Roland Bonzon - Articles and news items
Issue 5 2011 • 31 October 2011 • Roland Bonzon, CEO, TPG
As previously announced in Eurotransport Issue 5 2010, after several years of feasibility studies, preparation and finally construction, travellers in Geneva will be able to benefit from tram line 14 and its new 6.5km extension to Bernex. At the same time, a major re-organisation of the tram and bus network and a new information system for travellers is being introduced. In an interview for Eurotransport, Roland Bonzon, CEO of TPG, explains what changes will come into force for passengers, the impact on the bus and trolleybus network and investments in new vehicles.
Why are you changing the way the tram network is operated?
The current system has reached its limits. In order to respond to the growing needs of our customers, we have to change the way we operate. The new tram network will be much simpler – instead of the seven interconnected tram lines currently operating, the new system will have just three independent lines. With additional trams due for delivery in 2012, we will be able to adapt the service frequency in response to passenger demand. Along with the extension of the network, we expect a significant increase in the number of passengers.
In addition, the new system will lead to a more reliable service. An accident or breakdown on one part of the network will no longer have a knock-on effect on other parts – which is the case today.
Geneva and the tramway – this is an old story of being in-love and out-of-love. Following an impressive expansion between 1903 and 1924, (at its peak, the Geneva tram system was one of the most extensive in Europe), there was a period of long recess during the 1920s. Then came a re-burst of passion: at the beginning of the 1990s, after 30 years of dismantling, the tram became popular again. While certain sections of rails from that period have remained in place and are still being used today, we have come a far way from the steam powered tram and Geneva’s first electrical trams. Technology has evolved immensely and the Geneva Public Transport (TPG) has followed in its movement.
In Switzerland, the Lake Geneva region, and more particularly the Geneva conurbation, is at the very heart of an unprecedented demographic change, where demand for public transport is very high. Geneva Public Transport (TPG) is one of the few creditable responses to the exponential growth in mobility, which makes its involvement in the cantonal transport policy absolutely essential.
In Geneva, any mention of mobility has to take account of Geneva Public Transport. Every day, more than 416,000 consumers use TPG services – equivalent to 151 million journeys per year – and this with a total population in Geneva amounting to approximately 450,000 inhabitants. These figures serve to confirm that TPG is the main operator in a region comprising, not only the conurbation of Geneva, but also the cross-border zones of nearby France and the canton of Vaud.