Mr. Heil, PostBus’ first on-demand transport service, Kollibri, was launched back in 2018. In the meantime, other demand responsive services have been added, so why an employee transport service on demand now? What is the idea behind the transport offer?
For many years, Swiss Post had been using a staff bus for transfers to and from the station for employees on Engehalden street in Berne. The Postbus with around 40 seats was mainly used at commuter times in the evening. Since 1 February 2023, we have made the switch to an on-demand service. The timetable of the former service was quite rigid for the work context and ran every half hour. In addition, during the Corona pandemic, many of our employees worked from home and we had to pause the bus during this time. Since then, more employees have been using the service again, but due to part-time work or the bigger share of home office work, the bus was underutilised, especially on Fridays. The new, small minibus called “Engehalde Shuttle” now has an electric propulsion and only runs when needed. This is more environmentally friendly and adapts flexibly to the needs of the users.
The “Engehalde Shuttle” is much more than just a new, digitalised mobility service for our employees. On-demand is an important element of our strategic objective “Public transport of the future”. PostBus is the leading provider of on-demand solutions on the road in the Swiss market: we implemented various digital on-demand offers last year and new projects will also be added in 2023. It is therefore important that we as employees can test this form of mobility ourselves.
The project is very important for us as PostBus due to the fact that we offer similar demand responsive transport services to other companies. It is precisely with such offers that companies can improve their location attractiveness and be more sustainable. Ideally some employees will switch from the car to public transport for their commute.
How does the employee shuttle in Berne differ from PostBus’ public demand responsive transport services?
There is no difference in operation between the internal PostBus transport and demand responsive transport services as part of public transport. Users can book all services conveniently and quickly via app.
In the case of the “Engehalde-Shuttle”, the transport is financed by the employer, which means that the service is free of charge for employees. However, other pricing models are also conceivable, as desired by the employer.
How is the transport service received by the employees? What are the reactions?
So far, the feedback has been consistently positive. Even initial sceptics are enthusiastic about the service in practice. In addition, the employees appreciate the contact with the driving staff. Personally, I am particularly pleased with the exchange between the employees: Instead of sitting in the rather anonymous big bus, you can sit next to our CEO and talk to him.
How do you get to work and what does (corporate) mobility of the future look like for you?
I always choose the means of transport spontaneously. Sometimes it’s the e-bike, on other days I walk and now of course I also use the “Engehalde-Shuttle” for my commute to work. For me, the corporate mobility of the future is not tied to one means of transport but is a combination of different mobility solutions that are connected with each other in an intelligent and flexible way.
* PostBus operates regional passenger transport in 23 of Switzerland’s 26 cantons (the exceptions are Geneva, Uri and Basel-Stadt). With almost 1,000 routes, over 11,000 stops and a network spanning more than 18,000 kilometres, PostBus is the leader in road passenger transport. The purchasing bodies (cantons, municipalities) define its range of services and share the financial cost with the Swiss Confederation. PostBus contributes its expertise to planning and guarantees professional operations. Source: https://www.postauto.ch/en/about-us-and-news/organization/postbus-ltd