The ANWB-AutoMaatje transport service was launched last February in the municipality of Oosterhout. Voluntary drivers bring their less mobile fellow citizens with their own car, for a fee of 30 cents per kilometre to their destination. Sometimes it is a short drive to, for example, the physiotherapist in the district, but sometimes there is a request for a journey at a greater distance. A lot is possible at AutoMaatje. It is a transport service, but it also has a social function. It's not just about the ride, but also about the social contact.
Piet de Vries seems to be an AutoMaatje in heart and soul. He tells his story with enthusiasm.
He has been living in Oosterhout for 1 year and is an advocate of the "caring society". He sees it as a social duty to help others. "And the word duty should not be taken too literally", Piet immediately falls for the door. "Then it sounds so negative and it isn't at all. Find something that suits you. Then you make someone else happy and with that you also do yourself a favor". Driving others is made for him. He likes to drive and has the time for it. "I do others a favor with my rides, but in the meantime I get to meet new people and get to know my environment. Thanks to AutoMaatje I have been to places where I would otherwise never go". Piet spends part of his free time with his children, but he still has enough time at his disposal and he likes to spend it in a meaningful way.
He goes shopping with one of his customers once a week at a fixed time. His furthest destination so far was a ride to the hospital in Roosendaal. When asked what he thinks of the social aspect of AutoMaatje, Piet spontaneously gives an honest answer. "Actually, I'm more into driving. I like to talk to people, but then it has to be about something. If I take people somewhere and something comes up that I find interesting, I definitely go into it" . Piet has a wide range of interests. "I know very little about a lot of things", he laughs, "but if it interests me, I like to find out how I can help someone. And I also learn a lot from my customers. Some of them really know a lot about Oosterhout".
Piet recently transported a lady of over 90 years, who needed a new passport, to the town hall. He noticed that she suffered from the limitations of her age. "Can you imagine how she must have felt when she ended up in that big hall? So I went in with that lady and got her a receipt from the machine. Then I went to the counter with her for a while and after a week we collected her new passport together." When he brought her home with her passport, the lady said: "with such help, it is less bad to grow old". And that was exactly the nail on the head with Piet. "That's what I do it for! If you can do this for someone, you can move forward, right?".
During his rides, Piet and his colleagues gain experience and that experience can be used to further improve AutoMaatje. He has already discovered a point that should receive more attention. During his rides, he regularly has to wait somewhere for his customer. While waiting, he has already been approached once by one of the city guards, because he was not in a regular parking lot.
"It would be very nice if AutoMaatje would be better known to people from the municipality, the police and the city guards. My customers usually have difficulty walking, so I would like to drop them off as close to the destination as possible, but then I can't always find a regular parking space. In that case, it would help if there were facilities for this. The parking attendant can see that I am driving for AutoMaatje, because there is a sticker on my car. Some leniency, in whatever form, would be in place". That's how it is.
Would you like to know more about ANWB AutoMaatje or are you less mobile and would you also like to use this transport service? Please contact Oosterhoutvoorelkaar.
Oosterhoutvoorelkaar, Arendshof 83, is available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM and on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Rides must be requested at least 48 hours in advance.
Phone: 0162-471115 Email: email@example.com