Demmelmair Bus Travel Friedberg
Gerhard Bestele, Demmelmair Bus Reisen



Friedberg. Gerhard Bestele, owner of Demmelmair Bus Reisen GmbH in conversation with book author Christian Seebauer (chs).


chs Good morning, Mr Bestele. Already in the office at 7:00?
G. Bestele Sure. My day starts here at 3:30 am. But don't worry, I'm not giving an interview that early yet (laughs).
chs ... but?
G. Bestele If there's one thing I like to get up for every morning, it's our passengers. They have to get up early every day and be at work on time.
chs Who all actually travels by bus? Is there a typical passenger?
G. Bestele Everyone who wants to get to work on time, for example. And the children, because they want to get to school safely and back home just as safely. And simply everyone who wants to get from A to B comfortably without a car. And of course those who want to travel with us and those who want to take a city tour. And... (becomes very thoughtful) sometimes also those who just want to warm up with us in the bus. That is something that still moves me very much after all these years.
chs Emotions? Is there such a thing in business anymore?
G. Bestele There is no other way. Of course, there's always a lot of heart and soul involved. And you also experience a lot of wonderful things. Another thing that is particularly important to me is a very good relationship with our employees. We are all responsible for the safety of our passengers every day. Everything goes much better and much safer when you have "a good day"! Then you are fully focused on the task at hand. Conversely, I really don't want to be on the road with a bus driver who has just been annoyed with his boss. A good working atmosphere and good manners have absolute priority for me. By that I also mean myself.
chs Some people call you Mr Demmelmair...
G. Bestele (very thoughtful), yes, that is a terrible story. The Demmelmair bus company has been around since 1938. Unfortunately, not everyone is granted the chance to grow old. Josef Demmelmair was killed in a plane crash in 1972.
chs After that, you ran the company...
G. Bestele Not right away, but about 20 years ago I took over the company with 12 buses and 8 employees and replaced them over the years. You don't do something like that from one day to the next. You always feel the responsibility towards the employees, but also towards the founders, whose life's work I am continuing here.
chs But now there are more than 12 buses ...
G. Bestele Today, of course, it's more and more about economic efficiency. We currently have 65 buses in our fleet. About 85 drivers are on the road every day. In addition, there are eight employees in the office, about five in the in-house service hall, and our own cleaning staff. When everyone pulls together, it works quite well!
chs There's always something going on there. Can one still sleep peacefully there?
G. Bestele When the phone rings in the middle of the night, you always think: I hope nothing bad has happened. If "only" a vehicle has broken down somewhere, you are always relieved and quickly find a solution. Of course, it is annoying for the passenger concerned. But it's always about the big picture, about safety. We travel about 7 million kilometres a year. And we do that with great care and discipline. Thank God nothing really bad has ever happened.
chs What is the main focus of Demmelmair Bus Reisen?
G. Bestele Clearly in local public transport. So anyone and everyone who just wants to get on. This service accounts for around 80%. Pure school transport has a share of about 10%. The same goes for pure travel.
chs I am a persistent car driver. What are the advantages of taking the bus?
G. Bestele Driving has become an extreme stress factor. Walking a few metres and then taking the bus in a completely relaxed manner has now become a piece of quality of life for many people, even quite consciously.
chs It's also quite comfortable in the car...
G. Bestele But on the bus you might find the love of your life. Or you might get to the very opportunities and people you would otherwise never get to at work. A new job or a move up the career ladder? It's all happened on the bus. Young and old together? Often only on the bus. And you can't sleep in the car either. Our children often discuss their homework or quickly do a school assignment. They laugh and talk. Real life takes place on the bus! You lose time and energy in the car.
chs Enthusiasm? Or obsession?
G. Bestele (shrugs) Maybe both. The main thing is that it's fun. And it is.
chs What do you tell a young person who is interested in becoming a bus driver?
G. Bestele That it is not an easy job. You are often on the road when your family wants you to be at home. And that it is also a beautiful profession. It is not a job to get rich. But it is one that makes sense. And one that fulfils a social task! That doesn't apply to every profession. As a bus driver, you are part of this society and serve the community. And - even if not everyone shows it to you - you are appreciated. So if the young person still wants to, I look forward to meeting him or her!
chs You don't wear a wristwatch... What do time and money mean to you?
G. Bestele Time means a lot to me. It has become valuable. Money? It's in the company. But the real value is the employees. And also that they know it! When I'm happy about something - even privately - it's always something that has nothing to do with money. For example, an elderly lady who lost her house key on the bus last week and got it back baked us all a little cake as a thank you. Nobody has to do anything like that. But that was just great cinema and I would like to say thank you very much once again!
chs No one lives only in work. What would be a private temptation for you, Mr Bestele?
G. Bestele Now in South Tyrol, sitting in the sun in front of a cosy alpine pasture and experiencing a moment of tranquillity. Best of all with a good snack.
chs I haven't ridden a bus for a while...
G. Bestele ... then it's high time!