Even a good week later, wolfgang lewalter still can’t quite believe it. "It’s been a crazy tour,", he says. After his wife suffered a stroke a good year ago and he himself underwent heart surgery, the retired couple from fulda wanted to do something good for themselves: travel to their beloved bad kissingen in their motor home and bring a little joy back into their lives there. "We have a close relationship with the city", says the 75-year-old. to the kissinger summer they were already three to four weeks at a stretch at the saale, he even has his 50. Birthday celebrated with friends at the campsite.
This time, the hessians stopped at the mobile home park at the kisssalis thermal spa. It’s saturday afternoon, the weather is fine. The lewalters spontaneously decide to go for a walk: over the altenberg to the spa park, then into town for an ice cream and then back to the spa by cab. "Around 5 p.m., the drama took its course", he reports. the cab stand at the kurgarten was empty, no cab could be reached at the numbers given there. "Then I went to the tourist information office." they spent three quarters of an hour trying to solve the problem, but in the end they were unsuccessful.
Because lewalter’s wife would not have been able to physically make the trip back, "i seriously considered calling an ambulance." but at least they were spared that: a young family man with two children took the couple to the spa by hitchhiker. A good 90 minutes had passed since the first call. "Then the tragedy was over."
Guests often put off
Spa director sylvie thormann regrets the incident. It is unusual for employees of the tourist information office not to be able to reach a cab . "Such a case is not in our interest and we have apologized", she says. staatsbad gmbh sees itself as an intermediary and has inquired with the largest cab company in the city. "We have received feedback that the call time has fallen into a rush hour", summarizes thormann. Many rides were pre-booked. That’s why there were sometimes unusually long waiting times. She praises the contact with the cab operators as being open and endeavoring.
Inquiries at hotels and restaurants show that people often wait in vain for a cab. "We often have to put the guests off", reports dominik singer, receptionist at the hotel wyndham garden. Especially in the evenings, when passengers are out and about, and in the mornings, the situation is bad. "If a guest needs a cab early because his train is running, he is usually out of luck."
Problems not officially known
Hotel manager pascal muller from the four-star cup vitalis hotel confirms this. "We are always confronted with the fact that we want to order cabs for guests and then either get no response or get a response and the driver doesn’t show up", he says. Accessibility varies, but is most difficult in the evenings after concerts and on weekends. Muller: "It’s annoying for us because the guest has little understanding. We are the incapable ones for him at that moment."
Qays mansur runs the deluxe shisha bar at berliner platz. Although he has the private phone number of many drivers, his guests also wait in vain again and again. "During the week it works, on weekends it’s a disaster", reports mansur.
As the lower road traffic authority, the district administration is responsible for the cab industry in the city and district of Bad Kissingen. Under the cab regulations, companies are obliged to maintain operations "in accordance with the public interest and the state of the art", explains economic promoter and district developer jurgen metz. If the companies do not comply with this, the district administration can impose sanctions ranging from warnings and fines to the withdrawal of the license. However, the authority can also demand a service plan from the companies if it notices that the operation is not guaranteed.
"A problem with the cab traffic in bad kissingen was not known so far", says metz. In order to be able to take action, the district office depends on problems being reported. "We will now also check this on an ad hoc basis", he announces.
Cab association: authorities called upon
Of the cab operators surveyed, no one wanted to comment. According to frederik wilhelmsmeyer of the german cab and rental car association, this is a problem that has become more frequent since the introduction of the minimum wage. The minimum wage has not made the profession more attractive, but has made conditions more difficult. A cab has to turn over at least 35 euros an hour to be profitable. This leads to supply problems, for example at night.
While the metropolitan areas are well covered "we have bottlenecks especially in medium-sized cities", he reports. The situation on the labor market, which is close to full employment, is also causing problems for the industry. Many potential cab drivers are currently finding employment elsewhere as well. The infrastructure, the vehicles are there, but: "the drivers are missing", says wilhelmsmeyer. For this reason, it is always advisable to pre-order a vehicle in good time.
Nevertheless, the cab industry, like local public transport, has to guarantee basic mobility. "What can’t be is that no cab is available", the expert makes clear. In affected areas, he sees it as a challenge for the district offices to draw up deployment plans in cooperation with companies. They have to be reasonable, of course. Wilhelmsmeyer: "i can’t demand from an entrepreneur that he writes deep red figures."