moBiel – building a future on customer intimacy

22 December 2009  •  Author(s): Wolfgang Brinkmann, Managing Director, moBiel GmbH

For four years, Bielefeld – a city in the Northeast of the Federal State of North-Rhine-Westphalia with a population of approximately 325,000, has topped the category of ‘Overall Customer Satisfaction’ on the annual German public transport survey ‘ÖPNV-Kundenbarometer’. Its strong customer focus is what moBiel, the city’s public transport operator, considers its strongest asset. As the stimulator of Bielefeld’s infrastructure, moBiel banks on expansion – ‘life in the city, it’s where we are’.

Bielefeld, like over a hundred other cities in Germany, introduced its first electric tram line at the turn of the century. Initially, it comprised of 12 railcars and eight tram trailers operating on a 9.2km rail track in 30 minute intervals. Bielefeld’s citizens were enthusiastic about the new means of public transport. Within the year, the tram fleet comprised of 21 railcars with 11 tram trailers and their frequency, at times, stepped up to 7.5 minutes. The tramline remained a fixture of public life in Bielefeld, even after World War II. In the late 1960s, many German cities ripped out their rail tracks and switched to bus-based public transport. However, Bielefeld’s public transport operator, then still a division of the public utility Stadtwerke Bielefeld, not only stuck with its trams so popular with its citizens, but set out to expand the rail system – even after the first prognoses predicted the seemingly anachronistic trams would soon disappear.

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