Swiss Postal Buses
ABOVE: A postal bus follows a mountain road near Beatenberg in the Bernese Oberland.
Bus travel may not be as glamorous as electrified railways, funiculars, and aerial cablecars, but it represents a vital link in Switzerland's tightly integrated public transportation system. After all, not every town or village can be on a railroad line--especially if it's halfway up a mountainside or tucked into a corner of a remote valley.
The Autobus volume of the Swiss Official Timetable has more than a thousand timetables for bus lines throughout Switzerland, including many Postal Bus routes operated by Swiss Post. These bright yellow buses, with their triple-redundant brake systems and distinctive three-tone horns, are seen all over the country. Look for them at train stations and post offices, where local citizens use them for commuting, visiting Grandma, or heading for town to buy the latest Metallica album.
See the "hidden Switzerland"
Postal buses often go to areas that the vast majority of tourists never see. Here are two sample itineraries from the Swiss Official Timetable, including route numbers. (Note: Timetables are always subject to change, so these itineraries are provided only as examples.)
Save money with a pass
Switzerland offers a variety of special transportation tickets for tourists. The most convenient are the Swiss Pass and the Swiss Flexi-Pass, which allow unlimited travel on the Swiss Federal Railways, postal buses, lake steamers, and urban transit systems for a specified number of days. With a Swiss Pass or Flexi-Pass, you can travel just about anywhere without having to do a pantomime act in German, French, or Italian at every local ticket window.
Related article and Web sites
Swiss Post: Postbus
Federal Railways Timetable
Photo: Copyright © Switzerland Tourism. Used by permission.