After complaints from Christians, Poland's 666 bus to Hel will cease to exist
The same route will soon be renumbered 669
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In a terrible marketing decision, Poland bus company PKS Gdynia says it will officially end bus route 666 to the city of Hel.
The decision was announced earlier this week along with a notice that the same route would be renumbered 669 as of June 24.
Hel is a (very real) town on the southern coast of the Baltic Sea. It’s so popular with tourists that one enthusiast noted, “Hel is like paradise on earth.” The fact that, since 2006, the “666 to Hel” has been a real journey you could take has undoubtedly boosted the local economy. (Just think of the shirts!) The fact that it’s a seaside resort town only made everything better.
In recent years, however, the (coincidental) link between the town name and the bus number led to complaints from Christians. One conservative Catholic website lamented the “malicious” route number, saying that it “strikes at the Christian order of the Polish state and its foundations, and hence… at the good of all of us.” As if the numbering was done specifically to persecute Christians…
Such numbering isn’t even all that unique. In 2017, Finnair flight 666 flew to Helsinki on Friday the 13th, leading to all kinds of headlines about Flight 666 to HEL on the unluckiest day of the year. When you place unwarranted importance on certain numbers or places, you shouldn’t be surprised when coincidences occur.
So why is the change being made?
While the bus company offered no public explanation, one official told a local news outlet that the religious complaints were indeed the basis for the shift:
… Marcin Szwaczyk, who oversees PKS Gdynia’s route planning, confirmed that such complaints were indeed behind the firm’s decision.
“For years, we have received objections from opponents of this number,” he told local news service Trojmiasto.pl. “So we changed it from 666 to 669, [which is] less controversial and less conspicuous.”
However, he revealed that, in the two days since the change was announced, the firm has been inundated with complaints “from the other side” by those who want the old 666 back.
It’s possible the old route number will make a comeback… but it won’t happen anytime soon. The company has already ordered all the material it needs to help passengers navigate the change. Until there’s enough pushback, then, Route 666 to Hel will cease to exist. Its memory will head into the same dumpster as its critics’ sense of humor.
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