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High rates of sick leave: Bonn bus and tram cancellations annoy passengers

High rates of sick leave : Bonn bus and tram cancellations annoy passengers

The Stadtwerke Bonn (SWB), the authorities responsible for local public transportation, are again facing problems with delays and cancellations on bus and tram lines. According to SWB, it is partly the result of unexpected sick leave on the part of drivers.

In recent weeks, local public transportation authorities have again experienced problems with cancellations and delays on bus and tram lines. According to SWB Bus and Tram, two reasons in particular have led to this situation. “In addition to delays caused by constructions sites, accidents and commuter traffic along the routes, in the second half of September there was also an increased number of drivers calling in sick unexpectedly,” said SWB spokesman Michael Henseler. He regretted that not all routes could be covered by replacements after workers called in sick shortly before their shift started.

Henseler described a situation which led to a delay on bus line 633 which runs from the Dusidorf train station to Bornheim-Sechtem. Drivers on that route often get stuck in a traffic jam, and are not allowed to exceed the legally dictated driving times without taking a break. It can mean that drivers who service busy stops such as Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz or the central bus station cancel the remainder of the route in order to at least be able to service the return trip on time.

Altogether, the SWB operates 38 bus lines and nine tram lines. A GA reader, who did not want to be named, complained that bus line 602 had experienced cancellations sometimes four times a week in recent weeks. Traffic issues could not have led to the cancellations because the rider takes the bus at 6:36am when the roads are still free.

Local transport authorities hope for improvement

In response to the rider’s complaint, she was informed by management that unexpected sick leave led to the cancellations. "I think that even when a driver calls in sick unexpectedly, it does not justify cancellation of public transport," she complained. Henseler confirmed that line 602 from Tannenbusch via the main station to Venusberg, especially between Bornheimer Straße and Hauptbahnhof, faced delays due to heavy traffic.

The SWB is hoping for improvement. This year, 70 drivers were hired, and they are conducting an application process for another 15 positions. "The measures we are taking are effective. In the coming weeks, they will be visible to passengers in buses and on trams. 30 driver trainees are currently completing their operational training and already on the road in scheduled routes,” said SWB spokesman Werner Schui.

Previous quarterly reports on the performance of SWB public transport show that cancellations and delays have increased noticeably. Lacking enough professionals in the industry, public transport companies have launched a digital online recruitment portal and have introduced a simplified application process.

Orig. text: Philipp Königs

Translation: ck