Too many vans on Swiss roads as government promises higher taxes

Too many vans on Swiss roads as government promises higher taxes

A new report from the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) has found that small delivery vans and other delivery vehicles are responsible for causing large traffic jams on Swiss motorways and in Swiss cities over the last 21 years. In response, the Federal Council has debated extending taxes to curb the number of vans on the road.

Van traffic increased dramatically in Switzerland during COVID

The Swiss government has been determined to reduce the number of large lorries on Swiss roads, especially on roads in the Swiss mountains, where a single lorry crash can cause large delays. After a new rail strategy and vehicle taxes were introduced in 1994, the proportion of goods transported through the Alps on Swiss railways increased to 70 percent in 2021.

However, the report also found that 80 percent of goods delivered around Switzerland still use road vehicles. Since 2000, the use of smaller vans has increased by over 50 percent. As these vehicles are exempt from HGV taxes, their use has increased dramatically, especially during the pandemic while shops had to rely on online ordering.

New heavy vehicle taxes planned in Switzerland

To combat the increase in traffic, the government has put forward a motion to increase taxes on smaller vans. The new plans would see tax breaks for entrepreneurs that use vans for family businesses, such as plumbing, but higher costs for vans used for deliveries.

The National Council rejected these plans, but 20 minuten reported the idea isn’t entirely off the table. Federal Councillor Simonetta Sommaruga is due to submit a new plan on how every large delivery in Switzerland could use rail instead of the road, with new taxes expected as part of the new plan.

Jan de Boer


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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