Zurich Transport Authority

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Zurich Transport Authority
Logo Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich
Basic information
Web presence www.vbz.ch
Reference year 2019
owner Zurich city
Board Michael Baumer
Operations management Dr. Guido Schoch
Transport network Zurich Transport Association
Employee 2425
Gauge 1000 mm ( meter gauge )
tram 14 +1 (line 12 on behalf of VBG)
Trolleybus 5
bus 22 (+ 33 agglomeration)
Other lines a funicular
number of vehicles
Tram cars 259
Trolleybuses 74
Omnibuses 157
Passengers 305.4 million (+ 22.6 agglomeration)
Mileage 32.091 million km p. a. (+4,562 from transport agents)
Stops 435 (+ 247 agglomeration)
Length of line network
Tram lines 122.7 km
Bus routes 164.7 (+ 223.8 agglomeration)dep1
Operating facilities
Depots 5 tram depots
2 bus garages
Other operating facilities Central workshop Altstetten
1 bus base
Track length 168 km
Network plan
Zurich route network from December 15, 2019

The Zurich Public Transport ( VBZ ) is the municipal transport company of the Swiss city of Zurich and belong to the Department of Industrial Companies (DIB) , a subunit of the city administration. The VBZ, founded in 1896 as Städtische Strassenbahn Zürich (StStZ), today operate most of the local public transport in the city, some lines in the region and are one of eight companies responsible for the market (MVU) in the Zürcher Verkehrsverbund (ZVV) founded in 1990 . The company owns the 15 lines of the Zurich tram , the Rigiblick cable car , the five lines of the Zurich trolleybus and the urban bus service with 15 main lines, seven district lines and 33 regional lines outside the city of Zurich (agglomeration of Zurich). In addition, the VBZ are entrusted with the operation of three private railways . These are the Polybahn (a funicular railway owned by UBS ), the Dolderbahn (a rack railway since 1973 ) and the narrow-gauge Forchbahn . The line S 18 of the Forchbahn and the museum line 21 are sometimes added to the tram network.


StStZ ticket from the 1940s with a schematic network map

In mid-1896, the City of Zurich founded the municipal company Städtische Strassenbahn Zürich ( StStZ ) after having acquired the private company Elektro Strassenbahn Zürich (ESZ), which was founded in 1894 . At the beginning of 1897, the also private Zürcher Strassenbahn Gesellschaft ( ZStG ), which had operated the standard-gauge Rösslitram since September 5, 1882 , was taken over by the city and integrated into the StStZ. In the following years, the StStZ also took over all other private tram companies that were created in parallel:

In 1927 the first urban bus line operated, the bus operation initially belonged to the legally independent company Kraftwagenbetrieb der Städtische Strassenbahn Zürich . This was renamed in 1935 as the bus service of the Zurich city tram . The first trolleybuses were used from 1939, and in the beginning they were also part of the bus company. In March 1949, all three parts of the company were merged, and the public transport company of the city of Zurich was created . In 1978, the name was changed to the current short form Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich and the marketing name VBZ Züri-Linie was introduced .


On May 20, 2011, the VPOD union launched a strike against the VBZ. It was about break regulations and shift times. In the run-up to it on May 10, an advertisement with the terms of employment of the VBZ appeared in the newspaper 20minuten as a self-promotion of the VBZ. However, working conditions were not part of the dispute; it was about the increased workload and too short breaks. Due to the housing shortage in Zurich, the employees live further and further away, so that the real rest times hardly correspond to the rest times of a shift plan.




A Swistrolley 3 in front of Tiefenbrunnen station, the terminus of line 33


Zurich bus network

According to a line numbering concept from the 1950s, the number range 61–99 is reserved for buses, with the inner-city lines mainly having lower numbers, the connections in the outlying areas mostly higher. However, the generously dimensioned number range for trolleybus routes (31–60) has also been used for bus routes over the years. Since the Zürcher Verkehrsverbund started operating in May 1990, bus routes that mostly operate outside the city limits have had three-digit regional bus numbers based on the old “city” numbers, preceded by the number of the respective region.

In principle, the VBZ does not differentiate between the operating modes of the “tire lines”; Signatures, route plans, stop notices and announcements are uniform and do not allow any conclusions to be drawn as to whether it is a trolleybus line or a bus line. Internally, there is a technical distinction in particular, based on infrastructure, road network, vessel size, development function, operating times and cycle intervals, whereby transitions can be fluid.

City bus network

The city ​​bus network consists of fourteen lines 37, 61, 62, 66, 67, 69, 70, 75, 76, 77, 78, 80, 89 and 94. The usual vessel sizes are 18 meter long articulated buses and twelve meter long standard buses , whereby Switching to smaller units, especially during off-peak times. The character of the individual lines differs greatly in some cases.In addition to the actual main lines (61, 62, 67, 70, 75, 80 and 89), which run all day at the usual urban intervals, other lines are based on working and shop opening times (66, 77 , 94), or university lecture periods (69, 80), whereby clearly different clock intervals are used. Lines 66 and 76 are special, the former is only brought to the city center during rush hour (the rest of the time on the outskirts). The latter only runs from Monday to Saturday, as it mainly opens up an area with a high density of jobs.

District bus network

The district bus network is actually a supplementary network that takes over the fine distribution and comprises seven lines (35, 38, 39, 40, 64, 73 and 79). The usual container sizes are ten-meter-long midibuses and so-called neighborhood buses the size of a small van , often due to narrow neighborhood streets in 30 km / h zones, as well as tight turning areas at the end points. It is characterized by the development of cemeteries, residential areas for the elderly and nursing homes, as well as isolated residential areas, especially on slopes with no main traffic axis. The operating times of these bus routes are usually limited, early shifts at the weekend are unusual and the usual intervals are 30, 20 or 15 minutes.

Regional network

The regional bus network in the immediate agglomeration of Zurich was completely under the administration of VBZ until 1990, partly due to its own line concessions, otherwise on behalf of the Canton of Zurich. In the meantime, it still consists of the two strongly shrunk market areas Agglomeration East (upper Glatttal , lower Pfannenstiel) and West ( Limmattal , lower Zimmerberg), which are managed by the VBZ. Like all regional buses in the area of ​​the Zürcher Verkehrsverbund , these lines have had three-digit numbers since May 1990, which were originally based on the two-digit numbers assigned by the VBZ.

In contrast to the city network, which is operated entirely by the VBZ, the VBZ have been working with subcontractors in the regional network for decades . For their own operation of the regional lines, the Hardau and Hagenholz / Sonnental garages each have a group of buses that are equipped with cash systems and validators, as the neighboring communities do not have ticket machines at the stops across the board.

West agglomeration
Unterer Zimmerberg: own operation lines 161, 165, 184 and 185; Operation of lines 162 and 163 by AHW Busbetriebe AG , Horgen
Limmattal: own operation lines 307; Mixed operation lines 304, 308; Lines 301, 302, 303, 305, 306, 309, 311, 314 and 325 are operated by Limmat Bus AG , Dietikon
Since the timetable change in December 2012, VBZ and Limmatbus have been sharing routes 304 and 308. VBZ operates two standard buses, Limmatbus operates three articulated buses. Only standard buses are used until around 8 p.m. and in the evening until the end of operations. Line 323 was discontinued in December 2012 and the trips were integrated into lines 304 and 308.
East agglomeration
Upper Glatttal: Own operation of lines 743, 744, 745 and 751; Operation of lines 701, 703, 704 and 705 by ATE Bus AG , Illnau-Effretikon
Unterer Pfannenstiel: Lines 91, 910, 912, 916, 918 and 919 are operated by the H. Baumgartner AG bus company , Zollikon

Night network

16 night bus routes (N1, N2, N4-N8, N11-N18) run from Zurich on the nights from Friday to Saturday and from Saturday to Sunday as well as on nights on a public holiday . Most of them run every 30 minutes, the lines N16, N17 and N19 run every hour. With the exception of lines N5, N8 and N13, all night bus routes have been extended to the surrounding area. The lines N1, N6, N11 and N12 drive to alternating final destinations every hour, whereby i. d. Usually, the same route is used within the urban area.

All night bus lines meet on the full and half hour at Bellevue, where mutual connections are possible. First departure is at 1 a.m., last departure at 4 a.m. Until shortly before 1 a.m., the daily network lines are still running every 10 or 15 minutes. The day lines start operating between around 4:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.

On behalf of the VBZ, the night bus N30 runs in the Limmat Valley from Schlieren via Urdorf, Dietikon and Geroldswil to Oetwil adL. This line is also operated by Limmat Bus AG .

According to the decision of the Cantonal Council, the night network in the canton and city of Zurich is to be further expanded. Among other things, individual sections of the route are to be condensed into 15-minute intervals. Operation is still limited to the weekend.

On nights with a particularly high number of passengers (e.g. New Year's Eve, Street Parade , Züri Fäscht ), all tram and trolleybus routes (except for route 83) and a selection of city bus routes run instead of the night bus routes. Usually at least a 15-minute cycle is offered during the night, and operating times are also extended in order to have a maximum of 15 minutes waiting time for the next possible trip on the most important routes between the transition from night to day operation.

Rolling stock


The rolling stock for the VBZ tram operation has included two generations of tram vehicles for the timetable operation since 2010: the " Tram 2000 " purchased in 171 copies from 1976 to 1993 , and the 88 " Cobra " purchased between 2001 and 2010 . The " Flexity Zurich " have been under construction since 2019 , 70 of which are to come into operation between 2020 and 2024. Further details can be found in the main article under Vehicles .

vehicles Construction year number of pieces Discarded Remarks
Manufacturer series Numbers total today
Motor vehicle
SWS / BBC / SWP Be 4/6 2001-2045 1976-1988 45 45 "Tram 2000" series 1
SWP / BBC / SIG 2046-2098 1985-1987 53 52 "Tram 2000" series 2
... / Stadler
Be 4/6
Be 4/8
2099-2121 1991-1992
23 23 "Tram 2000" series 3
"sedan chair" (conversion)
BT / Alstom Be 5/6 3001-3006 2001 6th 6th «Cobra» pilot series (series conversion 2009)
3007-3074 2006-2009 68 68 «Cobra» main series
3075-3088 2009-2010 14th 14th «Cobra» reorder
BT Be 6/8 4001– 2019– 70 1 " Flexity Zurich "
Motorized trailer vehicles
SWS / BBC / SWP Be 4/6 2301-2315 1978 15th 15th "Tram 2000" series 1
SWP / BBC / SIG Be 2/4 2401-2420 1985-1987 20th 20th "Tram 2000" Series 2, "Pony"
SWP / ABB / SIG 2421-2435 1992-1993 15th 15th "Tram 2000" Series 3, "Pony"


Since 2018, the rolling stock for VBZ's trolleybus operation has included around 70 conventional trolleybuses with so-called battery packs instead of the previously common diesel engine auxiliary drive for timetable operation . The test vehicle for In Motion Charging (IMC), which was put into operation in 2016 together with industry and ETH Zurich, is the forerunner of the fifth generation of Swistrolleys and is now represented by three copies at VBZ. Another eight units are scheduled to come into operation in 2020 and will be used for the first time on a partially electrified line. Further details can be found in the main article under Vehicles .

vehicles Construction year number of pieces Discarded Remarks
Manufacturer series Numbers total today
Articulated trolleybuses
Hess / Kiepe BGT-N2C 144-161 2006-2007 18th 18th « Swistrolley 3 »
BGT-N2D 162-182 2012-2013 21st 21st « Swistrolley 4 »
Hess / ABB BGT-N2__ 183 2016 1 1 « Swisstrolley plus » (IMC-capable)
Hess / ABB BGT-N2__ 200-208 2020 9 9 « Swisstrolley 5 » (IMC-capable)
Double articulated trolleybuses
Hess / Kiepe BGGT-N2C 61-77 2007-2008 17th 17th « LighTram 3 »
BGGT-N2D 78-89 2012 12 12 « LighTram 4 »
90-91 2014 2 2
Hess / ABB BGGT-N2__ 92-94 2018 3 3 « LighTram plus » (IMC-capable)


vehicles Construction year number of pieces Discarded Remarks
Manufacturer series Numbers total today
District buses
Mercedes Benz Sprinter (616 CDI) 322-324 2006 3 Yes
325-327 2013 3 3
MAN A35 310-313 2006 4th " Lion's City M "
331-339 2011–2012 9 9
Standard buses
Neoplan N 4516 243 2003 1 0 « Centroliner Evolution » demonstration vehicle
244-263 2003 20th 13 " Centroliner Evolution "
with overland cash desk (264–283)
264-283 2004 20th 18th
Mercedes Benz O 530 601-614 2008 14th 14th " Citaro "
615-619 2009 5 5
Volvo 7900 EH 620-635 2019 16 16 Plug-in hybrid
Articulated buses
Neoplan N 4522 516-525 2004 10 9 " Centroliner Evolution "
with overland cash desk (548–562)
526-540 2005 15th 15th
541-562 2006 22nd 20th
Mercedes Benz O 530 G 401-410 2008 10 10 " Citaro "
411-424 2009 14th 14th
425-427 2014 3 3
428-431 2015 4th 4th
MAN A40 510-515 2015 6th 6th "Lion's City GL"
Volvo 7900 LAH 190 2015 1 1 Demonstration vehicle
440-452 2017 13 13
453-457 2018 5 5
District bus Fiat Ducato


A replacement procurement for the O 405 N and O 405 GN still in use was put out to tender in mid-2007 in accordance with GATT / WTO. The offer from EvoBus (Schweiz) AG met the requirements with the most economically advantageous offer and received the delivery order for a total of 34 Mercedes-Benz Citaro (O 530) vehicles worth almost 19 million Swiss francs in January 2008 . The vehicles are delivered in two lots; October 2008 14 O 530 (12-meter standard buses) and ten O 530 G (18-meter articulated buses), in a second batch in 2009 another ten O 530 G . There is also an option for a maximum of 25 additional vehicles in a freely selectable number and length; From this, another five standard buses and four articulated buses have now been ordered, which were also delivered in 2009. Due to vehicle fires and selective expansion of the range, another seven vehicles were purchased from the existing option in 2014 and 2015, making a total of 16 of the maximum possible 25 vehicles.

In 2017, VBZ purchased 13 new hybrid articulated buses from the Volvo brand. In addition, the test vehicle of the same type was added to the inventory and repainted in the Zurich color scheme, with a total of 14 hybrid buses now on the road.


Of the Neoplan Centroliner Evolution vehicles purchased from 2003, the 243 demonstration vehicle (N 4516) was the first standard bus to be retired and sold to Automobilverkehr Frutigen-Adelboden (AFA). Vehicles 258 and 259, equipped with intercity cash registers, were sold to Maag Busbetrieb AG in 2010 and transferred to the color scheme of the client Verkehrsbetriebe Glattal (VBG); In 2011/2012, the analogously equipped vehicles 260-262 went to Limmat Bus AG , which operates in the Limmattal on behalf of VBZ. As of 2016, vehicles 244–245, 251–252, 274 and 277 were taken out of service due to their condition.

Of the corresponding articulated buses (N 4522), vehicles 520 fell victim to vehicle fires in 2013 and 559 in 2015. Vehicle 553 was retired in 2016 due to its condition.

Former vehicles Construction year number of pieces Discarded Remarks
Manufacturer series Numbers total today
District buses
Renault Master (T35) 331-350 1989-1991 20th 0 1997
Fiat Ducato (2.8 JTD) 314-321 2002 8th 0 2009-2011
Neoplan N 4009 301-309 1998-1999 9 0 2011-2013
Standard buses
Mercedes Benz O 405 601-690 1987-1989 90 0
Mercedes Benz O 405 N 201-242 1990 42 0 2009-12
Articulated buses
Mercedes Benz O 405 G 568-593 1988-1990 26th 0 2010-07
Mercedes Benz O 405 GN 501-515 1992 15th 0 2009-01


The buses are housed in the two bus garages in Hagenholz and Hardau; the latter also houses all trolley buses and is responsible for the maintenance of all diesel-electric hybrid buses of the VBZ. The Sonnental bus base in Dübendorf, which has now been closed, was the only VBZ depot outside the city and was recently used to park vehicles from lines 743, 744, 745 and 751, as well as vehicles from Maag Busbetrieb AG and “Eurobus” Welti-Furrer AG . The heavy maintenance of the pneumatic vehicles is carried out by the central workshop in Altstetten.


The colors of the Zurich transport company are white and blue, derived from the city's coat of arms . The original shade of blue, standardized after 1995 as NCS S 4637-R96B, was also adopted by the Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft .

Central workshop

The Zentralwerkstätte (ZW), which moved into Altstetten in 1975, replaced the tram workshop in the Seefeld depot and the bus workshop in the Oerlikon depot. While minor maintenance work can also be carried out in the depots and garages, the ZW's area of ​​responsibility includes everything from revisions, conversions and conversions to complete reconstructions of accident vehicles.

Since the summer of 1993, the ZW area has also housed the operational center of the VBZ ( silver cube) and the railway construction workshop. As part of this expansion, the area received a standard-gauge siding, which branches off from the siding of the duty-free warehouse and begins at the area of ​​the former SBB main workshop in Herdern, at Altstetten station . Rails for the track construction warehouse are regularly delivered via this track, as well as tram vehicles again since mid-2006, which are delivered on standard-gauge roller bolsters.

The central workshop also looks after the Forchbahn vehicles for all work that is beyond the capabilities of the Forch depot workshop.


  • Out and about with Alberto Venzago. 125 years of Zurich's public transport company. Wörterseh, Zurich 2007, ISBN 978-3-9523213-6-2 .
  • Peter Kamm: Zurich Transport 1882–1996. From the horse tram to the Züri-Linie. Self-published (via “Aktion Pro Sächsitram” association), Zurich 1996.
  • Peter Willen: Trams in Switzerland. Railcar. Orell Füssli, Zurich 1978, ISBN 3-280-00998-7 .
  • Hans Bodmer: The tram in Zurich 1928 to 1962: traveling on rails. Sutton, Erfurt 2011, ISBN 978-3-86680-929-1 .

Web links

Commons : Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Corporate history of the Zurich public transport company on the website of the City of Zurich
  2. 125 years of Zurich's public transport company on reflektion.info
  3. ^ VPOD strike against the VBZ
  4. ↑ Conditions of employment in the VBZ advertisement on page 14 ( Memento of the original dated June 3, 2011 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 / epaper.20minuten.ch
  5. 2013 timetable: More capacity and connections to the S-Bahn - City of Zurich. Retrieved June 18, 2018 .
  6. Resolution of the Cantonal Council on the principles governing the medium and long-term development of services and tariffs in public transport. Retrieved July 10, 2020 .
  7. Details can be called up by querying the database via simap.ch .
  8. Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich: New buses in VBZ use  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF), Communiqué of October 15, 2008.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.vbz.ch  
  9. «At the end of September all 14 vehicles are in use» | vbzonline.ch. Retrieved June 18, 2018 .
  10. Blick: Breakdown series at the VBZ: Why is the same bus always burning? ( Online [accessed June 18, 2018]).
  11. www.20minuten.ch, 20 minutes, 20 minutes, www.20min.ch: VBZ bus is on fire at the bus stop . In: 20 minutes . ( Online [accessed June 18, 2018]).