Route designations in Göteborg

Den Oudsten in Mölndal.
The 700-series is devoted to the areas south-southeast of Göteborg.

This is merely a curiosity, giving a hint about why bus services carry the numbers that they do today. Something that has both a little historical background, but also show signs of a struggle to get some order in the system. Alas, the coherent logic is not all encompassing, as we will soon see.

GS 39 by Vågmästareplatsen in 1997.
This was among the first buses with destination blinds (1987), but it appears to malfunction this late in its career (1997). Bus 39 on route 39 might be what we sometimes call a depot joke. All buses in numerical sequence on a line is another...

Early on, just destinations were used for trams (until 1906), and much later still for buses on services outside Göteborg proper. Then again, as numbers came into fashion, destinations went down the drain. Until finally both became common, which happened around the time when automatic blinds or electronic matrix displays showed up in the mid 1980:s. This time around the practice was first adopted by the regional companies, but city buses soon followed. A thorough and empirical test was carried out circa 1982-86, by Göteborgs Spårvägar.

Route numbers, locally

GS M 21, 269-252.
Colour displays were used from 1902 and 100 years on. The destination is now only shown on a bitone LCD-display, in spite of the fact that colour-LCD:s actually exist.

First things first. Trams occupy the lowest numbers, now up to 13. In the 1980-90:s when there for a long time only was one-digit numbers for trams, the eqvivalent "teen-numbers" were used for a deviating or more permanent bus replacement service. E.g. a closed part of tram 5 became bus 15. When trams started to get higher, that tradition was dropped. As the trunk buses started in 2003, their numbers almost got in line with the trams. Those bus services are numbered between 16-19.

From left 218-210, route 8 in Hammarkullen.
The colours can get a different hue depending on the ligthing conditions. Number 8 is purple in daylight, but veer more to pink when lit from behind.
Vasaplatsen tram and bus stop pole.

As in most major cities, the rail transit has different colours used as symbols for each line. For some reason it is considered unclear if the horse trams (1879-1902) had this. At least the electrics got colours, which has mostly stuck. The exceptions is line 1, that has been both black, then white, and black again. When confronted by and older picture of line 8, it could be good to know that it wasn't purple until 1988. Before that it was diagonally displayed with green and red. The information poles at stops has in recent years also got a taste of the line colours, as seen in the picture to the right.

GS 564.
A confusing example, as 21 was a long line from the west (20-area) to the east (500). It has since been shortened and renumbered 59, that fits part of the alignment. It has also been called 511, and 517.

It all started with route numbering on the trams, and letters for buses. In 1946 also the buses got numbers, later collected in sectors within the city limits. This still lingers on, but becomes increasingly harder to maintain. Numbers under 20 are reserved for trams and trunk bus routes, regardless of their main area of operation. The rest of the two digit numbers are dished out in a different tenth for each area. 20 is mainly serving the western parts of Hisingen island, 30 central ditto, 40 eastern Hisingen, while 50 is eastern mainland, 60 central and southeast, 70 northeast, 80 along a narrow southern alignment, and 90 western mainland.

Swebus Volvo B10LA 4267.
Shorter routes like this, is much easier to assign a proper number.

The 100 numbers are fashioned in a similar pattern, and used for peak hour routes, industrial workings, and other special services. All these are within the city limits proper, and originally an obligation of Göteborgs Spårvägar. The exceptions were routes 80-84 (Styrsöbolaget ferries and Säröbussarna, though both owned by the city). Today's tendering procedures is often following one or more 10:th sequences at a time.

Route numbers, regionally

Enklare att hitta rätt buss.

A reform in 1981 alloted all undertakers - private and public - logical regional number series. The map is copied from a pamphlet explaining this. Since it was printed, also the islands Tjörn and Orust were added to the "300-area". All this worked fine, with the original 13 communities then included in the tariff union. Even when the rest of Bohus state jonied, free numbers were available. All the way up to the Norwegian border, became the reign of 800:s. 300 and 100 is prevalent outside this area in the southeast, also added on the map, but is a breach to the logic.

Route numbers, statewide

GS Volvo B10BLE 165 at 732.
This bus is going to the state border to Halland in Frillesås.

This has gotten really complicated after the merger of three states. The combined number of routes is close to 1000. Even if all were to be used, it would hardly be enough. It will not make much sense either, when blank spaces is lacking to permit additional routes in certain areas. It could end up like in London...

Orusttrafiken 57.
Green - not a number, but a colour. As long as those vehicles on the green express and others were painted in the corresponding colour, it was easy. Now they just display the name, sometimes accompanied with a sticker along each side too.

Former Bohus state and the immediate metropolitan area of Göteborg, is still pretty much like before. The two remaining former states, also kept their numbering intact. This is why some routes offer multiple entries, when searching the database for schedules. I don't know about any attempts to solve it in any other way in the future. The multiple routes have, rather the opposite, increased. Cities isolated from each other, have similar low numbers, which will not make much trouble.

Menu for Göteborg articles

Göteborg introduction Selfguided city tour
Route numbers Transit undertakers
Vehicles - buses Vehicles - trams
Links and information Den Oudsten feast (pics)

Göteborg M31 332 and 372.
Two cars, but three lines? The displays are driven by motors, so it isn't the drivers fault.

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