BERN, SWITZERLAND – The familiar, traditional yellow Postbuses that crisscross Switzerland are adding wifi, with 300 of the buses equipped starting in April.
Expect a spate of smart phone video clips from delighted travellers who immediately upload the charming three-note horn call the buses have made for years as they round the curves of Swiss mountain roads.
The wifi will be free and ticket prices will not be affected, with Swiss Post largely financing the project.
The initial rollout 12 April concerns buses in eastern Switzerland, Aargau and Valais, but once underway Swiss Post plans to equip 100 buses a month. The company expects to be able to have wifi on 70 percent of its fleet within a year.
Postbus carries 120 million passengers a year.
The biggest challenge, it notes in a statement issued Monday 19 March, is “especially with UMTS network coverage outside of cities and urban areas where reception is partially weak, making it impossible to offer free WiFi on all of the approximately 800 PostBus routes. While PostBus’s priority is to offer comprehensive WiFi wherever good reception is available, some WiFi-equipped Postbuses may occasionally circulate in areas with poor reception.”
A pilot project with six buses in the Sion area in 2011 worked well and prompted the company to expand the trial.
Passengers will have to supply a cell phone number, to which a registration code will be sent, giving them access to the network.
To those who are wondering if they can tail the bus and pick up free wifi: it’s only available inside the bus.
Details, Postbus wifi