Polish transit operator PKS Gdynia announced that due to complaints from the Roman Catholic Church it will be renumber its notorious ‘Satanic Bus’ route serving Pomeranian resort area.
According to the operator, bus route 666, serving Poland’s Baltic Sea resort of Hel, will be re-numbered at the end of June.
“We changed the number from 666 to 669, [to be] less controversial and less conspicuous,” PKS Gdynia executive said, citing complaints by the church as one of the reasons for the decision.
“For us, the most important thing is that the buses run and that the routes are served properly. The line number is secondary.”
After the transit operator had assigned the number to bus few years ago, English-speaking visitors noticed the pun in taking route 666 to “Hell” and the line became a tourist attraction.
The ‘Satanic Bus’ route became so popular with outside visitors that Hel, a resort community of about 10,000 residents, became overcrowded at times during the summer beach season. Some tourists made the trip to the peninsula only to ride the bus.
While bus route 666 proved to be good for business, it was perceived less charitably by some in the traditionally Catholic country. Christian numerology associates 666 with the devil, based on a line from the Biblical Book of Revelation about the “number of the beast.”
Back in 2018, the Catholic newspaper called the pun “Satanic stupidity” and argued that it made frivolous fun of the “horror of soul death and separation from God’s love.” The outlet said it would call on the Polish government to intervene unless PKS Gdynia changed the route number.
“The Bus line 666 running to Hel, to put it briefly and bluntly, strikes at the Christian order of the Polish state and its foundations, and hence – at the well-being of all of us,” the paper cried.
But apparently, PKS Gdynia has now been inundated with complaints from the other camp. “We are shocked how many supporters of the old numbering have contacted us,” bus operator’s executive said, adding that it might be possible for Route 666 to return – maybe not this year, but perhaps the next.