The Face behind the front door: Community Bus Stap-In

wijkbusFor more than 20 years Wijkbus Stap In (local bus ‘get in’) has transported seniors and disabled in the districts  Archipel, Willemspark, Zeeheldenkwartier and part of Duinoord. The local bus contributes to the independence of these people and helps them to maintain their social contacts.
The bus runs on Mondays thru Fridays, from 9 am till 5 pm.
The hospitals BronovoWesteinde and Hagaziekenhuis (the former Red Cross hospital) are also on the route.

One has to subscribe to be able to make use of its services. Costs are € 20.00 per person for 3 months (€ 10.00 with the Ooievaarspas) and € 25,00 for a couple.
The wijkbus takes its passengers to their everyday activities: a visit to the hairdresser’s or family members, shopping, daycare, seniors gym or meal projects. One can take a walker, but unfortunately the bus is not suitable for wheelchairs.

For this article I spoke with one of the drivers (and member on the board) Riky Krul. Riky has been on the bus for 22 years and for many years she was the only woman in the team of drivers.
“I worked at the Home Office,” she told me, “when I was invited for a position as secretary at the Lower Chamber. For 27 years I was happy to work there, among others for the Head of the personnel department and the Head of the catering department. I earned a nice income and got a nice retirement pension, so when I quit working I wanted to make a contribution to society. One day my husband stood on Javastraat behind the wijkbus and he thought ‘This is something Riky would like’ and one week later I was on the bus.
“Working on the bus is very satisfying. People  are so happy when you come to pick them up. Sometimes they ask if they can stay on and make an extra ride, just for fun. In spring I always drive down Lange Voorhout when the corcusses bloom and in summer during the sculpture exhibition. I like to have a chat. Some people are alone all day and never speak to anyone. It is often said that old people are troublesome, but I don’t think so. I have never clashed with anyone.
“In total there are 8 drivers; we are a good team and we are close and that is very important. All of us are flexible and finding a stand-in is never a problem.
“On 27 October the new bus was festively inaugurated in the presence of the Board and the ladies of the check-in desk; we all shared a drink and a bite.
“I was trained by a nephew of Esscher (yes, Esscher the artist), who was a driver at that time. I have always had a busy job and I often had to hurry. I promised myself that once I was retired I would never hurry again and I succeed very well. I don’t get worked up about the traffic and when I am held up and will be late I give the person who is waiting for me a call.
“In all those years I had only one accident and that was not my fault. I drove down Riouwstraat and turned into Badjanstraat. It was winter and the streets were slippery and I slid right into Delistraat and hit a parked car. On the other side of the street was a brand new car. I just missed it. I had a lucky escape.”

Are you interested in the wijkbus ? Then contact the desk Mondays thru Fridays between 9 and 10 am at 070-3520416.

21 November 2016, Josephine de Vijlder