As the systems leader for road transport, PostBus is for the first time playing an active role as coordinator on behalf of the Swiss Confederation during the coronavirus crisis. The project management team is in close contact with 150 Swiss transport companies.
In March 2020, PostBus was confronted with an unexpected challenge: when the Federal Council called on people to stay at home where possible, the company had to draft and implement a scaled-back timetable within a very short time. In normal times, the timetable change takes place once a year and requires months of preparation. As the systems leader for road transport, PostBus also worked with SBB to develop a protection plan for public transport.
Where is it compulsory to wear a mask? What about group travel? Should drivers still sell tickets? “Every day brought new questions,” recalls Christa Hostettler, Head of Sales at PostBus. “As a systems leader, however, we are well connected and prepared for any potential crisis, and this allowed us to quickly establish a dialogue with the federal offices, intercantonal conferences and purchasers.” As the point of contact for all buses, trams, boats and cable cars, PostBus is in continual dialogue with 150 transport companies that together operate 1,500 public transport routes. After a period of calm in the summer, this role again became very important starting in autumn 2020.
Christa HostettlerHead of Sales at PostBus
The transport companies share their ideas and experiences with each other in a straightforward manner and in a spirit of solidarity.
In agreement with the Federal Council and the Federal Office of Transport, PostBus issues orders on scaling back the timetable and protecting drivers and passengers. At the beginning of the crisis, PostBus published a daily bulletin of the latest developments. Alongside SBB, it holds telephone conferences with up to 400 participants. In addition, PostBus also provides practical support and on-screen displays, posters and announcements for customer information.
“Public transport performed well, even in the most difficult phases,” says Christa Hostettler. “The industry has pulled together during the crisis. This will help us to overcome challenges together – for example, when it comes to digitization – and to develop even more strongly networked mobility solutions.”
PostBus and SBB are the organizations tasked with so-called systems leadership in rail- and road-based public transport. In con- sultation with the Federal Office of Transport (FOT), they ensure that the recommendations issued by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) to companies in the public transport sector are implemented and, where necessary, impose additional uniform measures throughout Switzerland.