You can find an entertaining and informative film about the history of BVB between 1895 and 2014, here.

You can find out much more about the history of trams in Basel at the Basel Tram Museum. We are looking forward to your visit!

 Year Event

1874 First project for a horse-drawn tram in Basel.

1881 11 July: Inauguration of the tram omnibus: in the form of a horse-drawn carriage.

1895 6 May: Opening of the electric “Basler Strassenbahnen” (BStB), the first tramway in Switzerland that is not in private hands, but publicly run. The first route runs from the central railway station over the Mittlere Brücke to the old Badischer Bahnhof (Basel Baden railway station) on the Riehenring (today, the exhibition centre).

1897 Birsfelden is the first suburb to be connected to the city by tram.

1900 Basel trams cross the border to France (the Saint-Louis (St. Ludwig) tram line).

1905 Tram workers strike; after this, the various worker unions join forces to form the “Centralverein der Basler Strassenbahn-Angestellten” (central union of Basel tram employees). Later, this association was to become the VPOD.

1910 Every fifth public employee is a tram worker.

1914 Outbreak of the First World War. Cross-border tram services remain closed until September, 30th, 1915.

1930 The first two bus routes go into service: (Kleinhüningen-)Claraplatz-Hörnli and (Claraplatz-)Burgstrasse-Bettingen.

1934 The construction of the tramway network is completed with the opening of the St. Johann Bahnhof-Dreirosenbrücke-Mustermesse line.

1939 Outbreak of the Second World War. Several sections of the tram network and one bus route are taken out of operation. They are brought back into service in 1946/47. During the war, Basler Strassenbahnen employs its first female ticket collectors.

1941 The bus route Claraplatz-Hörnli is changed to a trolleybus service due to fuel shortages. This is how Basel gets its first – and until 1956 its only – trolleybus service.

1946 New legislation leads to a complete reorganisation of the company. The Grand Council of Basel-City and the newly created Supervisory Board are given comprehensive powers, while those of Executive Management are curtailed. The company is renamed “Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe” (BVB).

1947 The worst accident in the history of the BVB at Aeschenplatz costs six lives.

1948 The first four-axle “high-capacity trolley cars” are taken into service.

1955 Swiss automobile associations launch a referendum against a government credit for the purchase of new trams. The bitter campaign marks the peak of the automobile associations’ opposition to trams. Their declared intent is the banning of all trams from the streets of Basel. In the referendum, the tram credit is rejected with 19,631 voting against and 16,152 voting for it. One of the long-term consequences of this defeat is to be the conversion, in 1966, of the Schützenhaus-Johanniterbrücke-Badischer Bahnhof line to a bus route, and then to a trolleybus service in 1968.

1957 The tramline from the border to Saint-Louis is changed to a bus service (in 1961, the line to Hüningen and in 1967, the Lörrach tram also is changed to a bus service).

1961 BVB employs women again as ticket collectors. In the same year, the company plans the biggest acquisition of trams in its history. Schindler or Düwag? Made in Switzerland or Germany? – Düwag wins the day.

1965 The first service without ticket collectors begins. The first automatic ticket machine is installed in 1967. All trams and buses have been without ticket collectors since 1970.

1969 Young residents of Basel protest against fare increases with tram sit-ins. Left-wing organisations launch the free tram initiative. It is rejected in 1972 with 46,090 votes against and 6,621 votes for.

1973 Car-free Sundays increase passenger numbers considerably.

1975 Combining fares with BLT’s route 10 marks the inception of the TNW (North-Western Switzerland Tariff Association).

1979 The “Taxi-Zentrale” takes over bus route 35 for the Riehen district using mini-buses; later, more mini-bus routes are to follow.

1979 The last of the old two-axle tramcars are taken out of regular service. However, some of them are still available today for nostalgic tours through the city.

1980 The first computerized control centre goes into operation.

1984 BVB and BLT launch the U-Abo (“Green Travelcard”), attracting significant international recognition. Due to the cheaper fares, passenger rates rise by over 25% within only a few years.

1986 Introduction of the commuter lines from Dornach and Rodersdorf into the city centre, and the connection via Theaterbogen to cross-city tram line 10.

1987 The North-Western Switzerland Tariff Association (TNW) is established. In addition to BVB and BLT, it includes SBB, PTT (today PostAuto AG), the Waldenburg railway, Autobus Liestal AG, and Stadtbus Rheinfelden.

1987 BVB employs women tram drivers for the first time.

1992 The world’s first 100% low-floor articulated trolleybuses go into service.

1994 After upgrading the junction at Bankverein (construction of new track curves), tram line 11 is the last commuter line to be extended to a cross-city route from Aeschenplatz through to the French border at Saint-Louis.

1995 BVB celebrates its centenary with a variety of events for its employees and the general public.

1999 The customer-friendly, easy-to-remember 7½-minute interval timetable is introduced. Articulated carriages fitted with traction motors and with a low-floor middle section provide stepless access on tram lines 3, 6, and 8. The new light green colour and the new BVB logo are introduced.

2000 All bus routes operate air-conditioned low-floor buses.

2001 The EuroVille project leads to major changes in the BVB/BLT route network, and to the introduction of the bus route 30, which also provides direct access to the university and hospital district from the railway station.

2002 Delivery of all 28 of the new, air-conditioned, low-floor trams measuring 43 metres in length.

2004 On 12 March, the manufacturer, Siemens orders all 28 Combino trams to be immobilized for safety reasons. Although the vehicles are gradually brought back into service from mid-April onwards, a major overhaul at the cost of the manufacturer remains pending.

2005 With the introduction of the new bus route 30 between the SBB railway station and the Bad. Bahnhof, the first link between the two railway stations since 1966 is brought into being via the Johanniter bridge, thus connecting the university and the main hospitals directly with the SBB railway station.

2006 BVB becomes a self-governing public body with full accountability and responsibility also for its accounting. Mass-spring damper technology is installed on the Steinenberg, meaning the concert hall is no longer disturbed by the noise of the tram!

2008 Trolleybuses, in operation since 1941, are replaced by new cross-city routes with newly-delivered gas-powered buses. This heralds the opening of new cross-border bus route 38 from Grenzach-Wyhlen straight across the city to Allschwil – a collaboration between the municipalities of Grenzach-Wyhlen and the SBG. In December, the groundbreaking ceremony takes place in Kleinhüngen for the “Tram line 8 without borders” project, the new cross-border tram line to Weil an Rhein in Germany.

2009 Opening of new bus route 48 from Allschwil to the SBB railway station and tram line 21 from Bad. Bahnhof to Bahnhof St. Johann. After eight years, tram line 1 is removed again from Gasstrasse and reinstated, now running to the St. Johann railway station via Entenweidstrasse and Voltatrasse.

2011 The reopening of the Wiesenplatz depot is celebrated on 18 June after a period of refurbishment and reconstruction.

2014 The first two of a total of 61 new FLEXITYBasel trams go into passenger service on 10 November.
Trams go to Germany again after 47 years. The extension of tram line 8 to Weil am Rhein goes into service on 14 December.

2015 BVB acquires 55 new articulated buses, with the first two buses being delivered at the end of April.
Construction works for the extension of tram line 3 to Saint-Louis begin. Work began in April on the French side only, but the official groundbreaking ceremony is to take place on Basel soil on 23 November. The line should go into service at the end of 2017.

2016 BVB, in collaboration with Baselland Transport AG (BLT), forms the joint subsidiary company called Moving Media Basel AG. It is responsible for the marketing of all advertising spaces in and on BVB and BLT vehicles.

2017 The extension of tram line 3 to Saint-Louis station in France will go into service on 10 December. From now on, BVB will be connecting Basel not only to Germany but also to France, becoming the only city transport company in the world with a tram network in three countries.

2018 The biggest vehicle procurement in the history of BVB has successfully been concluded in summer. Therefore there are now 61 flexity trams on the BVB-network. The tram fleet of BVB is now one of the most modern in Europe.

2019 With the “Stromnibus”, BVB is testing the first battery-powered electric bus in its history. The bus is used on all lines and is very popular with both passengers and drivers. By 2027, the entire BVB bus fleet is to be powered by 100 percent renewable Energy.

2020 The Corona pandemic has hit the BVB hard. Many of the planned anniversary celebrations for the “125 years of BVB” have had to be cancelled. In addition the company is experiencing an unprecedented slump in passenger numbers and therefore in income. However despite the reduced schedule normal business operations were able to be maintained throughout.

2021 Following the suppliers decision regarding the delivery of the first tranche of a total of 65 e-buses, BVB has reached a significant milestone for the electrification of its bus fleet. The e-buses from Swiss manufacturer Carrosserie HESS AG and EvoBus (Schweiz) AG will be delivered between November 2022 and May 2023 and gradually put into operation.


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