Sunday, 26 September 2010

We Beat The Germans To The Buses

When you park between buses in a coach park at some tourist attraction, you never know who you will meet. Yesterday, on one side was a German school trip and on the other, bizarrely an English driver who had lived in Germany and spoke near fluent German.

The German driver looked wrecked and despondent. "It is good because in three days time, I retire," he said. "I look bad but not as bad as the children I am carrying. It was the sea crossing and the English roads" he continued, making wave motions with his hand to demonstrate quite how rough the North Sea was.

"They were ill all over my bus," he said, possibly hoping to put me off my breakfast. "And as they are teenagers on my bus, I am not allowed a schnapps dispenser on board." He drove off towards the Scottish Highlands looking even more downtrodden.

His bus was spectacular. Old, but a Bova full of technology and general German quality and efficiency. There was even a lift at the back, capable of carrying half a tonne weight, but used mainly for disabled passengers.

The reason British buses pale into insignificance in comparison, is because the Europeans are prepared to pay for these technological innovations and added comfort. The British want their travel for as cheap as they can get it. In the North, especially, they fight over the last 50p to ensure they have got a bargain.

Then again, when it comes to transporting children, perhaps an old British 'knacker' wins everytime over a German super beast. Particularly after a rough crossing or a switchback road. The results are the same, but the British bus will be easier to clean.

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