Zurich bus and tram drivers allowed to play music out loud from this summer

Zurich bus and tram drivers allowed to play music out loud from this summer

The main bus and tram operator in the city of Zurich, VBZ, has said that it will be giving its drivers the opportunity to listen to music while they are on the job. It follows a change in regulation and a successful trial in Basel.

Swiss bus and tram drivers listening to music prohibited until 2021

While some will have heard drivers in certain areas listening to the radio when on the road, up until 2021, the Swiss government actually prohibited bus and tram drivers from listening to music when in the cab. This changed in 2021, when the Federal Office of Transport gave individual Swiss cantons permission to change the rules as they saw fit.

After the Basler Verkehrsbetriebe (BVB) successfully changed its rules in the summer of 2022, public transport authorities in Zurich are now hoping to follow suit. From the start of the school summer holidays, a year-long pilot will be launched that will allow all bus and tram drivers in Switzerland’s largest city to tune into their favourite music.

Zurich bus and tram operators allowed to pick their own music

To help the drivers kick back with their own tunes, VBZ will instal Bluetooth speaker holders in the cab of every tram and bus on the network. Workers will be able to buy the Bluetooth speaker that fits the holder at a “reasonable price.”

There are no rules as to what type of music they are allowed to play, only that it not be too loud - VBZ was also quick to clarify that this won't mean passengers will be allowed to blast out their own music on loudspeakers. Drivers will also not be allowed to listen to live broadcasts, podcasts or sporting events and will be prohibited from listening with headphones or operating the device while the vehicle is in motion.

“The pilot operation is intended to contribute to increasing the satisfaction of the driving service employees and to strengthening VBZ as an attractive employer. The VBZ is monitoring the course of the test and will, in particular, also evaluate the reactions and feedback from their passengers and then decide whether listening to music in the driver's cab can definitely be introduced,” VBZ Head of Operations Jürg Widmer said in a statement.

Image: / Michael Derrer Fuchs

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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