Every year at Christmas time a Danish hit from 1988 by rappers MC Einar is played on Danish radio. ”Jul, det’ cool” it’s called, meaning ”Christmas, it’s cool”. The rappers talk about an angry bus driver. Last week the ”Bus drivers with character” faced the old hit with their own rap about how they see themselves. They don’t recognize being as angry as the old 80s rap hit claims. As part of the identity project “Bus drivers with character” that we created for the public transportation industry two years ago, we did a study on people’s perception of the bus trip and the bus driver. Some people used the old rap as a quote: “Get back, goddammit!” (“Gå så tilbage for helvede”) referring to an angry bus driver forcing passengers to the back of the bus. Fortunately, that sort of bus driver is hard to find these days. Several songs from the same rappers give this image of the bus drivers. And neither the drivers or the companies they work for have been successful at answering back. This time, we wanted to help the bus drivers go against the prejudice and create new words for what they want everyone to think of them. Some would say it’s too late after 22 years. I said they should shout right back.
We invited the Denmark’s best freestyle rapper Pede B and five bus drivers to join forces in creating their own rap. They came to the Stagis office and talked energetically of busses and passengers. A few days later they went to a recording studio to record their Christmas rap with a producer and coaching from Pede B. Danish radio produced a feature on the subject, interviewing the bus drivers in the recording studio. Last Wednesday the five courageous bus drivers Hamide, Ib, Rene, Torben and Harris performed on stage in front of Copenhagen Town Hall before appearing live on the popular talk show ”Aftenshowet” on DR TV (go to 21:33 to see the clip). They talked about who they want to be and did a live rap performance.
That same evening 10 Stagis colleagues were gathered for a dinner at our office, celebrating not only Christmas but the success of an intense process delivering a fun and meaningful project.If your Copenhagen bus driver rhymes along the lines of ”My sleigh is quite cool, quite cool” (“Min slæde den er ret fed, ret fed!” in Danish) you’ll know he’s trying to create a new reputation for himself and all of the bus industry. Meanwhile, we’re creating new events that will help the bus industry shed light on their authentic strengths and abilities as a public service provider, more than transportation provider. The Danish Ministry of Transport is supporting the project during the next full year and the goal is to improve the image of the bus drivers and the bus experience in order to increase the use of public transportation. Look forward to the end of february where the next big thing is going on for the bus drivers and the bus passengers!