Back in 2001 or 2002 I was travelling by coach in Sweden because it was cheaper than the train.

There was a break for lunch and I believe it was 15 minutes. I didn't have a watch and didn't spot a clock in the rest stop which was so enormous that the other passengers dispersed and I couldn't track them. Anyway when I finished my sandwich I looked around the building and my bus was gone with my luggage on it!

Is this normal for Sweden? Or did I just have a particularly hardline bus company or a particularly grumpy driver?

I've taken long distance buses in a dozen or more countries, rich and poor, and never came across drivers leaving after a break without some kind of minimal check that the passengers were on board.

  • 2
    Sorry, you would have to make the driver aware of you so that he will look for you. The buses otherwise run on schedule. – user3697 Dec 6 '12 at 13:46
  • I never have enough time at these rest stops, so I always get my food and go straight back to the bus and eat it on the bus. – Michael Hampton Jul 30 '13 at 10:21
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    I think it's more related to the company: many different operators have different ways to do this. Also depends on what kind of tour you did. If it was just public transportation: your responsibility, if it was a (scenic) tour: most of the time they check. – RvdK Aug 12 '14 at 13:55

It is still quite common, yes. In Sweden, long-distance buses are only staffed by the driver, and they only check for tickets on stops where people get on or off. On stops for bathroom break or when a longer stop is necessary for some reason, the bus driver will announce on the intercom how long the bus will be at the station, and when it will leave. As announcements are usually made in Swedish, you should either ask somebody native sitting nearby, or better yet, the driver him/herself. The majority of the drivers will understand some English, especially if you are on an "airport transfer" bus.

Be aware that Swedes are very time-oriented and strict, so if the leave time is announced for 15:30, then the bus will leave in 15:30 sharp, regardless of whether you are on it or not. The driver would not bother counting the passengers most of the time, but might possibly wait a minute or two if you talked with him and are obviously a tourist. But I wouldn't count on it.

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    Crazy! Most countries I've travelled in modern buses had only a driver and he'll quickly walk the aisle and count heads to himself. Japan might've had a second person with a clipboard but I can't remember. – hippietrail Oct 2 '11 at 20:29
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    It's not crazy. It's a matter of fairness. A schedule is a schedule. Why should those on time be punished for the behavior of a latecomer. Trains don't wait either ... – Maître Peseur Dec 9 '12 at 17:04
  • Counting passengers doesn't make the bus experience more modern. A driver drives. The driver is not responsible for checking whether everyone is back on board. – David Brossard May 22 '16 at 14:13

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