Federal Council rejects calls for cheap public transport tickets in Switzerland
The Federal Council, the executive branch of the Swiss government, has resisted calls to implement a nine-euro style ticket for public transport in Switzerland. The council said that the scheme would not be beneficial and may make passenger numbers go down on Swiss trains.
Cheap train tickets seen as a good way to relieve costs on residents
The calls for a German-style cheap public transport ticket in Switzerland were started by the Social Democratic Party (SP) last week. Similar to the aims of the ticket in Germany, the SP said that amid high energy and petrol costs, offering a cheap alternative to driving would provide relief to families and individuals caught out by the price rises.
National Councillor Matthias Aebischer described the idea of a cheap ticket in Switzerland as “super.” He noted that while a "nine franc a month ticket" for unlimited regional public transport may be too good an offer in the alpine nation, a “10 franc day ticket” for families, young people and pensioners would be a positive and reasonable alternative.
Swiss Federal Council deems the nine-euro ticket scheme too costly and disruptive
However, this view was not shared by the Federal Council. When asked about the nine-euro ticket at an official consultation, Transport Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said that a Swiss version of the idea was not on the horizon.
Similarly to opponents of the ticket in Germany, the Federal Council warned that such a scheme would result in overcrowded buses and trains, leading to dissatisfied customers. The council said that the idea would lead to a “loss of image” for public transport operators, meaning that previously loyal passengers might switch to driving to avoid the crowds, reducing passenger numbers in the long run.
Advocates for cheaper train tickets to submit motions to Swiss parliament
When asked about funding, the Federal Council admitted that it did not know how much a Swiss nine-euro ticket would cost to implement, although current estimates have the German scheme costing billions of euros. Regardless of the price, the council said that the “cost-benefit ratio” does not justify the ticket in Switzerland.
For the SP and Aebischer, the decision by the Federal Council does not mean they will drop the idea of some sort of “public transport campaign.” According to Watson, the SP is now evaluating four plans "which relieve the wallets of residents and encourage them to switch to public transport." They are due to submit these plans to parliament in the coming weeks.