Academic year has started, and with it – students who do not know their place and role on the bus. Let’s repeat some of the rules existing here in Kiel.

You might get into the bus and feel like people are rude towards you, but you have not done anything bad. In a situation like this it is important to understand the culture and social norms existing around you.

Here in Kiel people calmly wait and enter the bus through the front door, even though they could hop-in through the middle doors. What are those (un)written rules here?

  • Enter through the front of the bus
    Since the bus driver is also a conductor, you have to enter the bus through the front, show your ticket to the driver or buy one from him. In exceptional cases when the bus front is very full, the driver will tell you to use the other doors as well to get in the bus.
  • Walk to the back of the bus
    It is not mandatory, but please walk further down the bus. Otherwise the front gets extremely packed and the driver will not kindly ask you, but command you to walk further to the back of the bus. Remember that you are not the only one who needs to reach a certain destination on a certain time, using that exact same bus.
  • Give up your place for the others
    If you are a young, strong and healthy person – be kind enough – give up your place for elders, parents with kids, people carrying big or heavy items. They will thank you and perhaps some karma points will come back to you later.
  • Help your fellow passengers
    When you see a parent with a baby stroller, an elder with a walker or a wheelchair user – again be kind enough – help them around. If you are standing in their designated area, please move away. You will find signs all over the bus indicating these areas, usually they are the closest to the doors. In the middle exits there are also ramps for wheelchair users, use your hands to open and close it for them. If you need help from the others – do not be shy to ask the people around and they will give a hand.
  • Mind the surroundings during your trip
    If you have a bag which fits on your laps – keep it there so the others can take a seat next to you. When the bus becomes full, unglue yourself from one place and move so the others can have some space. Try to keep the peace and tranquillity along the trip. Even if your friend is trying to tell the worst joke ever.
  • Press ‘stop’ to get out of the bus
    Don’t be surprised if the bus driver passes your bus stop – he does not know where you are heading. To avoid this confusion just press any ‘stop’ button you find when the next bus stop is announced.

The (un)written rules especially applies to students or travellers, who often come to other countries for a short period of time. They can survive without adapting, but adaptation is important not only to the person itself – it contributes to the way society is running and things are happening in a certain area. Keeping an eye on your surroundings, respecting local people and the way they live will lead you to have an enjoyable journey riding a bus in Kiel.

Here is a more memorable version, a wannabe rhyme about riding a bus in Kiel: