SBB smashes passenger records in first quarter of 2023
New data from the union for public transport in Switzerland has revealed that after passenger numbers on Swiss trains returned to pre-pandemic levels at the end of 2022, the first three months of 2023 saw a record amount of travellers. Passenger numbers have increased dramatically this year, while cargo traffic has declined.
Swiss trains break passenger record in first quarter of 2023
In the statement, reported in 20 Minuten, the Union of Public Transport in Switzerland (UTP) confirmed that passenger rail traffic broke “an absolute record” in the first quarter of 2023. Specifically, the firm reported that collectively, people in the alpine nation travelled 5,22 billion kilometres on trains in the first three months of the year, smashing the previous record set during the first three months of 2019. This means that, on average, every person in Switzerland travelled around six kilometres a day by train.
Passenger numbers were 34,5 percent higher in the first three months of 2023 compared to 2022 - largely as a result of the COVID pandemic. In contrast, the amount of freight traffic has fallen by 4,1 percent compared to 2022, something the UTP blamed on fewer goods passing between European nations through the Swiss mountains.
Swiss Federal Railways continues to struggle with higher costs
The news will be warmly received by Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), which had struggled in the last few years to manage rising salaries and running costs at a time when passenger numbers were heavily impacted by COVID measures, a return to hybrid forms of work and fewer tourists. The extra income will also likely come as welcome relief for the company after the Federal Council announced that it would be cutting rail budgets over the next few years.
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