Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Birthday Bafflement in Basel 2

And there's more!
A while later this picture wafted through to ether to fbb's confuser.
"What is wrong here?" asks the No 3 Son; as a follow up to yesterday's puzzle pictures.

The answer is, at first sight, very easy. The bus is on route 48 from the SBB Bahnhof (main station in Basel) to Bachgraben (map, upper left).
And here is its turning circle.
So what IS wrong? BVB (Basel city buses) vehicles are green and route 48 is a Basel City bus service.
The red bus is part of the Deutsche Bahn (DB) empire ...
... with a "Südbadenbus" label not very prominently displayed on the front. The photograph was taken near to No 3 son's place of work at a stop called Allschwil Im Brühl.
The lad calls it the "Jenga" office block!

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.

Some have got excited, others had to smile: passengers have had to direct German bus drivers through Basel.

Diese Busfahrt werden die Passagiere auf der BVB-Linie 48 so schnell nicht vergessen. Da wurden sie in einem roten Fahrzeug der Südbaden-Bus GmbH (SBG) durch Basel transportiert, als ihnen plötzlich auffiel: «Der Fahrer hatte keine Ahnung, wo er durchfahren muss.»

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."

Noch skurriler wurde es dann an der Haltestelle Schützenhaus.
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.

It became even more bizarre at the stop Schützenhaus.
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!

Wie aber konnte es zu diesem Fauxpas kommen? Warum sitzen die deutschen Chauffeure überhaupt am Steuer des 48er-Busses? Der Grund liegt in einer Neuerung. Seit Dezember fährt der 38er-Bus von Grenzach-Wyhlen bis zum Bachgraben und von dort als 48er weiter zum Bahnhof SBB.

So that's what all the fuss is about!
Service 38 (NOT 48) is a joint operation between BVB and "Südbadenbus", Deutsche Bahn in a skin. The DB operation covers a wide area ...
... and right down at the bottom left are two services that peep into Switzerland.
Route 7312 crosses the Rhein linking German Rheinfelden with Swiss Rheinfelden (confusing eh?) ...
... and our friend route 38 is shown as terminating at the main railway station in Basel (which is currently incorrect!).

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.
Here is one on its way back to Allschwil.
The route continues some way into Germany ...
... to Wyhlen Siedlung, a roundabout and bus layby at the far side of the town of Wyhlen.
So to join the set of three cross-border trams, here is a cross border bus service.

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?) ...
... and trundle into the centre of Basel by a different route.

All very similar to the Brighton situation!

Here is the current on-line DB (German) timetable for the 38.
But we are left with a mystery. According to the DB, no service 38s terminate at Bachgraben, they all continue to/from Allschwil. So how can 38s become 48s unless passengers are turfed off?

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 ...
 ... it shows a 48 as far as Bachgraben; then you may "Weiterfahrt in selben Fahrzeug" (explained by a little man on a seat) and continue as a 38.

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.
Effectively "for operational reasons" the 48 from Bachgraben to the main railway station in Basel is also a joint service.

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!

 Next Russian blog : Thursday 8th March 

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