Although the title might indicate it, this article is not about former Eastern Germany, where queuing and sharing was part of daily life. This article is rather about cultural differences connected with queuing and sharing. Although the event as such was not enjoyable, we were able to experience almost missing a flight due to problems with the train both in Germany as well as in the U.K. And we were able to study the behaviour of the people living there.
First of all, I would like to introduce the situation. In both cases, on a journey to Stansted Airport near London and on a journey to Frankfurt Airport, we were travelling by train to the airport. Both trains stopped at a random station in the middle of nowhere on their way to the airport. And in both situations, we were asked to leave the train and travel by taxi the rest of the journey. In both situations, we were not the only persons to travel to the airport. And taxis have been very raw as the stations were – again in both cases – in the middle of nowhere.
On our journey to Stansted, there was a taxi stand outside the train station. As expected, everyone would queue patiently on the taxi stand in hope for enough taxis to come. Of course only two taxis arrive within the first minutes and Hanna and me were almost to get one. We asked two gentlemen whether it would be okay to share a taxi. Disappointingly, the gentlemen had an obscure excuse for not taking us with them.
Luckily, someone found out that there will be a bus in a few minutes around the corner. Thus, we rushed to the bus stop and again queued very patiently. Hanna and me got in this time. However, this was not true for everyone. Strangely, the bus still would have had capacities if the people would have gone through to the end. But no one asked them to do so. Not the bus driver nor the waiting passengers. Thus, the bus drove not fully loaded.
We were lucky to get the bus and finally got the flight.
On the train station in Germany there was no taxi stand. So the people were standing in front of the station as a group without clear order. Everyone was hectically phoning to order taxis as we were realistically expecting that there wouldn’t be enough.
When the first taxi arrived, it stop quite a bit away from the group of people. Thus, everyone rushed to the taxi and tried to get in. There was no point of asking to share a taxi. I was generally understood that we have to share taxis. After a few arguments about who has ordered the taxi and who should get in, the txi drove away.
Luckily, Hanna and me got the first taxi.
I have no clear preference for a certain culture’s behaviour. The Brits are definitely better in queuing, which is much more civilised. However, in Germany, there was no question in sharing taxis. In all cases, it was quite helpful to keep calm and wait for a taxi.