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BEST - how it all started in 1999

Updated: Jan 26, 2023

During the late 1990s implementation of a new Rail Traffic Management System in the Stockholm metro caused severe disturbances. Our customers suffered, the media raged, and our staff was depressed. ”How do we raise our eyes from the daily problems to create new optimism and creativity? Within some years, we will offer the best public transport in the world”, said our managing director.


”That’s easy to say, but how do we get there?” was my remark, and proposed benchmarking.

By systematically learning from the most successful colleagues, we can improve our services step by step. Let us start a learning process to improve the quality of public transport services in Europe!


At the UITP Congress 1999 in Toronto we presented the pamphlet ”The SL Challenge” to colleagues from European Public Transport Authorities. Copenhagen, Oslo and Helsinki joined immediately; other capitals were more sceptic to the idea of a “competition”.


We changed the name of the game and called it ”Benchmarking European Services of public Transport”. A deadline was decided: in five years - 2005 – the results should be there to see.


That BEST survived 2005 with five years I contributed to - since I retired (in 2010), another 12 years have passed!


Best wishes for the future!


Bo Tengblad

Former Director of Marketing, SL

Stockholm, January 2023


The invitation to participate

The front page of the invitation



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