Adventure Curiously

Lifeline of Swiss Connectivity


As you wind through the Swiss Alps, you may hear an unexpected note of “Du-Da-Do” echoing through the passes. But it’s not birdsong, cowbells, or even a local yodeler—it’s the tune of a yellow passenger bus defying the impossible twists and turns of the mountain roads – but this tune has a very iconic beginning.

Officially founded in 1906, the Swiss Postbus started as a horse drawn postal service. However, as locals realized they could hitch a ride along with their letters to nearby towns, the Postbus seized the opportunity to add public transportation to their resume. Soon they weren’t just transporting parcels and packages, but also school children, villagers, tourists and even the occasional farm animal.

With the advent of railways, parcels found a new way to their destination, and the Postbus was left with more space for passengers. Thanks to newly built alpine passes through Grimsel, Furka St Bernard and Oberalp, this allowed the service to spread across the entire country, becoming an indispensable lifeline connecting even the most secluded hamlets and towns.

But besides their awesome origin, what makes these buses so special? Firstly, their vivid yellow hue, known as ‘Swiss Post yellow,’ is a protected trademark. Back in the 15th century, two royal post officials chose black and yellow to distinguish their mail, little did they know this iconic color scheme would become the hallmark of Swiss Postbus. Officially registered in 2002, “Swiss Post yellow” has joined the elite ranks of Switzerland’s color heritage alongside Milka’s lilac and Wander’s Ovaltine orange.

The second and perhaps most iconic part of Postbuses is their three-toned horn. In the early days of motorized vehicles, horns were not yet a thing and silent buses cautiously navigated the mountain passes. However, a string of accidents and near collisions prompted a change. Drawing inspiration from Rossini’s opera “William Tell,” officials crafted a unique horn with three musical notes, ensuring the Postbus would have a one of a kind horn to signal its arrival at sharp turns.

From its humble beginnings ferrying parcels and passengers, to its modern-day status as the lifeline of Swiss connectivity, the Swiss Postbus has truly earned its place in transportation history. And don’t forget that while exploring the winding roads of the mountain passes to always keep your ears perked for the lovely little tune of “Du-Da-Do.”

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