On the tracks of customer information: bus station attendant
Far from being monotonous, the daily life of the bus station attendant at the Luxembourg bus station goes from providing information to customers, organising bus traffic on 6 platforms and keeping the site in shape. Fränz Bous, who has a passion for the CFL in general and buses in particular, has taken on the role of a “Swiss Army knife”.
“Do you know where Rue des Grottes is?” “Which platform do I have to go to in order to take the bus to the hospital?” “How do I get to Kirchberg?” A few minutes spent in his office is enough to understand the daily life of the bus station attendant in the capital. His job is to manage the activities of the country’s largest bus station and organise the work of the supervisors.
“Every day is different in my job,” says Fränz Bous. “In order to ensure that the information reaches the customers correctly, it is imperative to have a solid organisation in place and the right digital tools. This basis is invaluable for keeping track of the status of bus traffic in real time in order to guide customers. Without this basis, it is also difficult to manage unforeseen events”, summarises Fränz who is also one of the four permanent supervisors at the bus station.
A transmission link
The CFL buses, RGTR buses, school buses, rail replacement buses in the event of traffic disruption or works on the rail network… With such a flow, discipline is essential to ensure that the activities of the 13 lines and 6 platforms in the CFL fold are kept in order.
“I also have to ensure that all the timetables are displayed at the bus station and that they are distributed internally to colleagues at the various stations in the country. I also make sure that the CFL bus drivers assigned to Luxembourg Station and who are under my supervision have the latest information. As well as also being responsible for coordinating exchanges with our external stakeholders, including the Transport Administration, which is responsible, among other things, for managing the RGTR network, of which the CFL is a part of”, adds Fränz Bous.
This role as a transmission link takes on an even greater dimension in an emergency. For example, when an incident occurs on the rail network, such as a train breakdown, and traffic is forced to stop, buses are put in place.
“In this case, my first reflex is to take my smartphone when I go out on the ground to answer customers thanks to the timetables that I can consult live via an interface designed for our teams. We first direct customers to the RGTR buses before the buses organised by the CFL arrive via agreements with private bus companies. It’s up to us to inform customers so that they have an alternative means of mobility as soon as possible,” adds Fränz Bous.
“The presence on the ground is valuable, if only to identify any problems and liaise with the bus drivers”Fränz Bous
He recalls the impact of major infrastructure works during the summer months in recent years. For example, in order to make progress with the transformation of Luxembourg Station and the new Luxembourg-Bettembourg line, it was decided to stop all rail traffic on this section. A replacement bus service was set up by the CFL as an alternative for many of the concerned customers. This operation required the use of buses supplied by a number of private companies in order to provide the impressive seating capacity required.
A number of buses that could have quickly clogged up the Luxembourg bus station without the skillful orchestration of Fränz and his colleagues who, in addition to informing the customers in real time, directed the bus flows according to the established schedule while keeping themselves flexible. Or how to make the most of the available capacity in the capital’s bus station.
Empathy by nature
Fränz Bous has a natural empathy towards customers – passionate about his job and the company he joined in 1997, Fränz started his career as a train attendant.
“The presence on the ground is valuable, if only to identify any problems and liaise with the bus drivers,” says Fränz Bous. “This presence is also appreciated by our customers, especially senior citizens who are not always comfortable with the digital world and are also looking for advice.”
Smile, tact, sense of service, his job is like second nature for Fränz Bous. “Since I provide the supervisors with a summary of the buses’ departures and arrivals in chronological order, I know all the RGTR buses that use the bus station and the Rocade almost by heart,” he smiles.
Once the walkie-talkie has been stored away, the long-time railwayman presides over the destiny of “Retrobus a.s.b.l.” in Bettembourg. It will not be surprising to learn that the purpose of the club is the restoration of old buses. These old mechanical vehicles that used to run on the regular CFL or AVL lines are being given a new lease of life thanks to the hard work of volunteers.
Buses that are now used for recreational purposes and events… and that might inspire the next generation of bus drivers.
Check out the previous articles on the various aspects of customer information at the CFL:
Auris- Customer information in real time
Coordination during engineering works