Background to the programme
The isolation of some people is so significant that public transport networks are not enough to overcome the obstacles to the successful completion of daily tasks (administrative procedures, shopping ...). Getting out of the house, even the neighbourhood, to take the bus or metro can be unthinkable for a person who’s cut off from any form of social connection. "Taxi Solidaire" is a solidarity mobility initiative. It was the idea of the Conseil Général du Nord and its operation was entrusted to the management of the Communal Centre for Social Action (CCAS) in Roubaix.
Objectives of the programme
- Create or recreate the social bond among people who are isolated
- Encourage the mobility of this public around Lille
- Reintegrate people who are cut off from employment in the professional world
- Provision of a vehicle, 4 days a week, for anyone in Roubaix who has difficulty travelling around and/or have very little resources to live on
- Requests made by interested people to the CCAS. Take account of their personal and financial situation
- Reasons for the trips: medical appointments, administrative paperwork, shopping ...
- Prices (price of public transport in the metropole): €1.50 for trips in Roubaix and €3 for those in the Lille metropole
- Payments: detachable tickets from a prepaid card worth €6
- Driver-companions: recruitment of people who are cut off from employment and are recruited on assisted contracts (contracts for a public who face difficulties in the labour market). In addition to their driving responsibilities, they accompany the beneficiaries to go to administrative offices, for example.
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
* 100 people registered including 30 who use the service regularly.
* The action mainly concerns the elderly.
* Testimony: a beneficiary told a driver that before the creation of the project, they hadn’t left their home for over 2 years.
- 2011-2014: 5 drivers who were helped, found employment.
- This practice is still in its infancy in urban areas given the highly developed public transport network.
- Few expenditures: the vehicle is second hand and the profits (cost of a ride) pay all the maintenance costs and petrol.
This kind of initiative only exists in rural areas and in Belgium. Taxi Solidarity is the only service of its kind in the entire Lille metropole. It goes beyond the traditional transport framework by meeting needs not always covered by public transport. Indeed, the human dimension and the support provided enables the beneficiaries to end their isolation but also for the driver to enhance their integration with the workforce.
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
- Managing the drivers’ schedules: additional task for the pre-reception agents from CCAS. Make sure that the appointments do not overlap.
- Ensure the continuity of the service despite the lack of personnel
- Handling cash: the drivers didn’t want to become involved for fear of being confronted with problems around stealing.
- Risks of competition with other sectors: taxis and home help services
- Turn over: as the employees are on subsidised contracts (renewable a limited number of times), the relationships created with the beneficiaries of the service are temporary.
- People with reduced mobility cannot be accommodated in the vehicle because of the expensive and complex technical adjustments necessary.
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
- Handling money: payment of journeys in the form of tickets
- Management of appointments: setting up of a computer schedule
Suggestions for future improvement :
- The Taxi Solidarity project is part of the voluntary help from CCAS. That’s why the team doesn’t want it to develop for fear of losing its viability.
- The town of Wattrelos contacted CCAS in order to set up a similar project that targets the elderly.
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
- The action must meet a real need in the region: it must also be well thought out so that it complements the local transport offer.
- Reflect on the method of staff recruitment: how should we recruit drivers? Should there be a driving test? Who takes these tests?