“WHAT A BEAUTIFUL FAIR!"
On Sunday, the general public got the chance to visit the 23rd edition of Busworld. In line with tradition, the open house attracted many curious people. Young and old admired the sparkling buses and coaches, including the De Vlieger family. “Busworld? An absolute must-see.”
The De Vliegers have always felt connected to buses and cars. Father Thierry has been working as a driver for a quarter of a century, and if it was up to him he’d add another 25 years to his career. As professional driver he is familiar with the traditional bus transport (for public transport company De Lijn) as well as with the coach tourism. Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Greece, France, Spain and Italy: he travelled to all of these destinations on behalf of his employer (the company De Hauwere from the Belgian city of Dendermonde). Mother Marijke is also a fan of buses and coaches and is, just like her husband, very passionate about the sector in general. As a complementary activity next to her normal job, she also worked as a driver in the past. But now their two young children, Tom and Sam, are her main focus.
The whole family came all the way from Dendermonde to Kortrijk for Busworld. “A must-see”, Thierry states while his wife nods in agreement. “This biennial family trip has become a tradition. First of all, we come to take a look at the new models. I personally think that the Futura, the double decker bus of VDL, is fantastic. But the newest double decker of Van Hool, the TX27, is really nice as well.
Thierry De Vlieger says that he saw the profession of driver change with his own eyes. He denounces the lack of vision in a lot of cities. “In the past you could always park your bus at designated parking spaces in a car park. But now, you have to look for these spaces with a magnifying glass. It’s a disaster – not just for the passengers who have to continue their journey on foot, but also for the drivers themselves. In the past I sometimes had time to go and visit a tourist spot myself. But unfortunately, these times have passed.”
A feast for the eyes
Despite all of this, Busworld is the place to be for Thierry and his family to get energised again. “This sector has everything to fall in love with it”, Thierry De Vlieger says. “The fair is a feast for the eyes. Still, there are a number of things that have struck me in comparison to the former editions. First of all there’s the fact that the interest in it all is still growing. On the other hand though, I saw that the holiday booths have disappeared. Much to my regret, because I liked to gain some information on national or international tourist attractions. It’s really a shame that these booths have been done away with.”
Judging by the children’s faces, they like it here too. Tom, the eldest, is quite clear. He too, just like his father, wants to sit behind the wheel of a bus or coach for a living later on. “That is my big dream for the future,” Tom says. His impression of Busworld? “Fantastic.” Seeing that, according to the proverb, children and fools always tell the truth, we just have to believe it. “In comparison with the previous editions we get a lot of free gadgets this year: toy mini buses, hats etc. The only downside is that there are no ice creams. I think that this could bring in some extra money.” Duly noted.