The state-owned PostBus company is threatened with losing bus routes in several regions, following a scandal over illegal subsidies.
Jura is the first canton that will put its 38 routes out to tender next spring, SonntagsZeitungexternal link has reported.
“We were not convinced of the costs and quality of the post bus offer,” said David Asséo the head of the traffic department in canton Jura.
The eastern canton of Graubünden, the canton with the most PostBus routes, is also checking the situation and has not ruled out putting some of the routes out to tender. After the scandal, the canton is carrying out “a thorough benchmarking, to compare PostBus better to other transport suppliers,” Erich Büsser, head of the energy and traffic department in canton Graubünden, told the newspaper.
SonntagsZeitung said that PostBus enjoyed a monopoly on hundreds of routes in Switzerland. But the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Public Transportexternal link said that it expected more communes and cantons to follow suit in putting out such routes to tender. “The cantons’ trust in the PostBus company has clearly suffered,” the conference’s president Hans-Peter Wessels told the newspaper.
While Canton Bern had already changed the service provider on some of its routes in 2003 – well before the scandal – other cantons such as St Gallen said they would keep to PostBus.
PostBusexternal link told SonntagsZeitung that at the moment the company had “no projections as to the effects of possible tenders”.
PostBus - known for its alpine network of distinctive yellow buses – has come under intense scrutiny after an official audit found that it had manipulated accounts between 2007 and 2015 to pocket millions in federal and cantonal subsidies. This also involved subsidiaries abroad.
In September the company agreed to hand back CHF205.3 million ($214 million) to the government, cantons and communes.