The FART company - Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinese SA - is a public transport company active in the Locarno area and the surrounding valleys, an extremely beautiful region including not only the shores of Lake Maggiore but also the attractive local valleys.
The service includes the Centovalli Railway and the urban and country bus services, the cable carsVerdasio-Rasa and Intragna-Pila-Costa and the sales office "La Biglietteria", with a range of suggestions for excursions.
The Company story began in 1898: first was the vision of a new way to communicate Locarno with Domodossola - by way of the two valleys - and as a result the Gottard railway line with that of the Simplon. Then a reality.
On 30 September 1898, Francesco Balli, mayor of Locarno, made the formal request to the Federal Government for the concession for a railway, which under the name of Locarno Railways included three lines: the "Locarno-Bignasco", the "Locarno-Robellasca" and the "Locarno-Valmara". A "vigezzino" committee was formed to promote the railway company Locarno-Domodossola and on 28 December 1898 it was awarded the federal concession.
The "Ferrovie Regionali Ticinesi" (FRT) was constituted on 18 November 1909.
In May 1913 began the construction work. Because of financial problems it was halted and restarted in April 1914, but had to be reduced and then suspended at the start of the War.On 12 November 1919 in Rome the Swiss and Italian governments agreed a definitive convention for the operation of the line. The operation of the Italian side was awarded to the "Società Subalpina di Imprese Ferroviarie". The Swiss section was awarded to the Ferrovie Regionali Ticinesi. In 1921 work restarted.
On 25 November 1923 the railway Locarno-Domodossola was inaugurated, thanks to the creators' strength of will - Balli, Sutter, Falcioni and Testore - that was able to overcome and win through the technical and financial difficulties which seemed insuperable.
On 27 November 1923 the Locarno-Domodossola line became fully operational. Still in 1923 the electric tramway in Locarno and the railway Locarno - Ponte Brolla - Bignasco (Valmaggina) was taken over by FRT management. On 1924 the company took over operation of navigation on Lake Maggiore, using the vessels of the "Società Subalpina".
Early '50s the FRT company again found itself in financial difficulty and the Federal court approved a new agreement: the railway Locarno-Domodossola was restored, navigation on Lake Maggiore was ceded to management by the Italian government, the tramways of Locarno were converted to bus routes and FRT was promised the concession for urban and suburban bus routes in the Locarno area, when the existing contract was due to expire.
In 1957 the FRT obtained the federal concession for the bus routes Locarno-Ascona and Brissago and connected lines, fully operational on 01.01.1962.
In 1958 the convention was agreed with the municipalities of Locarno, Muralto and Minusio to substitute the tram services with buses. FRT also took over management of the Verdasio-Rasa cable car.
On 30 April 1960 the tram service was substituted by buses.
The years 1961-1968 were important for the expansion of the company.
At the end of the transfer to road services, the FRT became F.A.R.T., "Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinesi".
In April 1964 the service Locarno - Cugnasco was opened. In the same month also the service on the line Monte Verità - Ascona Posta - Lido - Sonnenhof and the travel office in Piazza Grande.
On 15 November 1965 the Valmaggina railway Locarno-Bignasco closed. Since 29 November 1965 the service has been by road.
In June 1966 the company took over complete management of the bus lines on the hills above Locarno.
In 1976 was signed a new agreement between the cable car Intragna-Pila-Costa cooperative, Canton Ticino and the F.A.R.T. company: the Canton became owner of the infrastructure, which was managed by the transportation company.
In 1983 the city of Locarno made its agreement to the renewal of the railway concession dependent on the removal of all railway lines from the streets of the town.
The new tunnel under the town from Locarno to San Martino, as well new the underground station in Locarno, were opened on 17 December 1990.
Since the late ' 80s to today , the organization of the service for both the railway and the bus lines, is constantly modernized and expanded.
In 1989 8 new electric trains ABe 4/6 (n.51 - 58) were acquired. 4 of them in 2011 have been completely renovated and renamed "Centovalli Express".
Since 1990 began the renewal of safety systems. In 2015 started the restoration work of the viaducts, works to be distributed over a number of years.
In 1990 the public transport network expanded thanks to the introduction of 5 suburban lines. In 2006 the concession to operate the 5 suburban lines was renewed until 2016.
In 2015 the Ascona-Locarno-Minusio bus line was lengthened as far as Tenero-Brere.
In 2007 was launched the plan to renew the bus fleet: new ecological vehicles and equipped with the SIGE IT system have been introduced.
In December 2007 the travel agency closed and the ticket office "La Biglietteria" opened in Piazza Stazione, Locarno-Muralto.
New administrative headquarters
It is operative since the end of 2011. The building is heated with an innovative wood chip heating system, which is connected to 20 other residential buildings in the neighborhood.
Arcobaleno Integrated Fare
It was introduced on 1.9.2012 and harmonized the products, the fares and sales system of all the public transport companies in Ticino (regional fare network).
Bridge construction in Intragna (1916)
Bridge construction in Intragna (1916)