and study courses. “As a sector, we have a campaign to promote the driving profession. Fortunately, people respond to that. These people have to take an exam in practical and theory. They can get four months exemption from this, in a learn-work path.”

“It is often just too short to pass both your practical and theory exams in the four months. This is also connected to the long waiting times at the CBR. We should extend the learning-work courses to one year, so you can just get your papers over one year.”

‘Also look at indications’

The chairman of the branch association also mentions that it is important to see if all students who use student transport really need it.

“You’re talking about students you’re training into adulthood, and some can even use public transportation. Sometimes we hear stories from students who are actually quite good at it.”

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