• Germany's news in English
Driver takes passengers captive after using wrong bus
Photo: DPA

Driver takes passengers captive after using wrong bus

DPA/The Local · 15 Aug 2016, 16:05

Published: 15 Aug 2016 16:02 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Aug 2016 16:05 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Taking the train from the city of Mönchengladbach to Berlin costs around €100, whereas bus company Flixbus charges its passengers a mere €19 for the same journey - sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Not always.

Passengers travelling to Berlin from Mönchengladbach in North-Rhine Westphalia on Sunday were in for a shock when the driver announced halfway through the 600-kilometre trip that the bus needed to turn round.

What should have been an eight-hour journey turned into a 14-hour odyssey in which the 40 passengers were treated to, or rather subjected to, a tour of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia.

The problem was not technical, but a logistical error - the driver had brought the wrong vehicle.

The double decker that he had taken was needed for a later trip which had many more passengers booked onto it.

Unfortunately, the driver only realized his mistake when the bus had reached nearly Hanover, having completed about half the journey.

To the dismay of the 40 passengers on board, the driver made a U-turn and drove back into North-Rhine Westphalia and to the city of Dortmund.

“We thought it was a joke," Christiane Schinkel, a politician from the Pirate Party who was travelling back to Berlin said.

Despite offering to get off the bus at Hanover and make the rest of the journey to Berlin themselves, the passengers were told that they had to stay where they were.

“I felt robbed of my freedom,” one passenger from Berlin said.

“There is no reason to take us to Dortmund against our will," Schinkel vented on Twitter.

“I think that the excuse ‘there is no other possibility’ is completely outrageous," she added later. 

When the bus finally trundled into Dortmund the frustrated passengers were transferred to a smaller replacement bus, but even then they had to wait an hour and a half, meaning they reached their final destination six hours late.

The enraged passengers have now said they want to file a lawsuit.

“The crux of the issue is not that the mistake happened with the wrong bus. But we should have been allowed to get off in Hanover,” Schinkel maintained.  

A spokesperson for Flixbus said that, although the decision to make a U-turn was “extremely unpleasant” for the guests, there was no other solution.

Story continues below…

The company ash now offered passengers a complete refund and has offered them a voucher for a trip anywhere in Europe.

But Schinkel, for one, isn't satisfied.

“Who would want to voluntarily take another trip with Flixbus after such a dubious action?"

Flixbus has the most extensive bus network in Europe, offering 100,000 daily connections to 900 destinations across 20 countries.

Born as a startup in 2013, the company has grown rapidly, taking over British bus company Megabus in June this year and then swallowing up German competitor Postbus earlier in August.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd