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myRIDE trial: All you need to know about SBB's new smart ticket

myRIDE trial: All you need to know about SBB's new smart ticket

Since mid-May, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and Alliance SwissPass - the controller of public transport tickets in Switzerland - have been trialling the new myRIDE "smart" subscription service. Everyone is able to sign up for the pass, which promises significantly cheaper prices for those who travel on the Swiss public transport network semi-regularly.

New myRIDE subscription trialled on Swiss public transport network

The new myRIDE subscription and app are designed for people who use the train, bus, tram and boat networks in Switzerland regularly, but not regularly enough for it to be worth paying for a General Abonnement or GA - such as those who only commute to work a few days a week or use the network primarily for leisure travel. What’s more, unlike GA, point-to-point and zonal subscriptions, travellers are charged a "smart" flexible rate depending on how much they use the pass.

In a statement, Alliance SwissPass confirmed that anyone who is a resident of Switzerland can sign up to take part in the myRIDE trial - though places are limited. Alongside the cost of journeys, users are charged a 15-franc monthly fee for the service, though those with half-fare travel subscriptions (halb-tax) will be charged just one franc a month.

New pay-as-you-transport subscription promises major savings

In a first for Switzerland, myRIDE uses the distance that passengers travel on the network to calculate costs - the further someone travels per month, the lower the price will be per kilometre. This is done by using the swipe-on, swipe-off location tracking ticketing system already used by the EasyRide function in SBB's mobile app.

The new system will lead to major savings, especially for those who travel long distances semi-regularly. For instance, Watson calculated that those who use myRIDE to travel between Zurich and Bern twice a week would be charged 233 francs a month, far less than the cost of a GA (350 francs a month) or the cost of buying eight return tickets with a halb-tax (approximately 424 francs a month).

Most Swiss public transport tickets to be digital by 2035

Shorter trips were also found to be cheaper with the ticket, so long as more journeys were taken per month. Speaking to Watson, Alliance SwissPass spokesperson Susanna Wittwer said that feedback from customers has been positive so far, with many testers recommending the product to friends and colleagues.

She explained that the pass will help transport companies transition to selling almost all their tickets digitally by 2035, but cautioned that “if a transition were to take place, it would happen gradually.” Alliance head of strategy René Schmied added that the current inflexible pricing structure used by SBB is putting people off travelling and that pay-as-you-go subscriptions like myRIDE are needed in order to compete in the future. “Public transport must become as easy as driving a car,” he argued.

myRIDE smart ticket trial to conclude at the end of 2024

However, not everyone is as enthusiastic about myRIDE, with the Swiss Foundation for Consumer Protection telling Watson in a statement that the move towards digital location-tracking tickets means that most travellers have no idea how much their journey will cost until they swipe off. They also worry that the gradual phasing out of physical tickets would significantly impact the elderly and those without access to mobile phones.

In all, Wittwer confirmed that the myRIDE test will conclude at the end of 2024 and “will be [further] developed in the years to come. The public transport sector will decide by the end of the year whether to pursue the idea.” For more information, and to take part in the study, check out the myRIDE website.

Jan de Boer

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Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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