Not going to school by taxi anymore, but by public transport. The Eindhoven Municipality is testing whether some of the 800 students who use the special student transport system in this city can travel independently with the help of a special app.
The Municipality has offered 20 pupils who normally go to school with special transport the opportunity to travel independently using the GoOV app. The public transport app guides the user from door to door during their walking routes, at bus stops and stations. The pupil can see on their telephone what time the bus or train arrives, where and when to transfer, and at which stop or station to get off.
Trying out the app in the pilot project is Lisa Poldervaart. She has autism and has used a taxi for transportation to school for the last eight years. Lisa: “That way I know exactly what time I would be picked up and be home again. Now, if a bus is delayed, I will be home later than expected. It takes some time getting used to that.’
For the test phase, it is not only the students themselves who must deal with uncertainties. On the home front, their parents must also learn to let go. Tamara Polderman, Lisa’s mother, says, ‘In the beginning, I wondered whether it would be a good thing to send her to school by bus. My daughter is not in special education for nothing. She needs extra care. “
Lisa now goes to school every day by bus. The app works so well that, after practising with her brother, she travelled back and forth to Dordrecht by herself. “That was pretty scary,” Tamara thinks, “but it worked.” Her mother is happy to see her flourish.
The first three students, including Lisa, passed the test with flying colours. On Thursday, 21 February, they will receive a certificate from the City Councillor for Education, Stijn Steenbakkers.
Translated by: Chaitali Sengupta
Edited by: Melinda Walraven