Taxi transport in Amsterdam was a constant source of contention. While services were provided by private enterprises, usually up to four large ones and a number of one or two car enterprises, the sector was - usually badly - regulated by the city. One of the earliest large enterprises was Eerste Nederlandse Taxi-Auto Maatschappij (ENTAM), established in 1912. Contrary to other companies, using electric cars, ENTAM stuck with petrol-using cars. This turned out to be a handicap, as petrol engines were handicapped by shortages in the first world war and even banned in December 1917. After almost a year, peace returned and the petrol engine staged a come-back, to defeat electric cars. The economic crisis of the thirties created a system of low wages and high prices, dear to the taxi companies, but the source of a number of strikes and "taxi wars", mainly against small companies.
The second world war resulted in taxi oversupply of potentially unemployed small drivers, which cornered them in a position where they could not fold their business, irrespective of kilometer price, as there was no alternative employment for them. The city decided to reduce the number of licenses by attrition.
In that atmosphere, the director of ENTAM, J.H. Elkerbout, started a new taxi company, which was presented as a "model" taxi company that would offer decent labour contracts. Drivers would be license holders as well as shareholders, hence the name Algemene Amsterdamse Aandeelhouders-Chauffeurscombinatie (AAAC) - General Amsterdam Shareholder-Driver Combination. It was most excellent timing: the largest Amsterdam taxi company had gone bust in 1954. Elkerbout convinced the city to transfer its licenses to his new company for free and provide a credit guarantee for ƒ300 000 as well. He spent part of the money by letting AAAC buy ENTAM, his own company. He sold back 17 of his combined 127 licenses to the city at market value (ƒ5 000 per license) of as a contribution to its attribution policy. Clever? It probably didn't hurt that the same Mr. Elkerbout was a member of the Amsterdam City Council and a member of its Committee on Rental Cars.
Elkerbout struck again in 1958. The City Council, of which he was still a member, decided to diminish the number of licenses by 15%. The decision united all Amsterdam taxi companies against AAAC; to no avail. Nevertheless, in 1966, AAAC had to be liquidated. Elkerbout was unfazed. He offered his AAAC licenses to all comers for "only" ƒ15 000, on the condition that drivers would buy a Ford car for ƒ9 000. The Ford dealer? Elkerbout, of course. Some City Council members objected, but once more, the city allowed Elkerbout his profit, even when the licenses had been issued to him virtually free.
|Algemene Amsterdamse Aandeelhouders-Chauffeurscombinatie|
|Side 1||A.A.A.C in swirl|