Have you smiled at a bus driver today? De Lijn launches respect campaign

Summary

The Flemish public transport operator has begun a campaign that it hopes will inspire more respect and gratitude between passengers and drivers

More compliments, less complaining

Flanders’ public transport operator has launched a campaign encouraging passengers and drivers to be friendlier to each other.

A similar campaign by De Lijn last year targeted things that the company wanted its passengers to stop doing, such as playing their music too loudly or putting their feet on seats. This year’s initiative focuses on positive actions.

“By putting the focus on compliments, we want to see more passengers and drivers smiling at each other when they get on the bus or tram,” said Roger Kesteloot, De Lijn director-general. “That’s how to create a positive vibe.”

As well as encouraging more direct contact, a website set up as part of the campaign lets drivers and passengers leave messages for anyone they want to compliment or say thank you to.

Not the whole story

Last year, the company recorded 2,800 incidents that showed a lack of respect, or an average of more than seven a day. It included insults, verbal aggression and harassment of and by drivers and passengers.

“Seven incidents a day seems a lot,” Flemish minister for mobility Ben Weyts said. “But De Lijn carries out more than 30,000 journeys every day. The small minority who can’t show respect for drivers or for other passengers are not the whole story. With this campaign, we want to show positive experiences on the bus and the tram.”

The most recent passenger survey by De Lijn showed that, in general, both drivers and passengers are annoyed by the same things: people who don’t move all the way down a full tram or bus, not giving up a seat to someone who might need it more, making too much noise and leaving litter behind.

Photo courtesy VRT

De Lijn

De Lijn is Flanders’ public transportation system for city and regional travel. It operates bus and tram services across Flanders and parts of Brussels.
Belbus - De Lijn offers a taxi-meets-bus service in sparsely populated areas with its Belbus (Call bus). The Belbus only rides when a user requests it.
Kusttram - De Lijn operates the longest tramline in the world on the Belgian coast. Connecting Knokke in the north all the way to De Panne near the French border, the Coast Tram is the staple means of transportation along the coast.
Stakeholders - Three-quarters of Flemish municipalities are De Lijn stakeholders. Their shares don’t have any monetary value but do earn them a vote in the company’s annual general meeting.
1 990

De Lijn founded

93

largest-ever De Lijn investment in million euros

554

million passenger rides in 2012