Getting around Basel - convenient, safe and environmentally friendly
Basel has an excellent transport infrastructure – especially where public transport, bicycles and pedestrians are concerned. Cars are not really essential in Basel! Most places can be conveniently reached by other means of transport. More than half of Basel's households do not have a private car.
The municipal area alone is served by 12 tram lines, 21 bus lines and 3 S-Bahn lines which cover a total distance of around 200 kilometres. Simple, swift and inexpensive, Basel‘s extensive public transport system takes you everywhere in the city and the surrounding region.
On top of this, Basel is an excellent town for cyclists. Thanks to short distances and an extensive network of bicycle lanes, the inhabitants of Basel use the bikes for as much as 16% of their transport needs.
Basel’s mostly car-free centre of town (implemented as of 2014), comprehensive 30 km/h zones in residential areas and over 60 shared zones (i.e. traffic-calmed zones where pedestrians have right of way) allow visitors to enjoy and explore the city safely on foot.
The Canton manages traffic in Basel on the basis of sound urban planning and environmental principles. Harmonious and fair coexistence of all traffic participants and unobstructed access are relevant factors in this context.
Thanks to its central location in Europe, Basel is an important transport hub. The city is situated at the interface of three railway lines (including high-speed trains) and the intersection of the motorways to France, Germany, Zurich and Gotthard. In addition, the EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg offers frequent flights within Switzerland as well as short and long-haul flights abroad. Basel is the “gate to Switzerland” both in terms of passenger transport and freight haulage.
- Photo: Juri Weiss
Basel is served by a comprehensive public transport system that offers numerous transfer connections and has a reputation for punctuality. During the day, trams and buses on the main lines run every 7.5 minutes. On top of this, the cross-border public transport services connecting Basel with France and Germany are currently being extended. Aside from cross-border bus and regional S-Bahn lines, new tram routes like Tram Nr. 8 are leading to neighbouring German and French municipalities.
The inexpensive ‘Umweltabonnement’, a monthly environmentally-friendly travel card, covers all means of public transport (bus, tram, train) in the area of the Tarifverbund Nordwestschweiz TNW. The travel card is available from all TNW transport companies (BVB, BLT, AAGL, SBB, Postauto, Waldenburgerbahn). Individual tickets and multi-journey tickets can be obtained from the ticket machines at almost every bus, train or tram stop. Attractive ticket and information services are also available for public cross-border transport.
Timetables can be accessed online at www.tnw.ch and on the transport companies‘ websites.
- Photo: Juri Weiss
Featuring an extensive, sign-posted network of bicycle lanes that also connects to the surrounding region, Basel is the perfect cycling city. Parking spaces for bicycles are available all over town. The Basel SBB and Basel St. Johann train stations also provide large, modern bicycle parking spaces. A cycling map for Basel and the surrounding region is available in German, French and English from book shops, Basel Tourism and the customer service centre of the Construction and Transport Departement (Münsterplatz 11). The bicycle route network can also be called up online.
Basel on foot
Walking is a particularly healthy form of mobility. Although other means of transport, such as tram, train or car, are often taken for the largest part of most journeys, with very few exceptions each journey starts and ends with a walk. The population of Basel undertakes as much as 37% of its journeys by foot. The city’s districts boast an extensive, safe and attractive network of footpaths that also connects them with the centre of town. Traffic calming (30 km/h zones and shared zones with 20 km/h speed limits and pedestrians’ right of way) not only improve the quality of life in the city’s districts but also make for a pleasant and safe walking experience.
Cars and Motorbikes
Basel’s road network consists of motorways (subject to road tax), main traffic arteries and traffic-calmed streets in the city’s districts. The residential areas have all been turned into 30 km/h zones. In many locations, side streets and residential streets feature so-called shared zones with a 20 km/h speed limit. Pedestrians have right of way as a matter of principle. Cars and motorbikes have limited access to the centre of town.
With few exceptions, parking is only permitted in designated parking areas. In the centre of town, all car parks are subject to charges. Basel’s car-park routing system shows the way. The city districts offer parking spaces in the blue zones (limited parking time with parking disk, priority for residents). Residents can obtain parking permits for their own and neighbouring post- code areas that grant unrestricted parking in the blue Zone. By 2016, all parking spaces in Basel will be changed over to blue zones and unlimited free parking will no longer be possible.
“MOTOS” or “VELOS und MOTOS” signs identify designated motorbike parking areas.
Specially designated and sign-posted parking spaces are available for disabled citizens who have obtained a respective parking permit.
The Motorfahrzeugkontrolle is responsible for issuing or reissuing driving licenses, registering new vehicles, carrying out periodic checks (similar to MOT), registering new vehicle owners and issuing parking permits. All vehicles are subject to vehicle tax depending on their type and age.
Thanks to the car-sharing company Mobility, which provides services all over Switzerland, it is now easy to live without a car: Mobility members can book a wide variety of different cars on short notice, either online or by phone, access the cars with an electronic card and go off on a journey for the agreed time period. The parking spaces are always reserved, there are no additional charges and Mobility is responsible for all repairs.
BlaBlaCar.de is the largest online car-pooling agency offering rides within Switzerland and Europe. In Basel over 5,000 offers and requests for rides are available on a regular basis.
Basel has around 470 taxis which can be ordered by phone or at the 30 taxi ranks distributed throughout the city (e.g. SBB and Bad. Bahnhof train stations, EuroAirport, Barfüsserplatz, Messeplatz, Aeschenplatz). In Basel, passengers can choose taxis at their pleasure and are not obliged to take the first taxi in the queue.