1. GA-English

Buses and trams: Delays and cancellations on the increase in Bonn

Buses and trams : Delays and cancellations on the increase in Bonn

More delays and cancellations have been recorded by public transport authorities in Bonn since the timetable change on August 26. There is still a shortage of drivers and commuters complain about the reliability of buses and trams.

Since the timetable change on August 26 this year, delays and cancellations of buses and trams in the city area have increased. According to Anja Wenmakers, managing director of the pubic transport authorities, Stadtwerke Bus und Bahn (SWB), the main reason for this development is still too few drivers and the number of those calling in sick after the Pützchen's Markt fair. Since January 2018, SWB has been able to hire 180 new drivers with the help of marketing campaigns, but 80 drivers have left the company. Some of them have retired.

According to Monika Pohl, chairwoman of the Works Council of SWB Bus und Bahn, others left because the changes with the new timetable mean more weekend assignments: "It has become difficult to organize the staff roster on Saturdays and Sundays. We urgently need more staff".

Following a first GA report on the impact of the timetable changes, readers have complained of increasing unreliability. According to the report, buses and trams have been affected. Nicolas Holle recounted that in September, he had been sitting at Heussallee where four of six trams were cancelled. Therese Laschefski, who regularly travels from Bad Honnef to Bonn on Line 66 to get to work, reported in mid-September: "This week alone I had to wait five separate times for more than 20 minutes each for the next tram to come due to cancellations.” According to Rainer Schmitz and Klaus Kempkens, the on-time record for Lines 62 (tram from Ramersdorf to Dottendorf) and 16 and 63 (Cologne/Tannenbusch to Bad Godesberg) leaves a lot to be desired.

Commuters report similar things about bus lines operating in Röttgen or bus Lines 610 and 613 in Godesberg. And Christel Krämer from Graurheindorf notices "significant declines" on Lines 600 and 601. On the latter stretches, bus drivers would have to avoid many construction sites, Wenmakers explained. Many delays were due to traffic.

Sabine Göttinger describes a situation where students from her town of Niederkassel have to rely on “massively” overfilled buses to reach their schools in Beuel. But Katrin Wagner from Niederkassel praises the new Line 550 because it creates a fast connection to the north of Bonn, where there are three large educational institutions. Meanwhile, residents in the Bad Godesberg area of Schweinheim feel abandoned so transport authorities and the government are looking to make a compromise. Susanne Fofana feels that the direct connection from Mehlem to Plittersdorf and Bonn central station via Line 610 is "top", because it has cut in half the time it takes for her children to get to school.

Punctuality offensive for buses and trams

The city council decided on a motion which was titled "punctuality offensive for bus and train". The city and municipal utilities are to present a concept for restoring reliability by the next council meeting. Wenmakers hopes for tangible relief by the beginning of December. By that time, another 19 of the newly hired drivers will have completed their training.

(Orig. text: Philipp Königs; Translation: ck)