(Photo: Slagelse bus station.)
These bus stories are based on the fact that when I travel alone, I always take the single seat up front beside the driver.
So I have my own private chauffeur, (who may or may not want to chat, even tho’ it’s forbidden), the same fantastic scenic panorama view that he has and I can see who gets on and what, if anything, they have to say to each other. All the “riff-raff” are then out of sight behind me!
These “country” bus drivers are quite different “human” beings compared to the busy and overworked ones I am used to in Copenhagen!
Story no. 1
Ask her father first!
A young couple get on and discuss with the driver where they wanted to go. They ask him to put them off at a certain place they’ve never been before - but he cannot figure out where they mean. During the short conversation, it’s mentioned that it’s her father who has told them to go there.
The driver asks to speak to her father, so the girl, (who had her mobile in her hand all the while), rings him up, passes the mobile to the driver and after a few seconds of chat, the driver says he knows where they mean, assures the father (and them) that he will call out when to get off, and they both go and sit down. Now THAT’S what I what I call service!
Story no. 2
A tour guide bus driver!
Another bus driver, who we’ve had a couple of times in the evening, turns his trip into a regular holiday coach.
After he has pulled away from the station, he says something like: “Welcome on board the 470R bus, ladies and gentlemen! We are travelling to the town of Skælskør but of course I will be stopping en route for anyone who wishes to get on or off...
As you can see, it is a beautiful summer evening and if you look out of the windows on the right hand side, you can see the most wonderful sunset and admire the view over the sea and the bridge to Fyn...”
and we are all laughing and smiling and its quite a party going along with him!
Just a shame we are not going very far...
Story no. 3
Normally, when one gets on board, often staggering a little out of breath up the quite steep step, one first greets the driver with a friendly smile and a “hi!” before either pressing a travel-card with a chip against the blue lamp to register the start of the journey, OR one shows the driver a monthly bus-pass, OR an A4 piece of paper printed from home from a ticket bought on the web, OR a ticket bought at the station, OR even one’s mobile with the “ticket” shown on the screen, OR finally one can ask to buy a ticket from the driver.
The driver will then give a friendly “hi”, "OK" or ”yes thanks” in approval of the ticket shown, before attending to the next passenger.
Well one of them is quite a character in that if the mood takes him, he appears grumpy and either nods slightly or says “um” or ”hmm” or a barely audible grunt on being shown everyone’s tickets etc.
BUT he is as helpful as the day is long, if needed.
I have seen him giving advice and being really caring over a little girl about 7 or 8 at the start of the school year, who had asked him some question or other.
They had a intense chat where he explained something so that she understood and she thanked him politely. Then he let her get off at the front since she was standing beside him, and as she stepped off, she said in her little girl's voice: “Can you have a nice day!” to him to which he replied “thank you and likewise” - (all in Danish of course) to her, and it was just SO cute.
Then some months ago, instead of driving us down hill to our stop, which is 3-4 bus lengths down a muddy strip of grass, he prepared to stop by the side road just before the strip, calling out if we wanted “Felixvej” or not? I shouted ”yes”!! (you get off at the side of the bus, a good bit back from the driver) and so he stopped BEFORE the grass strip, temporarily blocking the side road but then we did not have to walk back up on the muddy grass, so of course I called out a big thank you very much for his thoughtful kindness.
He now does this for me every time!!!
There are several other drivers who have also figured this one out.
(It is a new bus stop and they have never paved around it like all the others. The one on the other side even has a bus shelter!)
In the turn around break at the bus station, he also willingly gets involved in deep discussions about this and that during the 10–15 min pause he has, so he definitely is NOT grumpy,
it’s just his way of being!
Story no. 4
A trusting driver
Then the other day, my driver had to stop for a young girl about 13 or 14 and she stepped on all nervous and a bit distressed and said she had lost her bus-pass and couldn't find it anywhere and please, could she ride home with him anyway? He asked one question: “Where are you going to?” and she replied Skælskør, which was quite out of the question for her to walk, so he said “OK”, warned her that she risked a fine if an inspector got on, (which is VERY rare!),
and she sat down full of grateful thanks.
Story no. 5
You can’t know everywhere!
Another time, a young man stepped on and asked to be put off at a place the driver had never heard of. The young man tried to explain, but again, the driver was blank.
Then the young man said all apologetically,
“Sorry, you see, I don’t know that area at all!” so the driver said in SUCH a regretful, apologetic voice:
“I don’t know the area either!” so this is where I just laughed out loud, they both sounded so funny and they heard me and laughed too, understanding how amusing they seemed. Further cross-questioning, turned up a small shop nearby that the driver DID know, so he said he would call out to the young man when nearing this shop, and both were happy with the arrangement!
Story no. 6
A driver who let the side down because he wouldn’t let the side down!!!
I was sitting on the bus at the station where there is 10-15 minutes turn around break for the driver, when a woman turned up with an incredibly overloaded shopping trolley and a plastic crate balanced on top – of what appeared the be granite chips for the garden/driveway it weighed so heavily and she asked the driver if he could put the side of the bus down for her, so she could get the trolley on?
He replied that the engine was switched off and she would have to wait until he started the bus up in 5-6 minutes! THEN he could let the side down.
Not very helpful!
(Busses have some sort of hydraulic system so the right hand side where you step off, dips and lowers down so that passengers can lift prams on and off and elderly with walking frames and even bicycles.)
She was fuming at being told to wait and started to heave this trolley up the deep steps, and of course I couldn’t just sit and watch her struggling, so I sprang up and offered to help.
So she pushed upwards from the street and I heaved with all my might from inside the bus. It was just before we couldn’t manage it but we did succeed and she was SO grateful and thanked me profusely. The driver must have felt a little ashamed.
Later, as I went to get off, I passed her sitting by the door and she thanked me all over again and told me it was all chicken feed, that she had just got 4 chickens and everything was new for her. I cannot understand how chicken feed could weigh like blocks of lead, but is was nice to be able to help.
Story no. 7
Another time, while I sat waiting for the bus to leave the bus terminal at Slagelse, a woman stepped up inside the bus and and asked the driver if he have any gold 20 kroner coins she could have, she was so hungry and desperately wanted some lunch!
I was amazed when he immediately started to fumble in his pockets and asked “How many do you want?”.
“WHAT????” I was thinking.
She replied that three would do, (being 60 kr in all), and I was obviously looking truly amazed and wondering what the heck, when she turned and smiled to me,
so I blurted out: “Well now you owe him some money, don’t you?” I couldn’t fathom out the situation.
She laughingly replied “I am his WIFE!” - so of course that put everything in perspective!!!
We all laughed heartily, as they could see it from my point of view.
He joked about that if she just had said so earlier, he could have made her a sandwich before he left home!
After all, it’s not every day that people can just walk up to a bus driver and ask him for some cash because they are feeling hungry!
Story no. 8
A driver with a fantastic memory!
My husband and I got off the train and hurried to the bus waiting at the bus terminal, and as I got on first and checked in with my travel-card with a chip, my husband insisted for the tenth time, that he wanted to go back to buy some chocolate from the nearby 7/11 shop.
The bus driver heard all this.
He said the he’d be here 6 minutes more before he was due to leave.
I couldn’t stop my husband who immediately turned on his heels and started heading towards the shop, so I quickly said to the driver that I had better check out again as I feared we would miss his bus and I went quickly down to the checkout post on the exit door on the side and he kindly opened it so I could get off without having to walk back up to the front of the bus again.
I caught up with my husband and already in the doorway we could see 2-3 long queues and I pointed out that there was no way we could get served in time and there was only one bus in the hour, as it was weekend.
So back we come to the driver and he immediately asked if we’d succeeded in getting some chocolate? (Probably fancied some himself!) So I explained why we didn’t succeed.
He looked genuinely sorry on my husband’s behalf.
Well about 10 days later, we again get on his bus, and he recognises us as the couple who didn’t get any chocolate and says so!!!
We laughed, taken aback and amazed at his brilliant memory!
Well, he said, it is easy to remember things that are out of the ordinary!
But we were very impressed.
Story no. 9
I step up on the bus with a dog weighing 7 kg under my arm sitting in his travel bag.
Immediately, I saw that the bus was packed with schoolchildren of about 8-9 years old - and there was a great atmosphere as they all "twittered" happily together!
It was so crowded that 6-7 children had to stand up so they blocked my route to walk down further into the bus.
Immediately the bus driver turned his head and said to a pretty little girl who sat in front in "my" favorite seat: "If you are a really kind girl, then you could give your seat to the lady here with the dog!"
She looked shocked for a moment, but the next second she understood the situation, jumped up up and stood with the other children. I thanked her profusely and explained that my dog was really heavy, so it would be hard to stand up and hold him throughout the trip.
The children said they had been on an excursion to some museum I did not know, when I asked about what they had been doing.
After some driving, the driver asked the nearest children if they were going to Hashøj school?
Yes, they were!
So very kindly, he stopped just outside the school, especially for them, instead of driving two minutes further around a dangerous corner to a bus stop where no one can see the oncoming cars. There is also no pavement. So this saved them all the extra walk back to the school - where there was already some parents waiting for them!
I thought that was very kind and thoughtful of him.
Afterwards, we discussed how festive the bus had been, for they were so cute all together and he said that of course he could as just as well stop right outside the school as a little irregularity for once!
Story no. 10
I was not even a passenger!
Now it is a fact that people are more friendly and willing to greet here "in the country" than, for example in Copenhagen and the surrounding area. (Where we lived before.)
I meet many friendly acquaintances on my dog walks and it is guaranteed that all say "hello" or even stop for a chat. Not like where we lived before, where many people never responded, even when they passed me on a narrow path. Most people ignored each other - except me, who like the English way you always give a polite "hello", ”hi” or "good morning", where applicable!
Last week I was on the usual walk with my three whippets, two on my right and one on my left, and after a few pathways, I turned into a country road.
There is no cycle path or footpath by the road as it is too narrow, but cars and buses are good to keep a wide berth around cyclists and pedestrians.
On a section of the road, there is a wide grass verge that I can walk on. So I just turned onto the grassy verge and the dogs stopped to sniff.
Immediately, a yellow bus came at full speed down the hill towards me.
The dogs and I stood safely on the grass and barely noticed - until there was a loud hissing of air brakes and the bus braked sharply and pulled up right next to me! I was amazed! There was no bus stop in sight!
I am often stopped by car drivers who want to ask for directions - but a bus driver who did not know where he was going?? Impossible!!!!
I approached the door full of curiosity and there was a demonstrative hissing of air brakes and the clatter of folding doors opening back and the driver leaned over to me and said:
"I just want to warn you that there is a loose dog running around on the road over the hill!"
"Ooooh" I said, "That's VERY kind of you, thank you - thank you very much!".
And we smiled and he pressed the button for the doors to close with another loud clatter and more air brakes hissing and he drove off, while I turned on my heel and walked the other way.
I would like to have helped the dog find home again, but in no way I could do it with three dogs on leash and the risk that it would attack them, (which is probably what the driver thought?) - anything could happen.
I was very surprised by his thoughtfulness - and that must be a record in kind deeds around here !!!
That bus driver made me happy all the rest of the day!
Story no. 11
Speaks English as well!
My brother, who lives in Florida, was on a visit and he doesn’t know any Danish.
We sent him to sit up front in busses in my favorite seat so he could get the good views that I always enjoy!
At one point on one of our trips, there was some road works and a temporary traffic light, making all the traffic on our side of the road halt and wait for the oncoming traffic to pass. The driver turned his head and commented on something to my brother. I couldn’t hear what he said.
My brother replied: ”Sorry, you’ll have to say that in English. I don’t know any Danish.”
Well immediately the driver switched to English and repeated what he had said and the two had a good, friendly chat about this and that whilst we all waited for the lights to change!
A nice little experience for my brother.
So language is no problem!
Story no. 12
Our first time with a walker on a bus!
My husband Svend took his walker with him for the first time. I have seen how many other people have walkers, prams and bicycles on our buses and trains.
Svend walks much better and without the danger of falling when he uses it, so this was our first time with a bus!
We drove to his health check at the hospital in a FlexTaxi. This ensured that we came on time and not out of breath and sweating! Afterwards, when we came out of the huge hospital, we see the nearest bus stop only a little further up the road - up a hill.
We had to cross the road first and then ... oh no, we see a bus drawing up at the bus stop and we were at least 50 meters from it and having to walk uphill.
Svend waved twice in the optimistic hope of getting the driver to wait while I said with a sarcastic tone that he would never wait because we were simply SO far away from the stop!
Svend trudged ahead at his best speed but we were still quite far away.
Surely enough, as I predicted, the last passenger stepped on board and the bus starts to move off, BUT, oh my! The driver slowly and gently stops the bus right beside us! An incredibly kind service !!
I make sure that Svend gets onto the bus at the side while I jump in front and plan to quickly check in with our travel-cards.
I would then run down the gangway to the side door and help Svend plus walker into a seat. But oh no, the bus driver was faster!
He leaped out of his seat before I got on, rushed down the gangway and lifted the walker on the bus, gave Svend his arm and got him safely into a seat and all this whilst blocking the aisle for me so I could not do anything!
I followed him back to his driving seat and Svend, surprised by the rush, had not had time to give me his travel card, so I said to the driver: "Please can you include him on my travel-card!" - It was much faster. The entire bus was waiting for us!
You can include up to two other adults, two children and a dog on the same travel-card.
(My friend, who sometimes travels with her 4 large Greyhounds, pays for two other adults, which is the same price as 4 children! Large dogs travel as children, but they may not use a seat, ha ha!)
He quickly programmed the machine and I checked my travel-card in.
I thanked him profusely for his kindness - how people can be sweet and kind to help the elderly!
So I also learned how the walker could be fastened down. Busses have their own seat belt for this!!!!
Obviously they do not want walkers, prams and bicycles sliding up and down every time the bus accelerates or brakes!
While I was doing this, the bus started moving and a young girl helped with her feet, to stop the walker from running backwards as I fixed it. Yet another person I warmly thanked for their help!
Story no. 13
A nerve wracking bus trip!
Firstly, as I sat in my usual front seat on the bus at the station and waited about 10 minutes while the lady driver had a break, a foreign looking man stepped up on board and showed her a piece of paper with a road name and address of somewhere he wanted to go.
The lady driver could not figure where he wanted, so she went on her iPhone and it's GPS.
At first she tried to speak the road name, but it refused to understand, so we were several passengers giggling. Then she typed in the long address and finally found it and the two discussed it, while she showed him the map on her iPhone.
She told him that he had a VERY long walk to the address from her nearest bus stop, and showed him the name of the nearest road and bus stop.
Then she looked into another bus route, that she suggested could be better for him. This bus stop was across the other side of bus station. More chat and they agreed that this other bus would be better.
Just as they agreed, the bus he now wanted drew up at it’s stop and the man rushed over and just caught it in time.
Very kind to her to help him so well.
See the picture of her helping him:
Then we had not been driving on our way for more than 5 minutes before she was very worried telling me that a big red triangle warning sign had arrived on the dashboard and it said, "electrical fault"!
I had to get out of my seat to see it. It worried her a lot.
She told me that the bus had recently been serviced and they always checked for possible electrical failures - they were all about 12 years old, she reckoned and have driven almost nonstop every day ever since they hit the road!!
She drove on to the next bus stop, turned everything off and then restarted the engine.
This helped for about 3 minutes but then the red triangle was back again.
So then she said, that she should not drive any further, she would be in trouble if the engine was damaged, so she would stop again and ring to a technician - and added how lucky it was, that the man with the question about an address had taken the other bus because if this one was breaking down!
Apparently, she could see from the address that the man had an appointment with an optician.
She described how the bus company Movia would send another bus to pick us all up - but that it could take ages. She added that she would have ordered a Flextaxi for the man, so he could keep his appointment! How kind!
I and many other passengers who could hear all this, became more and more worried!
All we wanted was to get home!
Finally she got through to a technician, who told her she had to switch off and restart the entire "electronic system" on the bus!
I heard her tell him that she was worried about her safety, but he said there was no way out, she had to do it.
Apparently she had to get out, walk around the front of the bus and a little way down so she was beside her driving seat and then kneel down in the road to reach underneath and find a certain switch.
After a bit of groping around underneath, (and it’s incredibly dirty), she found the switch and turned it off and then on again.
All the while, I had stepped out together with her and stood in the road blocking traffic and making signals to draw attention to her lying there in the middle of the road, so some cars crept past with respect and a couple waited patiently as she got up from her knees - which was not funny as she is very overweight - and we both got back on the bus again.
We must have looked as if we were hauling a cat out from between the wheels!!!
Unfortunately, I did not photograph her kneeling in the road as I was concentrating on the cars that tried to overtake us. Shame, as it's not every day you can catch a bus driver on his / her knees!
This action seemed to cure the error, rather like restarting a computer – which indeed is what happened here.
So I finally could arrive home at my bus stop – BUT to my horror, I then see that all the blue check-out spots said "out of order"! She had switched them off too!!!
So I could not check out – which would give a small fine.
So I told her this and added that I had an app on my mobile that would allow me to check out from home.
She stayed at the bus stop for a while after, as I walked off, so I assume that she had fixed the problem before she drove off.
But before I stepped off, I thanked her for an extra exciting (nerve-wracking) bus ride !!!
She laughed heartily.
Story no. 14
A driver with a cleaning mania?
I stepped up my bus home while it stopped for a quarter of an hour at the bus terminal, Slagelse.
It was a woman driver who laughed together with me over two ticket inspectors who also stepped up with me, but there was only me and another passenger to check.
A little tame!
She told me that the inspectors had learned to hide their car because otherwise everyone could see their yellow car and knew in advance that they would be checked!
We could easily talk together when I sat in my usual seat up front.
We also discussed bus types, since today it was a very different kind of bus, namely a "Scania" from Sweden, she said,
While those I'm used to are made by Volvo. That's why I'm driving around in a Volvo normally !!!! Sounds good, huh? So I learned that fact.
She got up to smoke outside, and I noticed that she had two facecloths, one over the door and one on the coin machine.
Now that we were "good friends", I could ask cheekily if she suffered from spring cleaning madness - or what ???
She laughed loudly and explained that while she was driving, she clung to the coin machine with her right hand, but because it tipped, rattled and was cold metal, it was not very nice to hold on to, so she always put a facecloth on top!
Much more pleasant!
Now I have seen other drivers who rested their hand at the door, but she is a woman with not such long arms.
There is obviously not much need for the right hand, just occasionally is it used!
And quite rightly, she clung to the washcloth most of the time.
I managed to take a photo without her discovering it.
I found it quite a laugh!!
Story no. 15
A furious passenger!
My bus turns into the station where I am waiting and stops in it’s place, the side door opens and a lot of passengers get off.
Now the driver has about 15 minutes to relax before he has to drive again.
I was first on board and I was just sitting down in my favorite seat up front with the driver,
when jumping up on to the first step, came a young man, who was absolutely fuming.
He raged a lot about "completely reckless driving", that the driver had taken a turning and used only his left hand, which was "dangerous driving", making him feel very unsafe and "putting all passengers lives at risk" and now he will complain to Movia.
(As the bus company is called.)
I have never seen anyone so angry it was just before he was getting foam around his mouth.
The driver was in shock, got up and stood in front of him on the step so that the young man felt pressured to take a step back onto the pavement and asked if the guy had a driver's license?
He stammered something about no ... but he was about to take it!
After a bit more angry talk, where I did not think the driver was defending himself very well, I got up and stood beside him in the doorway and said, "Do you know, I've been driving with these buses for several years and ALL the drivers have minimal use for the right hand because almost everything can be done with the left! It's quite normal."
"YOU KEEP OUT OF THIS !!!"
He shouted with his teeth gritted like a threatening Pitt bull, and he clearly wanted to hit me
but I was up on the bus beside the driver and him down on the pavement ...
"Yes!" I said, "it's a fact that buses are almost driving by themselves nowadays - and do not worry, all drivers are driving like this!"
Meanwhile, the driver also said something at the same time, and a female passenger behind us also shouted that it was wrong what he said about safety, so now we were three together!
Then the driver said, "mind your head!" and shut the door, so the very unhappy young man had to go on his way.
The driver told me afterwards, that the guyshould just know that he did not use his left leg either, ha ha ha !!!!
And there is just so much servo steering nowadays, so yes, you could rest your right hand – it simply has nothing to do!
So I told him the guy should just try to drive with the female driver I had the other day, with her facecloth draped on the coin machine, which she holds for most of the time !!! (See my previous story with picture!)
He would probably have even worse bad nerves !!!!
It's the first time I've seen someone complain over how drivers are resting their right hand on the door to their seat, and just driving with the left on the wheel!
But I've seen it, and ALL do it and everyone just drives so expertly ...
|A switch-over muddle!
Slots Bjergby July 10th 2015
We have suddenly got new timetable holders and new timetables at the bus stops.
Instead of being wrapped around the pole and difficult to read – and covered in algae, (see photo) they are now smart square yellow holder frames with a fixture designed to grip the pole (and withstand high winds!) and easily readable with plenty of good info.
I knew the times of the busses were changing – and then changing yet again, from overhearing two bus drivers chatting together one day at the station.
So a few days after that, I had a chat with a talkative bus driver. He appeared to be very late.
So I asked politely, if the timetable had changed, rather than accusing him of being late, ha ha!
Yes, indeed it HAD been changed, plus he’d been badly delayed by 26 children and two adults that took their time to board! Then he added:
The changes in the timetable were due to work on the train tracks on (the island of) Fyn!
My brain was doing summersaults trying to figure out how work on TRAIN RAILS on the other side of the bridge to the completely separate island of Fyn with the sea between us, could affect BUS timetables out here were we live, a bit out in the country.
I was just drawing the correct conclusion, when he quickly added:
All the trains are a bit delayed due to the work and therefore they would arrive in Slagelse station just AFTER all the busses had left!!!!
Normally the busses are coordinated with the trains so people all switch around how they want, with just enough time to walk to and fro.
This meant that the busses had a new timetable, to match all these constantly delayed trains.
Simple – when you know!
So when I saw these new smart timetable holders replacing the very old dirty ones, I photographed them – as this way I had a permanent record of the latest bus times!
When I examined the photos next morning as Svend was going to the Post Office a bit later on and wondered about the new times, I saw the timetables were switched over so
THEY WERE EACH ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD!
This means that anyone not giving themselves time to read properly, would be looking at the timetable OF BUSES RUNNING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION!
I showed Svend, who was so convinced they couldn’t do such a stupid mistake, it took him time to accept what he saw with his own eyes, ha ha! He still had a sneaking suspicion I could be wrong!
But at the top of one timetable was clearly written “To Skælskør Bus terminal” – placed on the side of the road that went to Slagelse Station,
and on the other side, the sign read “To Slagelse Station” - but on the side of the road going towards the pretty town of Skælskør!!!!
And I had photographic evidence of the slip-up! You can see it here.
So I decided to tell them!
The traffic company is “Movia” and I Google’ed them and quickly found a telephone number. I rang this number and after a lot of “press button 1 for....” “press button 2 for...” and so on, (I practically forget what I am ringing for especially if they play loud music), I got a helpful lady and told my story of the mix-up!
She said that she couldn’t do anything without the special number that each bus stop had – so I would have to walk up there and note the number and then ring again!!!
But by enlarging the pixels on the screen as she spoke, I could read the tiny number on the photos, so this forced her hand and she agreed to look into it straight away!!!!
Now this is the funny thing, about an hour later, Svend is up at the very same bus stop, when along comes a van and stops on the other side of the road and a man starts to fiddle with the bus stop sign – so Svend asked him about the timetable being wrong.
The man immediately said, “Oh, was it you who noticed and reported it?”
So Svend said, “no, actually it was my wife who did!”
So they fell to chatting and the man told Svend that they are 15 men driving around putting up all these lovely smart new signs,
(so of course it’s easy for someone who isn’t concentrating enough to accidentally switch them over!)
We are are full of admiration for their fast action to rectify the mistake!!!
Now my job is to note when they change the times back again, as I was told by the driver would happen.