Anyone who has visited Thailand knows what a Tuk Tuk (pronounced as ‘TookTook’) is: a covered, but open-air motorized vehicles that is ideal for short stints from A to B.
Since August last year, 20 of these handy taxis are criss-crossing downtown Amsterdam. Operated by the start-up TukTuk Company, the vehicles were first introduced in the beach resort of Zandvoort. Currently they can be found in The Hague as well, with Rotterdam (and other places in the Netherlands) soon to follow.
They can be hailed on the street or ordered by phone (0900 99 333 99 — €0.55 per call).
The comfortable TukTuks are roomy enough to carry 3 people, or 1 or 2 people with some luggage.
Rates for the TukTuks are based on city zones and the number of passengers: One passenger traveling within one zone pays €3,50. Two passengers, one zone: €5,00. Three passengers, one zone, €6,00. Each extra zone: €3,00 — regardless of the number of passengers.
Competition for the Taxi?
TukTuk Company founders Geert Kloppenburg and Martijn Beversluis do not view their TukTuks are competition for — or replacement of — regular taxis (though many people, disgusted with the Taxi Wars, may wish otherwise).
“We’re here mainly for people who normally take the tram or bus,” Kloppenburg says, stating that research shows 95 percent of his customers normally never take a taxi.
That said, it appears that a growing number of savvy travelers call for ride while their train nears Amsterdam Central Station.
Recently the city even investigated the possibility giving the TukTuks their own rank at or near the station. However, that plan came to nothing. The councilman in charge claims there currently simply is no room for it, while at the same time stating that he is to make room for an ‘environment-friendly rank.’ TukTuks are welcome there as soon as the electronic version — under development by the company in association with Technical University Delft and TNO — is a fact.
Due to the expense involved in developing the electronic version, this may take a while. (Incidentally, TukTuks are named after the sound of their engines.)
Beversluis says the company now considers approaching GVB, the company licensed to operate Amsterdam’s buses, trams and metros to see whether there might an opportunity to share the GVB’s Opstapper rank at Central Station. The Opstapper is a small bus that, unlike regular buses, can stop anywhere along its route its riders desire.
Call: 0900 – 99 333 99 (€0,55 per call)
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