So, to restate the question, what is an obviously German bus doing on an internal Basel (Swiss) bus route?
The answer is more interesting that you might think. fbb's first guess was to remember how things used to happen in Brighton. There Southdown, Brighton Corporation and Brighton & Hove bus operators had a joint agreement. It as a complicated affair relying on each operator having a fixed percentage of the revenue based on mileage operated and a similar percentage of the costs.
If the numbers got out of balance a "foreign operator" (e.g. Southdown) would operate a Brighton Corporation route for a week or so.
It was all very chummy.
To compound fbb's interest, the local Basel newspaper (on-line) carried an article about the mysterious red 48s.
fbb will provide extracts plus translation. He did push the whole article through Google Translate to cover up his rather pathetic "O" level German abilities. Because of the limitations of an on-line translation service, fbb has amended the English version where necessary.
Die einen haben sich aufgeregt, andere mussten schmunzeln: Passagiere müssen deutsche Busfahrer durch Basel lotsen.
The passengers on the BVB line 48 will not forget this bus trip so quickly. When they were transported in a red vehicle of Südbaden-Bus GmbH (SBG) through Basel, they suddenly noticed: "The driver has no idea which way to go."
Zunächst will der deutsche Busfahrer die Autospur benutzen, bis ihm ein Passagier erklärt, dass es eine Extraspur für Bus und Tram gebe.
Die Augenzeugin sagt: «Das hatte schon fast etwas Komödiantisches.» Von der Situation überfordert, bleibt der Busfahrer minutenlang stehen. Offensichtlich habe er die Signal-Anlage der BVB nicht gekannt, so die Augenzeugin weiter. Schliesslich erklärt ihm ein Fahrgast die Anzeigen, worauf der Buschauffeur die Fahrt fortsetzen kann.
First, the German bus driver wants to use the car lane until a passenger explains that there is an extra lane for bus and tram.
Another gap in Streetview means that fbb cannot give you a picture of the "Driver's Dilemma", but, clearly, the junction is troublesome!
The eyewitness says: "It almost had something comedic." Overwhelmed by the situation, the bus driver stops for several minutes. Obviously he had not known the signal system of BVB. Finally, a passenger explains the indications to him, whereupon the bus driver can continue the journey.
Now comes the dénoument!
The current route runs via Bachgraben (terminus of the 48 - confusing isn't it) into the centre of Basel at Schifflände, crosses the Mittlere Brücke, calls at No 3 son's mystery stop (as per yesterday's blog) and continues roughly parallel to the river to the German border at Hörnli Grenze.
But that does not (yet!) explain the German (red) buses on the 48.
It would appear that, to equalise revenue, costs and drivers' hours of duty, certain 38s turn into 48s at Bachgraben (remember?) ...
All very similar to the Brighton situation!
Here is the current on-line DB (German) timetable for the 38.
Despite the supposed technological superiority, the German timetable is WRONG! The Swiss map is RIGHT!
Use the BVB journey planner and ask for a journey from Allschwil to Whylen and ...
Currently, ALL 38s terminate at Bachgraben where they ALL turn into 48s and run into Basel centre. They used to run to Allschwil but in the December 2017 timetable change (?) the service was cut back. Allschwil currently has tram 6 and bus 33.
Thus No 3 son will see red 48s quite often as they trundle past his place of work.
Problem picture solved.
And it really did hurt fbb's brain!