Transdev bus driver Jens Minden has been transporting his passengers safely to their destination in the city of Minden (his namesake) and the surrounding area for over 28 years. Currently, the 50-year-old Jens works for Transdev Ostwestfalen GmbH, whose buses have been running under the Teutoburger Wald Verkehr (TWV) brand in the districts of Herford and Minden since December 1, 2019.
Jens what made you want to become a bus driver?
I used to work in the construction industry, but the job never really fulfilled me. There was always that part of me that really wanted to be a bus driver. When I read in the newspaper 28 years ago that bus drivers were wanted, I decided to make my childhood dream come true. I still remember telling the drivers of the school buses that I wanted to be a bus driver too. Some of them were my colleagues many years later which is kind of crazy.
Was it easy to restart your career at the time or did you have to meet certain requirements?
At that time, you not only had to get a bus driver’s license, but also a truck driver’s license. Nowadays it’s no longer like that.
Was the restart worth it? What do you particularly like about your job?
Definitely! It’s fun to get people from A to B, but I especially like the being close to the passengers: a friendly « good morning », a small chat when buying the ticket or a simple « thank you » when they’re getting off. It’s the little things that delight me every day. If you are friendly to the passengers, you get a lot of friendliness in return.
How is it in times of COVID-19? Has contact with the passengers decreased?
Unfortunately, yes. The front door had to stay closed for a long time and I wasn’t allowed to sell tickets either, in order to protect the passengers and myself. Overall, significantly fewer people still use the bus. Some have also become more cautious in dealing with them. However, there are still passengers who behave normally and shout a happy « hello » through the protective facemask.
Do you remember a passenger in particular?
Yes. I’ve already had some strange experiences, but I can still remember one passenger very well to this day. The man boarded in the front of the bus as normal. However, he suddenly held a large spider in front of my face. I was shocked. He then told me that he had just bought the spider from the pet store, and apparently, he just wanted to show it to me.
Even if you enjoy your job a lot, have you surely also experienced not so enjoyable situations?
Yes, unfortunately some passengers misbehave and ignore certain rules. But that, too, is somehow part of the job. An incident a few years ago, I especially remembered when I drove mostly night routes. These young people tried to set fire to the bus by torching a seat. Fortunately, with the help of the police, we were able to prevent a worse outcome than a damaged seat.
Do you have a favorite route?
Oh, you can’t say that, I feel most comfortable on the city lines in Minden. I need the hustle and bustle.
And what is it like driving through the city of Minden as Jens Minden?
In the past, when we still wore name tags, passengers often asked me about them. I always thought it was funny.
What are the general conditions like in the bus industry?
Overall, I am satisfied. Of course, you could always make a bit more. That would certainly make the job even more attractive to others.
If you had the choice: bus, train, bike or car?
In my free time I try to do as much as possible by bike. I live about seven kilometers from my place of work in Minden. Covering the distance by bike is a good way to balance out taking the bus.
*Photo credit: Teutoburger Wald Verkehr GmbH