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Switzerland - Articles and news items

SwissPass: the first step on the path to e-ticketing

Issue 5 2015  •  2 November 2015  •  Ueli Stückelberger, Director of the Swiss Association of Public Transport

With the recent nationwide launch of the SwissPass travelcard, Ueli Stückelberger, Director of the Swiss Association of Public Transport, gives comment on how he believes this “evolution” in public transport is the first step towards barrier-free travel…

Lucerne: Establishing new public transport systems to meet demand

Issue 5 2015  •  2 November 2015  •  Norbert Schmassmann – Head of Lucerne’s public transport company VBL1

What does the agglomeration of the Swiss city of Lucerne with around 200,000 inhabitants need the most – a bus or a tram system? Lucerne’s politicians and traffic experts have discussed this question over recent years following a steady increase in frequencies on its public transport network. As Norbert Schmassmann – Head of Lucerne’s public transport company VBL – explains, the decision ultimately fell to a high quality bus system for the city…

After a decade of growth, Geneva now concentrates on improving service quality

Issue 5 2015  •  2 November 2015  •  Emmanuel Fankhauser, Network Development Manager at TPG

Between 2003 and 2013, additions to the local tram network doubled the offer of Geneva’s public transport system. But between 2014 and 2019, the picture will be different. Emmanuel Fankhauser, Network Development Manager at TPG, explains that no major infrastructure projects or developments are planned on the network, but concentration will be placed on optimisation and reorganisation of their services…

Stadtbus Winterthur: a strategy to keep up with growing demand

Issue 5 2015  •  2 November 2015  •  Stadtbus Winterthur’s Thomas Nideröst, Director, and Reto Abderhalden, Director of Communications and Marketing

Steeped in history, the city of Winterthur in the canton of Zürich in northern Switzerland has seen many changes to its public transport offering over the years. But now, with areas of the city being expanded and redeveloped, plus the increase of passenger numbers, the growing demand for the city’s bus network means a new strategy must be put in place. Stadtbus Winterthur’s Thomas Nideröst, Director, and Reto Abderhalden, Director of Communications and Marketing, explain what is next for its operations and the challenges to be met by 2030…

Lausanne to receive three additional Alstom metros for m2 line

Industry news  •  5 May 2015  •  Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, Eurotransport

Alstom has received an order to supply three additional metros for the m2 line in Lausanne, Switzerland.

LOST: for increasingly safe public transport

Issue 5 2014  •  24 October 2014  •  Pierre-Yves Gruaz – Chief Operating Officer of TPG

LOST – which has nothing to do with missing people or the famed TV series – stands for the new law on transportation company security bodies which came into force throughout Switzerland on 1 October 2011, and the country’s public transport companies had nearly a year to apply it to daily operations. Implementing this new law on the TPG network (Geneva’s public transport company) required a new collaboration with the CFF (Chemins de Fer Fédéraux) Railway Police, known as Polfer. Pierre-Yves Gruaz – Chief Operating Officer of TPG – provides further information about LOST and explains that Polfer have been accompanying TPG’s own security agents on the ground and lending a hand since autumn 2011…

Hardbrücke tram link project – vital for mobility growth

Issue 5 2014  •  24 October 2014  •  Oliver Weder – Project Manager in the Infrastructure Division of VBZ

Zurich’s Municipal Transport Company – VBZ (Verkehrsbetriebe Zurich) – has a network development strategy known as ‘2030’ and has previously released information to express how the strategy intends to meet the growing demand for public transport1. The most important medium-term element of this strategy is to complement the radial tram network with tangential lines. The Hardbrücke tram link is needed in order to accomplish this between the two city districts separated by the large SBB railway track area and the River Limmat. This will involve the retrofitting of a tram track on a bridge built originally for road traffic. The project has the unanimous support of experts, with the parliaments of both the City of Zurich and the Canton of Zurich overwhelmingly welcoming it. Now, however, a legislative referendum has been instigated by the strongly supported right-wing Swiss People’s Party, ensuring that the citizens of the Canton of Zurich have to vote on the project. Although scarcely anyone has any doubt as to a vote in favour at the ballot box, a ‘no’ vote would well and truly put a stranglehold on the development of public transport. The overarching goals of the cities initiative. i.e. a 10% increase in the modal split share of public transport and non-motorised transport within 10 years, and the ‘2000-watt society’ would vanish into the very distant future. In the run-up to the voting date, Oliver Weder – Project Manager in the Infrastructure Division of VBZ – explains how the transport company is now putting all its endeavours into campaigning in favour of the project…

The importance of an integrated Swiss public transport network

Issue 5 2013  •  11 November 2013  •  Ueli Stückelberger, Director, Swiss Association of Public Transport

The story of public transport in Switzerland is an impressively successful one: while passenger journeys have increased by over 30% since 2001, the rise in the number of passenger kilometres has been even higher at almost 40%. At the same time, transport companies have massively increased their workforce productivity in recent years. For example, in the period from 1998 to 2010, the number of public transport employees fell by 10%, while passenger and goods traffic capacity grew by more than 12%. This means that Swiss public transport achieved a 5% increase in employee productivity every year.

The picture is similar when looking at the ratio between the public funds expended (subsidy payments) and the public transport services rendered. The confederation, cantons and communes (and thus directly the taxpayers) invest approximately 8 billion Swiss francs annually (around CHF 1,000 per head) in public transport and get more services from year-toyear in return for their subsidy payments.

Increasing the public transport offering for a growing city

Issue 5 2013  •  11 November 2013  •  Michel Joye, Director, Transports publics de la région lausannoise SA (tl)

Lausanne – the capital of the canton of Vaud situated in the heart of Europe on the shores of Lake Geneva – is home to the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), the IMD and the Béjart Ballet, which together with other leading organisations underpin the city’s international reputation. In the world of public transport, it is also regularly in the spotlight for being the smallest city in the world to have an automatic driverless metro. Operated by Transports publics de la région lausannoise SA (tl), the m2 metro, inaugurated in 2008, has profoundly changed the face of the built-up area and transformed the mobility of an entire population. It has also proved at an international level that a city of fewer than one million inhabitants can justifiably claim ownership of such a transport system.

A veritable mountain railway climbing gradients of up to 12%, the m2 is the first metro of its kind in Switzerland. Covering differences in gradient of over 1,000 feet in less than 20 minutes, it has made its mark as an ideal solution for transporting a rapidly growing population very quickly, comfortably and safely. After four years in service, the m2 has already carried more than 100 million passengers in a population of around 300,000. Its success has paved the way for other major public transport developments which are now in the pipeline for Lausanne and its suburbs.

Zurich prepares to move with the times

Issue 5 2013  •  11 November 2013  •  Jacques Baumann, Deputy Director and Divisional Head of Marketing, Zurich Public Transport

The city of Zurich in north-central Switzerland is experiencing enormous growth. By 2030, jobs and residents in the city are expected to increase by 15% and 20% respectively. Public transport needs to keep pace with this growth as failure to do so could result in gridlock because traffic congestion has long been a problem on the roads. Seven years ago, VBZ (Zurich Public Transport) conducted its first ever systematic network planning study – its aim was to show how this growth could be accommodated.
The need for ‘rolling’ review

Because the growth of an urban area such as Zurich, with more than a million inhabitants, is subject to constant change, the public transport planning strategy for this zone must be kept under ‘rolling’ review. In other words, expansion projects must be regularly monitored in respect of their relevance to the changed situation, their financial viability, feasibility and need, and amended accordingly. Vision and foresight are unquestionably important. However, it would be wrong to base decisions on them alone. What is required is a ‘philosophy of balance’ – that is to say the transport needs of the population should be accorded the same level of importance as the shifting town planning priorities. The long-term economic viability of new lines is a factor, as is the prevailing mood with its short-lived hypes and trends.

HaCon equip leading Swiss bus company with vehicle management system

Industry news, News  •  24 September 2013  •  HaCon Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH

HaCon will equip PostBus Switzerland Ltd with its award-winning vehicle management system HAFAS Smart VMS…

Switzerland: old challenges, new solutions

Issue 5 2012  •  31 October 2012  •  Peter Füglistaler, Director, Federal Office of Transport, Switzerland

Public transport in Switzerland is of a high standard with frequent, punctual, clean and reliable services. But this does not mean we are resting on our laurels; on the contrary. We are working to ensure we can manage future demand and meet passengers’ expectations of an even better service. However, this is only possible if there is secured long-term funding.

As Switzerland is so small, public transport is perceived as a whole. Customers barely differentiate between long-distance, regional (urban rail, buses) and local services (buses, trams). In larger cities such as Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, Lucerne or Basel, urban rail and sometimes even long-distance services play an important role alongside buses in local and agglomeration transport.

This is a sign of quality. It shows that the many different transport service providers work together seamlessly. All timetables are coordinated, which simplifies switching from one mode of transport to another. One important factor here is that customers usually only need one ticket for the whole journey. Season tickets valid on all modes of transport and across all networks are also very common.

BVB’s extensive modernisation programme

Issue 5 2012  •  31 October 2012  •  Jürg Baumgartner, Director, Basel Public Transport Company (BVB)

BVB, the Basel Public Transport Company, is the most important carrier in the inner part of the tri-national agglomeration of Basel with 800,000 inhabitants. Under its new management, the long-standing company is undergoing an in-depth process of modernisation. The 65km-long tram network is to be extended by up to 19km of new lines; some of them across the border into Germany and France. Sixty new Flexity trams are expected between 2014 and 2016, replacing the old rolling stock built between 1967 and 1991. By 2025, BVB expects to carry 10% more passengers, a challenging objective given the fact that its current market share in the region is already very high at 50%. The investment linked to BVB’s modernisation amounts to almost one billion Swiss Francs (approximately €800 million).

Public transportation in the tri-national agglomeration of Basel: The city of Basel, situated in the north of Switzerland at the borders with France and Germany, is the centre of a tri-national agglomera tion with more than 800,000 inhabitants, with 500,000 living in Switzerland and 300,000 in Germany or France. On the Swiss side, the largest part of the agglomeration is situated within the two cantons of Basel-Stadt (Basel-City) and Baselland.

Demand-driven tram extensions in Bern

Issue 5 2012  •  31 October 2012  •  René Schmied, CEO, BERNMOBIL

After the opening of a number of new tram lines, on 12 December 2010, the city of Bern became known as a ‘tram city’. At the city’s main station, 46 trams, per hour, pass by in each direction. Five tram lines are bundled in the heart of the city and use the same tracks between Hirschengraben station and Bern main station. At the end of 2010, with the opening of two new tram lines in the West of Bern, and the integration of the suburban light-rail line from Worb into the tram network of BERNMOBIL, the network grew from 17km to 31km, and from three to five lines. Forty-eight per cent of BERNMOBIL passengers now travel by tram, compared to 35% previously.

A new tram line to Wankdorf: The next step to expand the tram network is ready. The existing tram line ‘9’ will be extended by 1.2km from Guisanplatz to Bern Wankdorf railway station, with operations due to commence on 9 December 2012.

The main benefit of this line extension is to introduce a new connection of the tram network with the railway network at one of the busiest places in Bern. The football and ice hockey stadiums and Bern Expo are located here, plus the new headquarters of Swiss Post and the Swiss Federal Railways are being built just behind the railway station, and many other companies can be found in this district.

Wiener Linien’s social media success contributes to passenger satisfaction

Issue 5 2011  •  31 October 2011  •  Günter Steinbauer, CEO, Wiener Linien

The Viennese love their public transport. Thirty-six percent of all trips within Austria’s capital are made by subway, tram and bus. This makes Vienna an international leader in the field of public transport – and that is certainly quite something.

Alongside having good infrastructure and modern vehicles, there is no doubt that customer focus is the most important factor for this popularity. This is also illustrated in the current customer satisfaction studies of Wiener Linien: no less than 95% of the 900 respondents surveyed evaluated the service of Wiener Linien as good – a plus of 2% compared with the previous year.

However, Wiener Linien is not resting on its laurels; not only is it trying to maintain high customer satisfaction but also to boost it even further through different means.

The launch of its social media presence in March 2011 constituted another step towards greater customer orientation and customer satisfaction, making Wiener Linien a pioneer amongst European local public transport providers.

 

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