Bicycle taxi service for Ghent seniors

With the support of the City of Ghent, TriVelo is trying out a new concept in the Sluizeken-Tolhuis-Ham district: a bicycle taxi service for their seniors who cannot walk a lot by themselves. Volunteers pick up local residents with a trio bike to take them to the store, for example. 

The initiative is based on a few residents of Ghent who are committed to sustainable mobility. They want to let the elderly enjoy the experience of cycling again and stimulate social contact since it is not easy for those who cannot walk a lot to maintain social contacts. For the time being, the local service center De Thuishaven is the main operating base, but there are others as well who are showing interest in  TriVelo rides.

“During the ride, people can have a chat with their fellow passenger and with the volunteer who is transporting them. This way they come into contact with other local residents and enjoy some company”, said Saar Fivez from TriVelo.

The trio bikes have two passenger seats at the front. The volunteers who drive the bicycle are a mix of residents of Ghent and newcomers. This is also one of the goals of TriVelo: to facilitate the integration of newcomers. Via the bicycle rides, they come into contact with local residents and can immediately practice their Dutch.

TriVelo works together with IN-Gent and Refu Interim, which helps refugees and newcomers to find work. They all receive a short training in which they learn to ride a trio bike safely and receive tips on how to chit chat with their passengers.

“Through this initiative, we broaden the horizon of the elderly and less mobile people. Thanks to the taxi bike, they are less vulnerable in traffic, and it is also a fun experience. In addition, it is good for the environment and promotes the integration of newcomers”, said Rudy Coddens, Alderman for Senior Citizens.

The City of Ghent is supporting the pilot project with 2,000 euros. The Bicycle Embassy of the City of Ghent lent the three trio bicycles. If an evaluation of the pilot project is positive, the initiators and the City of Ghent will also roll it out in other Ghent neighborhoods.

“Cycling is very social. You come into contact with other people and with the neighborhood through which you cycle. I am pleased that we can offer our less mobile elderly people this opportunity”, said Filip Watteeuw, Alderman for Mobility.

 

 

Photo source: stad.gent