First 24/7 public transport service launches in German-speaking Switzerland
The town of Lenzerheide has become the very first community in German-speaking Switzerland to introduce public transport services that run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While only on a small scale, the new scheme at the ski resort has already caught the attention of other Swiss cantons and cities, most notably Zurich.
Lenzerheide launches new public transport service
Since mid-December 2023, the Lenzerheide-Albula region has offered German-speaking Switzerland's first-ever public transport service that runs all night long. The districts of Lenzerheide and Tiefencastel are now served by Post Buses that only stop at 4am - regular services resume once more at 5.40am.
What’s more, passengers on these late / early services can use regular public transport tickets with no night surcharge. However, while they are subject to a set timetable, early morning commuters have to pre-book their journeys via the app. If there are no reservations, the bus will not run - however, trips can be booked at the very last minute. The 24-hour service is expected to run until the end of the Lenzerheide ski season on April 14.
24 / 7 transport designed to reduce the number of cars
Speaking to Blick, Canton Graubünden’s head of public transport, Thierry Müller, said that he was glad the region was at the forefront of 24 / 7 travel, noting that he is “very satisfied” with passenger numbers after the first month. “We have already been able to gain our first regular customers, which we interpret as a good sign…These are tourists who visit a restaurant or friends within the destination. But there are also young people from the region or employees of local companies.”
Müller added that ultimately the main goal of the expanded service is to reduce the number of drivers in the community. “If public transport wants to be a real alternative to private cars, then we have to cover as many mobility needs as possible.”
Canton Zurich planning more night trains and buses
While small scale, the success in Lenzerheide has started to attract the attention of larger communities in Switzerland. Speaking to CH Media, a spokesperson for the Zurich Transport Association (ZVV) confirmed that the firm was looking into “whether a night network could work on some or all days of the week” - currently, night trains and buses in Zurich only run on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Watson argued that Canton Zurich remains the best candidate for expansion, given that over 60.000 students are registered at local universities and the city plays host to the country’s largest airport, making early morning commutes from nightclubs or toward early flights all the more likely. However, ZVV suggested that while the 24 / 7 idea is in the works, their priority will be introducing new night services on the weekend, most notably between Zurich, Aarau and Olten.
The residents of other Swiss cantons are also in for a long wait before they get to experience a 24 / 7 service. Representatives from Lucerne, Aargau, Bern, Basel and St. Gallen all told CH media that they either see no need or demand to expand night services or can’t due to overnight maintenance work and other limitations.
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