Twentse cultuur

10Dec11

Earlier in the week I went to the campus of Twente University. When I departed, I needed to take the bus from campus to the train station and I waited huddled under a bus stop with half a dozen other people. It was dark and raining and I was relieved when I spotted the bus finally approaching. But it whizzed past with a soggy swish and didn’t even slow down for the stop! I turned to my fellow travellers and enquired in Dutch why the bus hadn’t halted. “Nobody stepped to the kerb” came the incredulous response, as if this was the most obvious thing in the world and I was a huge idiot for failing to know. My eyebrows went up and down. After travelling all the over the world and all over the Netherlands, this was my first encounter with this particular method for hailing a bus.

Twentse bus

In retrospect, stepping to the kerb seems an entirely reasonable way to flag a ride. But the system only works if everyone knows the rules! Apparently the students and bus drivers in Enschede have created a hyper-localized culture with their own special bus-flagging behaviours.

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