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The history of PostBus
We’re proud to keep Switzerland in motion.

  • 1906

    PostBus takes you on a journey through time.

    The first scheduled automobile mail route between Bern and Detligen begins on 1 June 1906 – and with that, PostBus is founded. Since then, the route network has been steadily expanded. Today, passengers can travel through Switzerland on around 1,000 PostBus routes.

    The first generation of Postbuses in the yard of the main post office in Bern in 1906. From the left: Berna, Martini and Saurer, surrounded by drivers.
  • 1919 – 1922

    First journey over a mountain pass.

    The first PostBus route to cross an Alpine pass opens in 1919, over the Simplon. In 1921, the first Postbuses travel over the Furka Pass and the Grimsel Pass, followed by the Gotthard in 1922. The journeys over the Alpine passes are the start of a new era: PostBus trips are now also a leisure activity.

    FBW Alpenwagen Postbuses: two six-cylinder Postbuses on the road over the Simplon, near the old hospital.
  • 1924

    The birth of the famous “toot-to-tooot” three-tone horn.

    The three-tone horn can be heard on mountainous postal routes. Its purpose is to warn other road users at blind spots on narrow roads. The “C-sharp - E - A” tone sequence is based on the overture to Gioachino Rossini’s “William Tell”.

    A man restoring a post horn in a workshop.
  • 1946

    Start of multiple pass journeys through the Central Alps.

    These journeys are still an iconic aspect of Swiss tourism. Today, PostBus offers five different mountain pass routes in the Central Alps. The most legendary is the four-pass route from Meiringen via Grimsel, Nufenen, Gotthard and Susten: with a journey time of 8 hours and 46 minutes, PostBus route 682 is the longest direct public transport service in Switzerland.

    Outdoor photo, Grimsel Pass, Postbus with passengers on the road towards the “Alpenrösli” hotel.
  • 1949

    PostBus is awarded the licence for bus routes in Liechtenstein.

    PostBus takes charge of the licensed routes in the Principality of Liechtenstein as a subcontractor. 72 years later, in December 2021, PostBus’s time in neighbouring Liechtenstein comes to an end. By that point, PostBus operates 14 routes with over 40 buses and a network of more than 100 kilometres.

    An aerial photo of a Liemobil bus driving on a road in Liechtenstein.
  • 1957

    PostBus launches its first school bus services.

    Travel safely from your front door to your school building with PostBus. Thanks to PostBus’s school bus services, even families in remote villages and hamlets can send their children to school without having to use a private vehicle. This public service also makes a significant positive contribution to the environment.

    There is a girl’s head in the foreground, and two passengers boarding a Postbus at a stop in the background.
  • 1959

    The buses used by private PostBus operators are now yellow, too.

    Previously, each company used their own corporate colours on their vehicles. PostBus operators are private companies that operate around half of the network on behalf of PostBus. Operations run by PostBus itself are known as municipal operations. Passengers do not notice the difference, as the vehicles and the drivers’ clothing have the same design.

  • 1961

    The last horse coach service is discontinued. It runs on the Juf–Avers route.

    By 1930, the horse coach service has become almost irrelevant. It serves only 0.6% of passengers travelling on 94 routes covering a total of 596 kilometres. Despite this, the last horse coach service runs between Cresta and Juf in Graubünden until 1961.

    A Cresta–Juf mail coach on an old road near the Val di Lei bridge in spring 1958; the last horse coach service in Switzerland; new Val di Lei bridge under construction; reproduction of photo postcard.
  • 1971

    The first female PostBus driver.

    Claire Buner is the first female PostBus driver. She works on the Jonschwil–Uzwil route. Today, 10% of drivers are women.

  • 1971

    Swiss Post yellow.

    All PostBus vehicles and stops are decorated in Swiss Post yellow with a red bar. Alongside the post horn symbol, the PostBus brand is still very recognizable.

    An old PostBus and a married couple
  • 1992

    The PostBus station in Chur is opened. It is one of the largest bus stations in Switzerland.

    The architect is Peter Rice, who also designed the Sydney Opera House. The Postbus hub, located at the railway station, is one of the most distinctive buildings in the city of Chur. The imposing glass dome protects passengers and Postbuses from all types of weather.

    A double-decker Postbus at the Postbus station in Chur. The imposing glass dome was designed by architect Peter Rice.
  • 1995

    Launch of the PubliCar dial-a-ride bus system. It is PostBus’s first on-demand service.

    On-request bus systems are the ideal alternative to scheduled services in sparsely populated areas. Most PubliCar networks can now be booked via app.

    A Postbus minibus labelled with the word “PubliCar” on a hill.
  • 2000

    PostBus is permitted to continue operating in Liechtenstein for several more years.

    PostBus wins the public tender, operating the bus routes on behalf of the Principality. PostBus has been present in Switzerland’s neighbouring country for almost 80 years.

  • 2002

    Launch of the upper-case “B” in the PostBus brand.

    PostBus, PostAuto, CarPostal, AutoPostale: the company name is now spelled with a capital letter in the middle. The Romansh version even has two: AutoDaPosta. The vehicle names are still spelled with a lower-case letter: das Postauto, le car postal, l’autopostale, the Postbus.

    A close-up of a Postbus that shows the company name, the post horn and the claim “The yellow class”.
  • 2003

    PostBus transports over 100 million passengers for the first time.

    For decades, PostBus manages to set a new record each year. At over 155 million, the number of passengers reaches its peak in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic causes a decline for the first time.

  • 2004

    Birth of CarPostal France. PostBus enters the scheduled and local transport sector in France.

    From 2004 to 2019, CarPostal France operates several networks in various regions of neighbouring France. By 2019, CarPostal France S.A. owns 18 subsidiaries.

    The image shows a white CarPostal vehicle on a road in France.
  • 2005

    PostBus becomes PostBus Switzerland Ltd.

    As PostBus Switzerland Ltd, PostBus becomes an independent company within Swiss Post Group.

  • 2006

    PostBus celebrates its 100th anniversary.

    The main celebration for the 100th anniversary of PostBus is held on 13 May 2006 in Aarberg, the destination of the first route back in 1906. The speaker at the event is Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger. Another major attraction is the company name formed from 45 Postbuses.

    The aerial photo shows several Postbuses that have been arranged to form the words “Car Postal”.
  • 2007

    The Golden Transport Hub.

    Along with the Swiss Association of Public Transport (APT) and the Swiss Association for Transport and Environment (ATE), PostBus establishes the FLUX national mobility prize. Every year, the jury assesses a range of transport hubs that guarantee a high level of comfort and safety for passengers.

    The “Golden Transport Hub” trophy with a yellow background.
  • 2010

    Services in Liechtenstein.

    PostBus wins the public tender for the bus network in Liechtenstein for a further ten years.

  • 2010

    The first hybrid Postbus.

    Switzerland’s first hybrid Postbus comes into operation in the Bern area.

  • 2011

    Focus on sustainability.

    PostBus brings five fuel cell buses into operation in Brugg, the first Swiss public transport company to do so. The pilot project from December 2011 to January 2017 provides proof that hydrogen Postbuses are suitable for public transport. In 2012, PostBus also opens Switzerland’s first hydrogen filling station for buses in Brugg. It supplies the five fuel cell Postbuses. In the same year, PostBus launches its bike sharing service, PubliBike.

    The back of a Postbus, on which is written the text: “The fuel cell Postbus. A zero-emission drive for our environment”.
  • 2012

    First free Wi-Fi in public transport.

    PostBus is the first major public transport company in Switzerland to offer passengers free Wi-Fi.

    A smiling couple sitting in a Postbus and taking a selfie.
  • 2013

    Evolution of the timetable.

    PostBus introduces real-time information: passengers can now find actual departure and arrival times at stops with display boards.

    Waiting passengers at the Postbus stop in Brugg.
  • 2015

    SwissPass.

    The public transport sector launches the SwissPass in the summer. As a result, PostBus drivers are equipped with robust smartphones for inspections.

    Close-up of a SwissPass and an inspection device.
  • 2016

    PostBus as a pioneer of automation.

    Two SmartShuttles start operating in Sion on 23 June. They are the first autonomous buses in public transport worldwide and are fully electric. In the winter of the same year, the first two electric Postbuses transport guests in Saas-Fee to the cable cars.

    The PostBus SmartShuttle travelling across a small bridge in Sion at night.
  • 2016

    PostBus as an app.

    PostBus launches Switzerland’s most cutting-edge mobility app. It enables customers to combine private and public transport. The app is discontinued in 2020, when PostBus begins cooperating with the SBB app.

    Close-up of a hand using the PostBus App.
  • 2018

    The PostBus scandal.

    On 6 February, Swiss Post and the FOT inform the public that PostBus used irregular accounting practices for several years, obtaining excessive subsidies from the Swiss Confederation as a result. On 11 June 2018, Swiss Post dismisses all members of the PostBus Executive Board. Swiss Post repays 205 million francs to the Confederation and the cantons.

  • 2018

    The “Kollibri” on-demand project begins.

    The one-year on-demand pilot project “Kollibri” begins in the Brugg region: customers can order untimetabled minibuses to their front door via an app.

    Photo of two people standing in front of a grey Kollibri taxi and looking at a smartphone.
  • 2019

    Fire in Chur.

    On 17 January, a major fire caused by a defective cable leaves the Chur garage in ruins, and 17 Postbuses are completely destroyed. Thanks to the massive effort of employees, operations continue seamlessly the next morning.

    The destroyed garage in Chur. The picture shows rubble and ash.
  • 2019

    Farewell to France.

    PostBus sells CarPostal France and ends its 15-year service in France.

  • 2019

    Record year for PostBus.

    With 167 million passengers transported, 2019 is PostBus’s most successful year to date.

    Four women sitting in the back row on a Postbus and laughing.
  • 2020

    Pandemic operations.

    From March, the coronavirus pandemic has a major impact on public transport. The Swiss public transport system reduces the timetable for several weeks: the fastest ever timetable alteration. The pandemic leads to lower passenger numbers for two years.

    An adult man and a child boarding a Postbus. Both are wearing masks on their faces.
  • 2020

    Pilot project with an electric London taxi.

    PostBus launches a pilot project with an electric-powered London taxi. It travels in the Verzasca Valley and then in Brig.

    A woman and a child standing on the right in front of the PostBus London taxi. The PostBus London taxi is shown from the front.
  • 2020

    Opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel.

    Thanks to the opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel, PostBus experiences the biggest expansion in regional passenger transport in recent decades, starting in Ticino from 13 December.

    Six Postbuses lined up next to one another. In front of every Postbus is a driver in a PostBus uniform.
  • 2021

    First use of a pantograph.

    In Brugg, PostBus uses a pantograph to charge an electric Postbus for the first time. The charging station sources its electricity from the neighbouring photovoltaic system.

    A Postbus with a pantograph that is docking at the charging station in Brugg.
  • 2021

    Robi, the luggage robot.

    In Saas-Fee, PostBus tests Robi, the luggage robot that carries luggage for holidaymakers – a Swiss premiere.

    The PostBus luggage robot Robi, which is driving through Saas-Fee loaded with skis and suitcases.
  • 2021

    PostBus in the Canton of Jura.

    From 12 December, PostBus operates all bus routes in the Canton of Jura.

    A bus on the road in Jura, decorated in the red and white MOBIJU design.
  • 2022

    Swiss Post sells PubliBike.

    In January, Swiss Post sells the bike sharing company PubliBike, which was founded by PostBus in 2011, to private Swiss investors. From 1 April, it is no longer compulsory to wear masks on public transport, after 21 months of coronavirus restrictions.

  • 175 years of Swiss railways.

    Throughout the year, Swiss public transport and the public celebrate the opening of the first railway line 175 years ago. PostBus plays an important role in the anniversary events.

    Swiss Railways logo

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