Marie lives in Bad Kreuznach. She has just arrived at her school – Gymnasium am Römerkastell – and is waiting outside the classroom. Today in particular, it is very important that she arrives on time for a biology test that will take up the first two periods. As both her par- ents work, they are unable to drive her to school, so – just like many other pupils – she has to rely on the bus.
Apart from Marie's school, there are 29 others in Bad Kreuznach, and every morning a large number of pupils have to make their way from home to their respective schools. For the most part, they are in the same situation as Marie: their parents are either unable or don't have the time to drive their children to school. Thanks to Rhenus, however, they don't need to. Our job is to transport around 2,500 pupils and students to their lessons every morning, five days a week, and on time. Today, we made sure that Marie arrived punctually for her biology test.
In fact, we run the town's entire local public transport system through the company Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH Bad Kreuznach, which is wholly owned by Rhenus Veniro. Every morning, once their vehicles have been checked over thoroughly, our experienced bus drivers leave the depot right on time and set off for their first pick-up point. Thanks to our modern low-floor vehicles, we can also carry passengers with restricted mobility safely to their destination. Providing a safe and comfortable journey is not just a matter of technology, however.
The local transport company's dedicated employees also do their bit to make the whole process as smooth as possible – to the frequent disappointment, possibly, of those pupils who might have been hoping their bus would arrive late and thereby shorten the first lesson of the day. At first sight, it may all seem like a routine task; on closer examination, however, it is a real logistical challenge. Transporting 2,500 pupils at the same time (as well as others who use the bus to get to work) is a highly complex operation. We have to be able to provide additional capacity to meet varying levels of demand. The fact that Marie and our other passengers use the buses without really being aware of what is involved behind the scenes shows just how good we are at our job.
During peak times in the morning and afternoon, we have to provide additional services at greater cost. That involves running more buses that carry a large number of schoolchildren. We also have to make sure that our extra services are very cost-efficient given the different types of school in the city and the variation in finishing times.
Rhenus provides tailored mobility solutions not only in the federal state of Rhineland Palatinate but all over Germany. We even run local rail services. Bad Kreuznach is just one example. In order to meet demand in the town, we operate a fleet of more than fifty buses. Altogether they cover roughly 1.6 million kilometres a year on behalf of the local authority. If you add up all the bus routes in Bad Kreuznach, you get a total distance of 246 kilometres. The result is a close-knit and comprehensive public transport network that is used by around 3.5 million passengers – including Marie.
During her bus journey to school, Marie sits next to an elderly lady holding a lovely bunch of flowers. Marie is anything but shy and asks who the flowers are for. ‘For a good friend of mine who is in hospital,’ the lady replies. Not only is Rhenus involved in carrying the flowers on the bus; it also helped to bring them to Germany in the first place. It was our own Air Cargo Handling division that arranged their transport in a temperature-controlled environment. When Marie gets off at the school, there are just a few more stops to the hospital, which obtains medical and other supplies from – you've guessed it – Rhenus Health Care.