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Due to the demands that interest groups continue to submit to ministers, parents are starting to pound their fists on the table more and more

The 10th edition of Student Transport Day, which was originally planned for November 2023, but was postponed due to the coincidence with the national elections, will now take place on January 25, 2024 in Concertgebouw De Vereeniging in Nijmegen. This conference highlights the crucial aspects of student transport and brings together experts to shape the future of this field.

Day chair Carolien Aalders, initiator of 'De Reiskoffer', will lead the event and will provide a sharing session on case studies. The influence of her work is significant, partly due to the challenges and criticisms from bodies such as “Parents and Education” and the “Interest Association for students in the VSO”.

As early as 2008, Carolien Aalders advocated in the Ministry of Internal Affairs for a less prominent use of the taxi van for children in special education. "In my view, there is no shortage of drivers at all, but there are too many users of taxi transport," says Aalders.

An important theme this year is the political pressure surrounding student transport. The view of the Association of Dutch Municipalities (VNG) on this will be discussed in detail. René Peters, Member of Parliament for the CDA, will share his perspective, given his background in education and experience as a former councilor.

The Royal Dutch Transport (KNV) will also be present to discuss the challenges and possible solutions in student transport. Their insights are critical, especially in light of driver shortages and other operational issues.

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The conference also addresses broader social misconceptions surrounding student transport. The focus is on encouraging independent travel for those students who can, leaving room for those who are actually dependent on specialist transport.

Communication with parents and caregivers is another critical point. Linda Zwetsloot, expert in communication training, will share insights into effectively engaging in these conversations, an often underestimated aspect of student transportation.

The conference also focuses on policy aspects, such as procurement. The Mobility Tender Institute (AIM) will discuss the complexities and necessary points of attention in this process. Henk van Gelderen and Joris de Vries introduce those present to the world of tendering.

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Photo: © Pitane Blue - Chairman of Royal Dutch Transport Bertho Eckhardt

Various speakers, including Bertho Eckhardt (KNV) and Petra Raaijen (VNG), will share their experiences and insights. Furthermore, Edwin de Bruin from Connexxion, an important player in the transport field, will share his expertise on the practical aspects of student transport.

Linda Germs, chairman of the “Upside van Down Foundation” and mother of Lukas, will speak about the travel options for children with Down Syndrome, and the role of the foundation in promoting a realistic image of this group.

Maarten van der Weijden, Olympic and World Long Distance Swimming Champion, will enrich the conference with his inspiring story about perseverance and overcoming challenges. Finally, Kim Schrijvers, founder of Eliakim Information Technology BV, will share insights about technological support for student transport.

This conference promises to be a versatile platform for discussion, knowledge sharing and proposing solutions to the challenges in student transport.

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