Regional bus transport

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Regional bus transport (modern and Regio buses , formerly Intercity bus ) connect the public transport cities and towns together. They serve to develop rural areas and link them with larger cities, economic centers or railway lines.

Different regional buses meet at the train station of the regional center ( Neubrandenburg )


From the intercity bus to the regional bus

Regiobus: Setra S 315 UL (abbreviation for U eberland- L inienbus) in use for DB Regio Bus

In western Germany, intercity bus routes are relatively often the earlier rail and post bus routes . These were taken over by the Bahnbus successor companies (regional bus companies). Another large operator is Transdev GmbH . In addition, there are numerous municipal transport companies in various parts of western and especially eastern Germany that operate in the area. In Austria , ÖBB-Postbus GmbH operates a regional network.

Intercity buses initially developed parallel to rail transport. Increasing motorization and the deterioration of railway lines that had become too slow led to passenger losses. At first it was believed that buses (including express buses ) were a cheaper alternative to rail transport. The operation on unprofitable railway lines was thinned out, a slow decline was followed by the death of the railway supply. For intercity bus traffic , bus stations were built near the train station, but sometimes also at a greater distance (for example at Kesselbrink in Bielefeld ). The possible comfort of regional trains and the problem of moving motorists to use slower means of transport that are also on the road were not recognized.

Low-entry vehicle from regional transport, visually hardly distinguishable from the city bus

The development of the last few years has led to considerable passenger losses in bus transport. Attempts have been made to increase the attractiveness (introduction of cycle timetables , clearer route networks by reducing the alternating routes and shortening the routes as well as aligning them with city ​​buses ). Many direct regional connections between larger cities have been given up or interrupted, previously continuous lines were given new endpoints in the urban environs, some without connection options. Some places can only be reached by bus and from one direction. Overland lines with long distances and travel times became regional or regional bus lines.

Today the regional buses in some regions are in a similar situation as the rail transport in the country back then (see for example local transport in the Herford district ). 60 to 80 percent of bus users are schoolchildren, the existing large buses are only used to capacity in school traffic and are often replaced by minibuses with call service .

Further developments

Regional transport is developing in different directions:

  • Expansion - increasing the attractiveness through:
    • Clearer network design, easily noticeable cycle times and cycle compression on main lines
    • Express bus , express bus and direct bus routes
    • Development of new traffic areas
      • Leisure and tourism routes in addition to school, business and commuter traffic
      • Night buses as an additional offer in the late evening and after midnight (mostly between midnight and 2 a.m., e.g. as a disco bus). They often only run on the nights from Friday to Saturday and / or before Sundays and public holidays. Used to small or call buses come.
      • Front door operation or exit between the stops in sparsely populated areas or in late-night traffic (see tramp bus )
    • Integration in transport associations ; Community tariffs bring clear offers (honeycomb or uniform community tariffs - similar to city tariffs).
modern articulated bus for regional traffic
  • Focus on a few important lines; many places can only be reached by bus from one direction.
  • Restructuring of the regional bus networks
    • from a comprehensive offer to the supplementary network in the context of rail transport, newly developed local bus lines , dial-a-bus, park-and-ride and the like. a. The focus is on maintaining a “minimum supply” of mobility without cars in rural areas
    • as an adaptation to changing passenger flows. New bus / train transfer options through the inclusion in community tariffs will lead to the reduction of parallel traffic, passengers have to be brought to the station and picked up again from there.
    • by introducing integrated cycle timetables ( RegioTakt ) with connection guarantees for the linked lines
  • Withdrawal from sparsely populated areas, from unprofitable routes as a result of the drop in passengers and cuts in subsidies. They are replaced by local lines with minibuses, on- call buses , and collective taxis .
  • Use of modern vehicles

Urban and rural areas

Regional lines, together with city and local bus lines, form the public bus network for public transport . In cities that border one another or in urban agglomerations ( Ruhr area , Rhine-Main region ), city buses become regional buses because they cross city limits.

In rural areas, passenger numbers have declined. In order to be able to offer continuous regular traffic into the afternoon and evening hours, minibuses and call lines are necessary. One possibility of fine distribution is to use minibuses to the surrounding rural areas in connection with city bus routes. Another is the integration of regional buses in city bus networks in order to utilize the offer at least on partial routes. From the city's tariff limit, however, they often continue to drive empty (the use of articulated buses makes this even worse). Both systems are not very attractive for passengers because of the longer travel times due to the high demand in the urban area.

Regional buses have to be faster than city buses in urban areas - if only because of the longer travel time. This can be achieved by limiting it to important stops and direct routes. In rural areas, only local centers are served, and the distribution of passengers to individual parts of the community is carried out by local buses. The closest possible regional cycle increases the attractiveness of these main lines. In some places in the city express bus routes (especially in North Rhine-Westphalia , Baden-Württemberg and Schleswig-Holstein ). They often connect more distant places with each other (for example Bocholt – Münster) via expressways or motorways and sometimes with a coach standard .

Buses with bicycle trailers are used on the tourist route to the Müritz National Park

Often times, operations can only be maintained on the main lines on Sundays and public holidays. In areas that are well developed for tourism, special tourist or leisure lines are used, some with additional options for transporting bicycles ( bus trailers ). In some regions, however, only a minimum supply of the main locations is guaranteed.

The catchment area of ​​central stops is increased by bike-and-ride spaces or good accessibility by car. An improved possibility to take bicycles with you expands the possibilities of use of the offer. In order to achieve an optimal transfer concept between bus and rail transport, numerous bus stations have been built at central train stops in recent years. At the same time, however, purely city-oriented bus systems (e.g. Bad Salzuflen city bus ) and regional bus stations separate from train stations and city bus hubs (ZOB at Ostertor in Bad Salzuflen ) developed.


In Austria, the Austrian Federal Post Office (Postbus) and - with a limited network - the Austrian Federal Railways (Bahnbus) served regional bus transport for decades, while other operators ( municipal utilities and bus companies ) only maintained either long-distance bus courses or internal community transport, only in the cities sometimes across municipalities ( e.g. bus transport in Vienna or Albus Salzburg ), in rural areas often only reduced to individual school bus courses in neighboring municipalities. Only since the privatization of the 1990s, and the associated reduction in the often unprofitable regional courses, have regional bus concepts in the more rural areas in the sense of a municipal association or municipal company been organized. The designation "regional bus" is rare in Austria, buses are consistently included in the concepts of the transport association , in which private and municipal operators are networked with the railway (which now only operates a joint bus service, the Postbus , and inter-city bus in Long-distance bus sector committed). In addition to the large cities, there are also transport associations in secondary centers, such as the Aichfeld regional bus in Upper Styria.

A special type of regional bus typical of the Alps is also common in Austria, the valley bus . Originally only conceived to connect the valley stations of the ski areas in the winter season , this form is increasingly beginning to expand to the summer and off-season. This has to do with the fact that the ski regions are continuously merging to form all-season tourism regions . In the past, only the ski pass was valid for the valley bus, and this was operated by the local mountain railway or ski association, but today there are more and more passes for the entire range of offers in a tourist region, which means that the valley buses are in the interests of all communities involved. As with mountain bikers and event athletes , and also the different setting of generations of mountaineers and climbers , but also cross-country skiers or ski tourers in winter, there is here a new clientele for bus transportation, to and territories of the starting points of the tours or sports facilities and to the quarters or the parked private car over unattractive routes. Such extended offers can be found in the Lech / Arlberg - Bregenzerwald region (the valley bus there is part of the Vorarlberg transport association (VVV)) or in the Ennspongau - Sölktäler - Lungau region in the border region of Salzburgerland / Upper Styria. These are increasingly becoming feeder services from the urban centers and transport hubs to the mostly remote - and also scattered - tourist areas.

With both forms, the boundaries between regional bus in regular service, purpose-oriented route service, social tourism infrastructure, and organized shared taxi by prior arrangement are fluid.
In Austria, the monopoly positions of local providers, including in urban centers, are still viewed critically.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c For example, in 2012 the Postbus route on the Salzburg side of Großglocknerstrasse , one of the most important tourist destinations in Austria, was discontinued due to uncertainties about the coverage of route losses. After violent protests from the neighboring communities, the Hohe Tauern National Park Administration and GROHAG (operator of Großglocknerstrasse), they jointly set up a private bus for regional service on a temporary basis. However, this must be booked in advance and only drives directly to the Franz-Josefs-Höhe , which means that all contact points in between, both towns and restaurants, as well as the museums on the Edelweißtörl and the starting points of the numerous tours in the national park area, are cut off from public transport.
    Criticism of the discontinuation of the Großglockner line ,, June 24, 2012; Private Glockner bus well booked ,, September 27, 2012;
    Glockner is left behind - Salzburg saves: private bus only runs with advance notice of ten people , Matthias Nagl, Wiener Zeitung online, August 2, 2012
  2. See local public transport in Austria , - with an overview of the transport associations in urban agglomerations
  3. Aichfeld regional bus ( Memento of the original from December 24, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  4. ^ Regional bus ,
  5. ; see also soft mobility with the valley bus ,
  6. ^ The new Austrian legislation on local public transport from the perspective of European law. In: Österreichische Gemeinde-Zeitung ( online ( memento of the original from March 30, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this note. , Staedtebund. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /