Cycling to the World Cup:
5 mobility facts about Bern

Switzerland scores in mobility concepts of its capital Bern and leaves many great nations behind – by bike.

The supposedly big football nations are bidding farewell to the tournament this year before the quarter-finals. Italy and the Netherlands didn't even compete. World champion Germany and vice world champion Argentina are already out and also Spain and Portugal had to pack their bags. Little Switzerland, on the other hand, which only a few would have seen for so long in the tournament, is doing very well. Switzerland also scores in mobility concepts of its capital Bern and leaves many great nations behind – by bike.

 

1. Halfway there

Half of Bernese households do not own a car. In Switzerland, however, it is not necessarily a question of financial resources. According to the Global Wealth Report, Switzerland's citizens are considered the wealthiest in the world. Bern is consistently investing in the expansion of public transport and the infrastructure for bicycles. By 2030, the city would like to have reduced motorized individual traffic by another 15 percent. An ambitious goal, because eventhough more and more Bernese use public transport (32 percent) and bicycles (15 percent), the share of cardrivers remained at 22 percent in the modal split over the last few years.

 

2. Free ride for tourists

Bern also sends a clear signal to visitors of the city that they should rely on public transport. Every overnight guest of the city can use the city's public transport services free of charge. Tourists can get the so-called Bern Ticket at their hostel, which is also valid for the Gurtenbahn, the Marzilibahn and as a transfer ticket to the airport or train station. Even when arriving, guests of the city do not have to worry: A reservation confirmation of your stay works as a ticket to the city from the airport and train station.

 

3. Bern wants to win the title of bicycle capital

Like many other major cities in the world, Bern offers a bike rental system in the form of "Velo Bern". The current 70 stations are to be expanded within the next two years to 200 stations with a total of 2,400 bicycles. There are currently 350 bicycles and 350 e-bikes on offer. Bern wants to assert itself in Switzerland not only as the political capital of Switzerland, but also as the "bicycle capital". However, Bern and Zurich are rather late with their bicycle rental networks. It was not until 2018 that the starting shot was fired in both cities. This is about nine years later than in Hamburg, for example. Citizens have been using the StadtRAD service there since 2009.

 

4. The trolleybus: Old means of transport rethought

The trolleybus is an old-fashioned but emission-free means of transport. In Bern, however, situations arose time and again that required flexibility that the wired buses could not meet. Major events, accidents or construction sites caused diversions, so the operators had to use diesel and gas buses again to be able to take alternative routes. In future, the new trolleybuses in Bern will be equipped with batteries that will enhance the possibilities of the trolleybus. So the electric busses can leave the route for a moment and don’t depend anymore on the wires.

 

5. Streets become meeting zones

111 smaller streets were turned into so-called meeting zones in Bern. In the middle of the capital there are now streets that are roughly comparable to the so-called traffic-calmed area in Germany. The speed limit is 20 km/h and pedestrians and cyclists have priority. Besides the effect that the incentive to drive through the city by car is further reduced, these zones are supposed to also function as a kind of neighbourhood meeting point. Certain criteria have tob e met by a street in ordert o be turned into a meeting zone. There hast o be little traffic and no public transport lines going through. The number of children and young people among the residents is also relevant for the decision to turn the street into a meeting zone. In 2018, another 15 meeting zones are to be added to the 111 to date.