On September 8, most of the picture-taking in Krakow’s Rynek Glowny was being done not by tourists but by residents of the city. The occasion was the celebration of 80 years of bus transportation in Krakow.
The story starts in January 1927 when the first buses became alternatives to trams in the rapidly expanding city. This month’s celebration began near the Royal Castle on the Wawel Hill on ul. Powisle. A parade formed there and moved across ul. Zwierzyniecka, Franciszkanska, and Grodzka to Rynek Glowny in the afternoon to the sound of a bugle call from St. Mary’s Church.
In the square, everybody could take photos of the different kinds of buses that have served Krakow for 80 years. For older citizens it was an occasion to reminisce; for younger residents it was a first opportunity to view the old buses.
After another bugle call, buses full of people left Rynek Glowny and traveled to the Park of Polish Aviators. There, among the old airplanes, the main attraction was the buses. The more curious were allowed to climb inside the buses and sit in the driver’s seats. Children learned how to change the numbers and route signs on the buses.
Przemek Jaskowiec said: “I have been interested in buses since my childhood. I remember riding “Cucumbers” (Cucumber was the nickname for Koda 706 RTO), their streamlined shape and the characteristic roar of their engines.”
On some of the buses, visitors could take a short ride past the old airport. The first ride was by Jelcz RTO and the driver was the first woman in Krakow’s bus system, Kamila Panczyk.
Also, at the Park of Polish Aviators, people were renovating old bus engines. Thanks to people like these throughout Poland, many old buses have new lives.
The nearly 1,000 visitors at the celebration included some amateur bus experts. They were the members of Krakow’s Railway Modelers Club. Their main interests, of course, are the trains but they also organize events such as Krakow’s Night in January, when they ride buses through the streets and take pictures of the vehicles in Krakow’s nighttime winter scenery.