BLS is continuing to consistently implement the main objectives of the 2023 corporate strategy.
By doing so, it is laying the foundations for a sustainable future configuration and responding to challenges in the field of mobility. These challenges include rising customer requirements, growing competition in passenger and freight transport and changed work processes due to the digital transformation.
1. Consistent customer orientation
BLS does not just want to meet the its customers' expectations with its services, but exceed them. Consequently, BLS created the so-called customer circle in 2021 in order to get to know their needs even better. It consists of over 100 customers who provide their opinions on BLS topics, take part in tests and discuss new ideas. The customer circle has already been used several times and proven its value. Moreover, BLS has introduced a chat bot in customer service, which answers queries fast, automatically and reliably.
2. Transparency, efficiency and fitness
The goal is to lower overall costs by 2023. BLS also consistently pursued this goal in 2021. In addition, a beginning was made to improve the tendering process, based on experience gained from the report of the Swiss Federal Audit Office (EFK). In this connection, BLS is also preparing a contemporary financial control model to ensure financial flows within BLS become fully transparent and meet the requirements of modern company management. Furthermore, BLS has taken the feedback on its project business seriously and conceived a new project governance. Another important step towards transparency and efficiency was the successful spinning off of ship travel at the end of 2021.
BLS aims to make allowance for an increasingly hybrid working world with the new office concepts. Various locations were converted and modified in 2021. This enables employees to work together in an efficient and contemporary manner.
3. Market configuration
BLS relies on cross-sector cooperation to implement innovative ideas, which boost quality and lower costs. As a result, it is making a significant contribution to shaping Swiss public transport. For example, BLS introduced the MIKA ["modern, innovative, (c)ompact, all-round] trains in 2021 and thereby set new standards in the Swiss train world. The first of the new vehicles are in use as the IR66 on the line Bern-Neuchâtel-La Chaux-de-Fonds as well as the S4 on the line Thun-Bern-Burgdorf-Langnau. The new hybrid drive in the BLS shipping operations is also innovative: Consequently, the MS Jungfrau glides noiselessly across Lake Brienz for a time, thereby making a contribution to energy efficiency and conserving the environment. BLS is not just helping to shape the market in Switzerland: BLS Cargo has successfully completed the integration of the Belgian Crossrail and operates its multi-system locomotives between Belgium and Italy without changing locomotives. As a result, customers benefit from efficient cargo transport.
Due to the Corona pandemic, the public transport sector faced great challenges in 2021. BLS cooperated very closely with its partners (SBB, Postauto, trade unions) to master the crisis and safeguard public transport even during this difficult time. BLS succeeded in improving cooperation with the federal government and canton in 2021: The problem of excessive payments was dealt with and BLS once again cultivates its relationship as partner with politics and administration.
Together with other partners, BLS has created attractive offers for passengers and is helping to shape the mobility of tomorrow. For example, in 2021, the Seepass of BLS shipping was developed in cooperation with tourism partners and lake residents. This made it possible to meet the wishes of passengers even better and in particular create an offer for the local population.
The strategic objectives apply to all four business fields in which BLS has divided its activities.
BLS configures mobility for its customers. This involves reinforcing the integrated planning of the entire journey from door to door. Transport from stop to stop is the core of its transport services. The business field passenger mobility includes the nation-wide regional rail transport system, the international rail transport system (Iselle–Domodossola route), long-distance transport (BLS Fernverkehr AG), regional bus transport (Busland AG), the car transport service at Lötschberg and Simplon and shipping (BLS Schifffahrt AG).
BLS has a 420 km railway network. On this network, it manages the rail transport, maintains railway stations, tracks, overhead traction systems, tunnels and bridges. BLS Netz AG operates the infrastructure of BLS.
The freight transport business field includes holdings of BLS in BLS Cargo AG, RAlpin and Hupac. BLS is committed to rail freight transport to shift traffic from the road to rails. BLS Cargo AG operates as a corridor provider for rail transport services on the north-south axis from the North Sea to Mediterranean and, in addition, in Switzerland provides complete train services in domestic, import and export transport and operates additional corridors from Belgium.
BLS manages and maintains existing properties, develops selected sites and constructs new buildings. Working in agreement with local communities, it aims to combine mobility with modern service, shopping and meeting centres. BLS Immobilien AG is in charge of this.