Bus driver forbade his passengers to speak Hungarian

A bus driver for the Fany transport company on the route between Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca) and Finișel (Kisfenes) forbade his passengers to speak Hungarian, an outraged Transylvanian-Hungarian passenger told kronikaonline.ro.

The passenger from Magyarfenes (Vlaha), a village with 92 percent ethnic Hungarian inhabitants, wished to remain anonymous because she is afraid of what the company may do to her.

According to her, the bus driver forbade her and her fellow passengers to speak Hungarian when she was traveling home Thursday afternoon on the route Kolozsvár-Finișel. She was having a conversation on the bus in Hungarian with other passengers from Magyarfenes and Tordaszentlászló (Săvădisla), another village in the area with 89 percent ethnic Hungarian inhabitants, when

the driver raised his voice to tell them to be quiet, even though the conversation was not loud in any way to disturb others.

According to the complainant, the driver said the following: “Are you done yet? […] What do you think, could anybody tolerate what you are doing? Nobody understands a thing [you are saying]!” The women answered the bus driver, asking him if their use of the Hungarian language disturbed him?

“I asked him: Where is it written that I cannot speak on the bus in my mother tongue? – It will be written from tomorrow! – he replied.”

The complainant further said that when she asked the driver if the conversation or the Hungarian language itself was disturbing to him, he answered “both.” The women from Magyarfenes found this outrageous because, as she said:

“On this route, the driver himself talks many times with others loudly and also often plays music loudly even in the early morning at 5:30.”

“And nobody says anything,” she said. After they got off the bus in Magyarfenes, her daughter called the bus company’s customer service to make a complaint against the anti-Hungarian behavior of the driver, but to her astonishment, the dispatcher took the driver’s side.

“The dispatcher said that the driver was right to be angry with me. We live in Romania, and we are in a community. In a community,

to which several Romanian and

Hungarian villages belong, so I cannot use my mother tongue.”

– the woman recalled the dispatcher saying.

According to her, she has been commuting regularly on this route for two years and has never experienced such an incident before, but she heard from her neighbors that others had also been spoken to in this way when they spoke Hungarian. She told Kronika that she will not let the incident go because she believes she has the right to speak in her mother tongue.

She also said that she had lived and worked in Germany before for several years, where she never experienced anyone attacked for not speaking in German.

Kronikaonline.ro tried to call the customer service of the company, but despite several attempts on Thursday afternoon they did not succeed: The phone rang, but nobody picked it up.

Municipality with half Romanian, half Hungarian population

According to the data of Erdélystat, eight settlements belong to the Tordaszentlászló (Săvădisla) municipality in Kolozs (Cluj) County, where half of the population is Romanian and half Hungarian. According to the previous census, out of the 4,392 inhabitants, 2,268 (51.6 percent) listed themselves as Hungarian. Three out of the eight settlements have a Hungarian majority (Tordaszentlászló, Magyarfenes and Magyarléta/Liteni), while five have a Romanian majority (Finișel/Kisfenes, Hășdate/Hasadát, Lita/Oláhléta, Stolna/Isztolna,  Vălișoara/Járarákos).


Title image: Fany is one of the oldest private transport operators in Romania and was founded in 1999. (Photo: fany.ro Facebook page)




Author: Attila Szoó