Passengers taking the highway to Hel will no longer be able to travel on bus 666 after the local public transport operator changed the number of a service travelling to the popular Polish seaside resort following criticism from religious groups.
Hel is a magnet for holidaymakers who are attracted by its sandy beaches and forest trails, which bear scant resemblance to the fiery pit of eternal damnation its name evokes in the minds of English speakers.
Debate over bus 666
Tourists and locals alike have long seen the funny side of the name and for many bus 666, referencing the 'number of the beast' which is associated with Satan, was a harmless joke.
However, not everybody found it amusing and the service had run into criticism from some people who felt it offended their religious sensitivities.
"The Management Board buckled under the weight of letters and requests that were sent to us, maybe not in large numbers, but cyclically for many years with a request to change the line number," said Marcin Szwaczyk from local bus company PKS Gdynia.
The company has now decided to change the number to 669, Szwaczyk said, adding that complaints had been received from individuals and Christian groups for almost 10 years.
In 2018, Catholic group Fronda labelled the use of the number as "Satanic stupidity".
"Hell is the negation of humanity. It is eternal death and suffering," the group wrote in an article. "You can only laugh at this reality if you simply don't understand what it is."
The new 669 summer service will start running on June 24, but Szwaczyk did not rule out a return for the 666 if passengers demand it.
"If in fact the response is large and strong enough to restore the line 666, it seems to me that we will listen to our passengers and change this number," he said.