Swiss Watching trivia, No 26: Postbus

August 26, 2010, 4 Comments


Switzerland’s trains may get all the press but the yellow Postbuses are the real icon of Swiss transport. There’s hardly a corner of the country they don’t reach, often providing the only public transport. No surprise, then, to learn that the Postbus network covers 10,429km over  783 routes, with 13,799 stops and 2066 buses. Not forgetting 3760 employees, and 118 million passengers annually. It began in 1849 with horse-drawn coaches, and although the first motorised bus followed in 1906 (from Bern to Detligen), the last regular horse-drawn service was withdrawn as late as 1961. By 1919 the Postbus had conquered the mountains, with its Simplon Pass route, though it took until 1971 to bridge the gender gap with its first female driver. Other than the sunny livery, the most famous part of the Postbus is the horn used on mountain roads; it is, fittingly enough, taken from the William Tell Overture: C sharp, E and A in the key of A major. Three notes guaranteed to make any Swiss feel homesick.

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