In the Netherlands there are two kinds of transport by taxi: the familiar street taxis and the contract hire taxis. The latter provide transport for elderly people, the disabled and pupils of special schools. These taxis and minibuses are also suitable for wheelchair users.
To improve the quality and image of taxi services for consumers, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment recently drew up new rules. The Taxi Act that came into force in October 2011 is of particular importance. The Taxi Act sets out requirements for taxi companies and drivers. Furthermore, the Act gives local municipalities the power to develop their own quality policy for street taxis in addition to national rules. Therefore, local problems with taxis can be dealt with more effectively. One of the biggest changes is the opportunity for municipalities to oblige taxi drivers to form a group as a requirement to access the local market. They can also impose an obligation to accept all rides from taxi ranks to prevent the refusal of short trips.
The government of the Netherland fixes the tariff system and the maximum rates for street taxis. In October 2011 a new tariff system came into force. The most important change is that the duration of a taxi ride plays a role in calculating the price. This means the price consists of a starting rate, a time rate and a distance rate. Moreover, the client will receive a mandatory receipt at the end of the trip.
Finally, the introduction of the on-board computer is a major change for taxis. This device registers the driving times and rest periods of the driver automatically. It helps to reduce paperwork and time consuming inspections; in addition, the risk of fraud is significantly diminished. After a transition period, the on-board computer will be compulsory for all taxis by the end of 2013.
Concerning contract hire taxis, a project has been carried out during 2009 – 2011 to improve the quality of this type of transport. This is especially of relevance since the passengers transported are not always capable of standing up for their rights. In co-operation with all parties involved, instruments have been developed to improve the tendering and monitoring of contracts.