Postbuses are essential means of public transport in Switzerland. The yellow vehicles carry commuters and tourists alike, connecting alpine side valleys and remote localities.
With snow-covered peaks rising on the horizon, a yellow coach weaves its way over the narrow passes and tight curves of the Swiss Alps. As the motorized successor of the Swiss mail coach, the Postbus carries tourists and commuters to remote side valleys and alpine localities. Outfitted with red stripes and white roofs, the yellow vehicles run on more than 850 lines, connecting the cities and localities in the Swiss Federal cantons. While Switzerland’s postal authorities operate the PostAuto Schweiz AG enterprise, passenger transportation is indeed the priority here – with public transport hardly imaginable without the yellow buses from Switzerland.
In the Canton of Graubünden, PostAuto Schweiz deploys 22 MAN Lion’s Regio buses. Starting in Chur, the Postbus connects St. Moritz, Davos and Flims Laax in Graubünden to Bellinzona in the Canton of Tessin. The four lines lead over bridges of vertiginous heights, through deeply carved valleys and down small lanes in historic villages. A true climbing tour awaits the MAN bus on the route from Chur to St. Moritz, with an ascent up to the Julier Pass with more than 2,200 metres and an incline of up to 12% in some places. Along the way, passengers can enjoy a breath-taking view of the Alps. Numerous serpentines later, they reach the final destination St. Moritz – the picturesque and famous stronghold of winter sports in the Engadin valley.
Those travelling to Bellinzona near Italy on the San-Bernardino line will experience an especially rich and varied journey. More than a century ago, mail coaches already travelled this route. Starting rather rapidly on the Swiss motorway, it leads through the San-Bernardino Tunnel and up to more than 1,600 metres above sea level. Taking the 6.5-kilometre tunnel shortens the journey – provided there are no traffic jams. The alternate route runs over the San-Bernardino Pass.
As the MAN Lion’s Regio versatility proves extremely useful on these diverse routes, the drivers also feel visibly comfortable in this vehicle. The bus will master narrow thoroughfares and serpentines just as securely as steep inclines and fast driving on the motorway. “The MAN handles very smoothly and features an extremely large steering angle that renders it very manoeuvrable despite the long wheelbase. The longstanding bus-building experience of MAN is readily observed and felt,” explains Postbus driver Astrid Krummenacher. “It is simply a joy to operate an MAN,” adds her husband Fred. The couple share a passion for driving through Switzerland’s scenic alpine panorama and happily steer a Postbus through the Canton of Graubünden.
Lastly, the passengers also benefit and, not uncommonly, will spontaneously board the Postbus for a joyride through the mountains. Yet what exactly defines such a drive with the MAN Lion’s Regio through Switzerland’s mountains?
Images © Christian Grund