Kreuzlingen to become first Swiss city to offer free public transport
Kreuzlingen, Canton Thurgau, is set to become the first city in Switzerland to make public transport free, after the local government voted to make its buses free of charge. Other cities in eastern Switzerland are watching closely and may hold their own votes soon.
Bus network in and around Kreuzlingen to be free
So far, proposals for cheaper or free public transport tickets in Switzerland have been met with a lukewarm response. As far back as 2012, a referendum that would have given free public transport to young people in St. Gallen was rejected with 80 percent of the vote.
Now, the city parliament of Kreuzlingen, the city opposite Konstanz in Germany, has voted to make the local bus network free for residents and tourists alike. How the scheme will be paid for and where it will apply is now being decided.
Supporters hope to spread the idea to other Swiss cities
The co-president of the city of St. Gallen, Peter Olibet, confirmed that the scheme in Thurgau is of great interest to other cantons in the region, and that he hopes to trial the idea in a larger Swiss city. "We will certainly monitor the decision in Kreuzlingen closely and possibly submit our own initiative in St. Gallen," he confirmed.
However, the co-president acknowledged that a regional solution would not be the end goal and that a nationwide trial of free or cheap public transport is needed. “The 9-euro ticket in Germany shows that it is also possible to try something out at short notice. We could also test such temporary offers here,” he concluded.
The idea of a cheap public transport ticket in Switzerland was debated in parliament’s summer session, before being rejected by the Federal Council. It is hoped that Kreuzlingen will serve as a “test” of how free public transportation would work in the short to long term.