The Wayward Bus

This article from Rhein Neckar Zeitung describes the travails of a culture-enriching bus driver in Germany who was thrust into the job with zero knowledge of the city’s bus routes.

Many thanks to Nash Montana for the translation:

Mannheim Bus strays through the city — driver didn’t know the way

Mannheim. One bus driver waits for running passengers, another doesn’t. One driver helps the elderly getting in, another one complains. Business as usual. But a bus driver being sent into the race completely ignorant of his schedule and his route is a new phenomenon. One reader told the RNZ about this very peculiar incident that took place in the late morning of August 26th.

“Even as I entered the bus, there was already a commotion. The passengers said the driver didn’t understand German and that he didn’t know the route,” Andre Holzheimer, who uses the line 710 regularly, explained. The line commutes between Brühl and the Mannheim Main train station and then goes back via Mannheim-Rheinau all the way to Schwetzingen-Hirschacker.

“The poor man was drenched in sweat and said that this was his first day as a bus driver. Apparently they just sent him off without any intensive training. I felt sorry for the man, who was obviously of Arab background. We had to keep telling him where the stops were and where he had to stop,” Holzheimer recounted. “The whole thing was reminiscent of a scavenger hunt.” Furthermore it was “the nastiest bus in all of Mannheim,” with numerous defects visible to the eye.

But what at first glance looked like sloppy employment soon revealed itself as an attempt to spare the bus passengers an even worse fate. “The commissioned subcontractor who supplies us with drivers was acting out of pure emergency,” Reinfried Vetter, Heidelberg chief comptroller of the BRN, justified the incident.

The 710 bus, returning from the Mannheim train station and heading for Schwetzingen, unfortunately ended up stranded at a road construction area and was late by more than 20 minutes. In order to avoid complete cancellation of the bus service, the subcontractor found a replacement driver and bus at the last minute,” said Vetter.

Normally there aren’t any problems with this subcontractor, whose name Vetter did not want to give on the record. All subcontractors have to prove route training for their drivers. Whether the bus driver — who probably won’t so quickly forget his first day on the job — will receive appropriate training is not known.

10 thoughts on “The Wayward Bus

  1. Amazing! The contractor somehow managed to locate a culture enricher with a work ethic!

    • The Pakistani culture enrichers of the 1970s and 1980s all had the bus driving work ethic and were also at that time becoming the dominant faces behind the wheel of ‘minicabs’ in some northern UK towns just before I bailed out of that unfortunate land. (Minicab was a catch-all term for an ordinary sedan used as a taxi as opposed to the traditional ‘black cab’). Even then it appears, suggested by the Jay Report, they were developing extra uses for taxis as a means of ferrying ‘groomed’ local children between ‘appointments’.

      They may working but few have ethics.

    • My guess is that the subcontractor put the immigrant on the job because he had nobody else to put there, and he figured that he could “defend” this as trying to help immigrants (gaining him immunity via the PC Police), whereas with anyone else on there, he’d lose the contract.

  2. A nice little taste of the future Germany. I would still feel safer in a Mercedes then a Yugo by a whisker though.

  3. I meet many Arab immigrants who are trying really hard to fit in and are happy to be out of the insanity. They want to do their jobs and give really good service.

    Anyone who is insisting on special treatment because of Islam is trouble. It is easy to separate the trouble makers. Let’s face it, if they want Islam, they have 57 other countries to go to.

    • First generation Muslim migrants often are ‘happy to be out of the insanity’. Then they send their children ‘home’ to marry a cousin and the insanity starts all over again.

  4. Not sure if this fits here, Baron- maybe tangentially?

    John Major’s Conservative govt in the UK (1990-7) privatised local buses. They also deregulated them, except in London (under strong advice from civil servants), where they remain controlled by Transport for London (TfL). In the early years, we were treated to buses in yellow (operator owned by a Hong Kong company- it’s a lucky colour to the Chinese), grey/green etc, until TfL received so many complaints from tourists, who expect them to be red, they insisted it should be red.

    The service, however, has deteriorated; some drivers seem to think they’re in a Grand Prix (NASCAR?), with abrupt stops and starts; likely due to pressure to maintain schedules, which also results in buses stopping short if held up by traffic, rather than carry passengers to their destination. Stopping a couple of feet from the kerb is common, even when there’s no obstruction- difficult for people with prams or mobility problems.

    I’ll save our railways (privatised at the same time) for later, except to mention they get 3-4 times the subsidy they had when state owned. Polls show the majority of UK citizens want them back in public ownership, but this is anathema to our (Conservative) lords and masters- yet, curiously, many (like the buses) are owned by the state railways of Germany, France etc, who are presumably making a profit on the deal! Here endeth the rant!

  5. It could have been worse. Just one wrong Hadith out of this looney’s moon brain drain and they were all goners. Hopefully we won’t be reading about this creature again.

  6. Please indulge a trip down memory lane. How well I remember living near Schwetzingen in the 1970s. We had just very few Gastarbeiters, who were Italian and Spanish. I don’t even remember any Turks. It makes me so sad to think of Germany in the state she’s in today.

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