SBB to retain most Swiss long-distance services

SWITZERLAND’s Federal Office of Transport (BAV) announced on June 12 that it will award a concession to run almost the entire Swiss inter-city network to the current operator, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), with effect from 2019, with just two inter-regional lines – Bern – Biel and Bern – Burgdorf – Olten going to BLS.

The new concessions cover a period of ten years from December 2019 and the new arrangement is in line with BAV’s policy of encouraging competition, which it believes will lead to more improvements in passenger services.

However, BLS is unhappy with the decision as its original application covered five lines. In addition to the Bern – Biel/Bern – Olten concession awarded by BAV, BLS had sought to run Bern – Neuenburg – La Chaux de Fonds – Le Locle interregional trains and inter-city services from Basle to Brig and Interlaken. BLS argues that this is only commercially viable as a complete package and the company’s board is now considering whether to take up the concessions awarded at all. It also has the option of launching an appeal within the next 30 days. SBB to retain most Swiss long-distance services


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