“Are you going to the airport?”
More and more tourists are travelling to Prague every year, but the city still lacks many features that could make their journey more accommodating.
Tourists travelling by public transport to get to Václav Havel Airport on the 119 bus, for example – one of the city’s only public transport options to get to the airport – may find the signs unclear or confusing and seek assistance from bus drivers.
The only problem, according to a recent Metro.cz report, is that many Prague bus drivers don’t understand English other other languages, and are often unable to help tourists.
“Some [bus drivers] may understand, but can not reply other than nodding,” says Metro.cz reader Martina, who takes a bus on the airport line from Nádraží Veleslavín to Nova Šárka daily.
“Other questions in foreign languages are usually misunderstood.”
DPP, Prague’s public transportation authority, has also taken notice of the added benefit that bus drivers could provide with some additional language skills.
The company is currently preparing a short English-language course to benefit bus drivers who drive on tourist-frequented routes. Participation in the course on the part of the drivers is completely voluntary.
“The course is for drivers who will be active on these lines and are interested in improving their English conversation,” DPP spokesperson Aneta Řehková told Metro.cz.
While conducting an informal survey at the bus depot in Řepy among bus drivers who would be interested in the voluntary language course, DPP found 150 willing participants, and is currently evaluating their individual language levels.
Clearly, there’s a desire on behalf of both DPP and its drivers to provide better service for customers who are visiting Prague. If you travel in the Czech capital by bus, it’s another reason to say thanks to your bus driver when you get off.