BLS continues with its consistent implementation of the priorities in its corporate strategy developed in 2018.
This provides the cornerstone for a sustainable future and reacts to the challenges faced in the sphere of mobility in general and public transport in particular. These challenges include growing customer demand, increasing competition in passenger and freight transport and changing workflows caused by digital transformation. BLS is also experiencing increased price pressure from the public sector.
Four strategic priorities apply to BLS as a whole and serve as a guide. BLS is consistently aligning its activities with these priorities and consolidating its activities within the four business areas of passenger mobility, freight transport, infrastructure and property.
1. A consistent focus on customers
During their journey, customers come into contact with BLS at various points and have certain expectations at each individual touchpoint. BLS wants to not only meet these expectations, but exceed them. Everything BLS does is geared towards the needs of its customers. With this aim in mind, BLS further developed the management system for customer interactions in 2020, for example, and standardised it throughout the company. This allows BLS to support its customers faster and on a more individualised basis.
2. Efficiency and fitness
In 2019, BLS launched a long-term and sustainable efficiency-savings programme. BLS is set to meet its target of reducing overall costs by 50 to 60 million francs a year by 2023. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, no additional measures have been planned; however, the financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic means that the efficiency-savings programme has become even more important. The improvements are predominantly applied in the purchasing department and within the entire logistics chain, as well as in the planning department and within the centralised business processes. For example, in 2020, BLS standardised its fleet of passenger carriages and will thus benefit in future from cheaper carriage maintenance. BLS introduced a new piece of software in its customer-service department last year which helps the department to tackle the currently increasing number of customer enquiries without having to hire more staff.
3. Market development
BLS wishes to adopt a formative role within the public transport sector and promote a competition of ideas to the benefit of passengers. For this purpose, BLS is fostering cross-industry collaborations – this facilitates the implementation of innovative ideas that improve quality and reduce costs. By commercially operating its three long-distance lines, BLS is able to continue developing and also reduce the costs of regional transport services entitled to public-sector funding. Through its part-ownership of BLS Cargo Ltd, BLS is able to contribute to functional competition in the rail-freight transport segment and provide its customers with attractive offers.
In order to more effectively tackle the challenges faced in the sphere of mobility, BLS has embraced collaborations within the sector and beyond. Together with strong partners, BLS is creating benefits for passengers and helping to shape the transport market of the future. A key role is played by the company’s partners in the area of data management, who are supporting BLS in its digital transformation. Since 2020, BLS has been working with Fairtiq in order to further develop automatic journey logging as a new sales channel. In 2020, BLS Navigation also expanded its collaborations with tourism partners such as the Grandhotel Giessbach.
The strategic priorities apply to all four of the business areas that BLS structures its activities within.
BLS shapes mobility for its customers from door to door. The business area of passenger mobility includes national regional rail services, international regional rail services (the Iselle–Domodossola route), long-distance railway services (BLS Fernverkehr AG), regional bus services (Busland AG), boat services and the Car Transport service.
BLS owns a rail network spanning 420 kilometres. On this network, it manages the train services and maintains train stations, tracks, overhead lines, tunnels and bridges. BLS’ infrastructure is operated by BLS Netz AG.
BLS reliably transports freight across the Alps within Switzerland as well as on the north-south axis from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. It assumes responsibility for the safe transport of the freight along the entire route. This business area includes BLS’ shareholdings in BLS Cargo Ltd., RAlpin and Hupac.
BLS services and maintains existing properties, re-develops selected sites and constructs new buildings. In coordination with local municipalities, the company seeks to combine mobility with urban centres providing modern services and opportunities to shop and socialise. This is the responsibility of BLS Immobilien AG.