Wednesday 26 March 2014

Sunderland update - and an index

I have updated my post about Sunderland with some new images - including gas buses which recently entered service there with Stagecoach.

It also occurred to me that this blog could do with an index.  Now added, with a link at the top of the page.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Luxembourg, Luxembourg

If I had to describe Luxembourg's public transport system in one word, that word would be... colourful!

By "Luxembourg", I am referring to the city of Luxembourg, capital of the European nation of the same name.

There are no trams, not trolleybuses, anywhere in Luxembourg although there plans exist to open a tram line in Luxembourg city in 2017.  In the meantime domestic public transport is provided by a rail network and by buses, the previous tram system having closed in 1964.

Buses within the city

The network of bus services within the capital city is co-ordinated by the municipal authority, Ville de Luxembourg (website in French only).  Some of the buses are operated by the municipal undertaking, others by private operators.  A number of Luxembourg's city bus routes are operated by more than one company.

The latest colour scheme for Luxembourg's city bus network comprises multi-coloured stripes. 

Buses carrying the Multiplicity name are operated by the municipal undertaking, but the livery is also worn by some vehicles provided by private operators such as this one (right).

Not obvious from the livery, but this vehicle is one of a number of hybrids operating in Luxembourg.

When I visited Luxembourg in August 2013 a number of the city's buses were still carrying the previous blue, white and orange "network" colours.



Not all buses carry either of these colour schemes.  A number of buses belonging to private operators wore their own operators' liveries.

As well as standard single-deckers, smaller vehicles operate on a few routes which are not suited to standard-sized buses.

Articulated buses are plentiful on Luxembourg's city bus network.



Like the standard single-deckers, some of the articulated buses carry the latest colours, others carry the previous "network" livery...



... while plenty of those from private operators carry their own operators' colour schemes.

A number of bi-articulated buses operate in Luxembourg, on route 16 which links the main railway station and city centre with the airport, alongside other standard and articulated buses.


Regional buses

Regional bus services link Luxembourg with surrounding towns.  These services converge outside Luxembourg's main railway station.  The network is co-ordinated by Régime Général de Transport Routiers (RGTR).  Timetables are available on Luxembourg's Mobilitéit website (French language only)

The regional buses are just as colourful as the city services, with operators generally using vehicles in their own liveries.

A variety of vehicle types in use, ranging from standard single-deck buses.... 

... to coaches...

... to three-axle vehicles...


... to articulated buses.

I also noted double-deck coaches, operating a cross-border service to the French town of Thionville.


A couple of the single-deck buses were proudly proclaiming their hybrid credentials.

Some of the regional buses were carrying the livery of Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer luxembourgeois (CFL), Luxembourg's national railway operator.  They are not part of the rail network - CFL is also a bus operator participating in the network coordinated by RGTR.

Conversely, a service between Luxembourg and the German town of Saarbrücken is operated in association with the railway, but the vehicle I noted was operated by another company and did not carry CFL branding.
A number of the bus routes are branded as "Eurobus".  These routes link Luxembourg's rail station and City Centre with the Kirchberg district, which is home to a number of European institutions.  Destination displays alternate between showing the actual destination and "Eurobus".

Fares on Luxembourg's bus networks

Fares on Luxembourg's public transport systems are remarkably simple.  A single national tariff covers the rail system and regional buses across the whole of Luxembourg as well as the bus network within the capital city.

At the time of writing, a single ticket costs €2 and is valid for two hours; an all-day ticket, valid until 04:00 the following morning, costs €4.  Tickets can be bought singly, or in books of 10 (for which there is a discount).  These fares apply not just within the city of Luxembourg but across the whole country.  However they do not cover cross-border journeys to or from the neighbouring countries (Germany, France and Belgium).  Monthly and annual passes are also available - a year's travel on all domestic services within Luxembourg currently costs €440 - with cheaper versions available for use within a limited number of tariff zones.

As well as paper tickets, tickets are also available by text message, mobile phone and on smartcards.

Other services

A very small number of bus services are not part of the coordinated networks.

I found a minibus operating a privately-sponsored shuttle service between the station and a car dealership.
Meanwhile Belgian operator TEC (website in French only) runs an infrequent bus service over the border into Luxembourg from the town of Arlon.  I didn't manage to get a picture of it.

Finally, for visitors to Luxembourg, sightseeing tours operate from March to October under the City Sightseeing brand.

As well as the hop-on, hop-off tour, a road train operates a tour named "Pétrusse Express"

Transport Museum (update 5 March 2014)

A number of Luxembourg's historic trams and buses are housed in a museum in the west of the city.  The museum is open on Thursdays and at weekends.  More information on the website.  Thanks to daddysgadgets for pointing this out in the comments.