1-franc day ticket for Swiss public transport proposed by Juso
Taking inspiration from the nine-euro ticket scheme in Germany, the Young Socialists of Switzerland (Juso) have proposed a one-franc regional day ticket for Swiss public transport. Designed to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the first railway opening in Switzerland, Juso hopes the scheme will encourage more people to use the train and help fight climate change.
Cheaper tickets needed to get more people to use Swiss public transport
In a statement given to 20 minuten, Juso president Nicola Siegrist said that "Swiss public transport is one of the best in the world, but usage is still too low." Despite long-distance transport experiencing an interrailing boom over the last few weeks, passenger numbers on local and commuter lines are still not back to pre-pandemic levels.
To help increase the number of passengers, Juso has proposed a one-franc day ticket - and a 30-franc monthly ticket - that would grant access to all public transport services within each transport region. For example, the ticket would allow the holder to travel on all bus, rail, tram and boat services within the ZVV network in Zurich or the BVB network in Basel, and so on, for a day. The cost of intercity and interregional services between Swiss cities would still be the same.
With this scheme, “The citizens’ wallets could also be relieved. Because the current high fuel and energy prices and inflation are causing many financial problems,” Siegrist argued. Alongside the reported success of the nine-euro ticket for public transport in Germany, Juso cited cheaper ticket schemes in parts of Austria as evidence that the idea could work in Switzerland.
1-franc ticket scheme could easily be paid for by Swiss government
The scheme has also been supported by the wider Social Democratic Party (SP), with national councillor Matthias Aebischer telling 20 minuten that "if we want to achieve our climate goals, we have to get people on public transport." However, the councillor from Canton Bern said that he would refine the idea: “Many regional trains are already overcrowded at peak times. For example, the one-franc tickets could be invalidated for one hour in the morning and in the afternoon to encourage people not to use public transport during peak hours.”
When asked how the government could afford to pay for the scheme, Siegrist said that the state could easily fund the idea “with its own resources.” The costs saved by the proposed banning of motorway expansion in Switzerland and a windfall tax on fossil fuels companies have also been floated as potential ways to fund the cheap ticket.
Swiss 1-franc ticket scheme called "crackpot and communist" by opponents
Despite garnering strong support within the SP, the idea was labelled “another crackpot idea from the "communists" that you can't take seriously" by Swiss People’s Party councillor Walter Wobmann. He made the case that 50 percent of public transport is already financed by Swiss taxes and that a one-franc ticket would do more to hurt residents' finances than help them.
Questions have also been raised as to whether the policy would actually reduce the number of drivers. Preliminary results from Germany have indicated that the cheap ticket scheme there did not reduce the number of car journeys by much, only increasing the number of “extra” train journeys.
The idea of higher demand and overloaded trains - like those seen during the German nine-euro scheme - has not been well received by transport authorities either, with ZVV spokesperson Thomas Kellenberger warning that “expanding public transport capacities now is simply not possible." FDP. The Liberals councillor Kurt Fluri concluded that overloaded trains may force commuters to switch to cars, invalidating the point of the scheme altogether.