Passenger numbers on Swiss trains skyrocket, returning to pre-pandemic levels

Passenger numbers on Swiss trains skyrocket, returning to pre-pandemic levels

A new study by LITRA and the Union of Public Transport (UTP) has found that passenger numbers on Swiss trains have largely returned to pre-pandemic levels. The numbers on Swiss public transport rose significantly in the last year, with the number of inter-railing tickets sold doubling since 2019.

Passenger numbers in Switzerland shoot up by 29 percent

In the third quarter of 2022, the UTP found that there were 5,23 billion person-kilometres recorded on Swiss railways. A person-kilometre refers to how many kilometres an individual person travels by rail - for example, if 30 people travel 30 kilometres by train, that amounts to 900 person kilometres.

The result for the third quarter is the highest number seen in 2022 so far and amounts to a 29,2 percent rise compared to the same period in 2021. While numbers remain 4,9 percent below the all-time passenger record set in the third quarter of 2019, the figures mean passenger numbers have largely returned to normal, with LITRA saying the results “allow [for] optimism for the coming months.” 

Number of people interrailing doubles in three years

The returns to trains has also been reflected in the rise of inter-railing, with a new study by Bild am Sonntag reporting that 600.000 interrail tickets have been sold in 2022 so far, already nearly double the number sold in 2019. Germany saw the most tickets sold at 142.000, followed by Switzerland and the United Kingdom with 94.000 and 63.000 tickets sold respectively. 

The most popular destinations for inter-rail travel in the first half of 2022 were France, Italy and Spain. While there is no data for Switzerland, 20 minuten noted that around 70 percent of inter-railers in Germany are under the age of 27.

New transport passes and frozen ticket prices in Switzerland

The good news comes amid a shake-up for railways in Switzerland. Alliance SwissPass has already announced a new flexible public transport ticket to help bring those on hybrid work contracts back to using public transport.

Despite high inflation, the association also confirmed that public transport costs will be frozen for passengers in 2023. Finally, city authorities in Zurich have announced that direct trains from Zurich to London, Stockholm and Madrid should be made a reality in the next two years.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

Read more



Leave a comment