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Travelling by coach: basics and perspectives

Switzerland Flag
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
SVI 1999/321
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Background & Policy context

Coach travel is generally considered to be a very efficient form of transport. The significance of this position within transport planning, in particular in realising the intermodal transport supply, is not well characterised. Important framework conditions, such as building and maintaining infrastructures, or awarding licences and concessions, are set by the government.


The present study will extend existing bases by showing the characteristics and system properties of the transport mode coach. Coach travel's current difficulties in terms of interaction with other relevant actors (cities, Confederation/Cantons, tourism industry etc.), especially the desired establishment of intermodal transport supply, will be presented, and the implications for future action described. Finally, concrete measures in terms of infrastructure, new services, and concession and licence practices, will be presented.


Interviews with: Representatives of the coach tour industry, persons, who are responsible for concessions and license practices. Analysis of the present situation in the coach tour industry.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Private foundation
Institution Name
Association of Transportation Engineers
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


Operation and significance of the coach in Switzerland:

By far the greatest use of the coach in Switzerland is in occasional service. The range on offer here is very great (club outings, transport to events, theme trips, beach holidays, ski tourism etc.) Young and old people predominate among the passengers, with the middle-aged less well represented. In the scheduled services, which are almost exclusively transfrontier, coaches depart from Swiss cities to destinations in Eastern and Southern Europe. Foreign workers from these regions form the main customer segment here.


Industry structure and problem situation:

The structure of the Swiss coach tour industry is extremely heterogeneous, with a large proportion of the companies owning under three vehicles. Market management generally takes place on a very small scale. The industry is fighting internal problems such as overcapacity and high price competition. In terms of domestic regular services, the industry's hands are largely tied since the Confederation does not wish to issue concessions that would compete with the railways. A further problem is an inadequate infrastructure in terms of location and equipment (bus stops, coach terminals)

Policy implications

The coach tour industry will have to strengthen its marketing and sales efforts. This would result in an improvement of image for the whole industry, while at the company level there would be better communication of the products on offer, with increased use of additional distribution channels. This may require a thorough examination of the industr's structure. The heterogeneous structure of the industry and the low profitability of the individual companies both hamper efficient marketing and sales, and must be overcome through increased cooperation within the industry and strengthening the structures of industry associations.


In the future, occasional services will form by far the greatest proportion of what is offered by Swiss coach companies. It is recommended that the cities, communes and tourist resorts affected by coach travel take it into account as an independent factor in transport planning. This includes both planning and management of areas for passenger transfer, and the management of access routes. In evaluating the sites for passenger transfer areas, the aim should be to establish good connections with public regional and long-distance transport. In granting concessions or licenses for public transport the Confederation and Cantons should examine how they award regular service concessions, to see how the coach as collective transport can be used to cover mobility needs.


Key Findings

No results directly relevant to this theme. However, please note that some findings relevant to the project's key theme (Road) are generically applicable.



No policy implications directly relevant to this theme. However, please note that some policy implications relevant to the project's key theme (Road) are generically applicable.



Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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