Zurich to decide on 1-franc-a-day public transport ticket

Zurich to decide on 1-franc-a-day public transport ticket

On April 3, officials in Zurich confirmed that citizens in the Swiss metropolis will vote on the plan to offer a one-franc-a-day public transport ticket for the city. Supporters argue the pass will help ease living costs for residents, while critics have raised concerns over the plan’s cost and scope.

365-franc ticket in Zurich to be voted on

In a statement, the city council of Zurich confirmed that the “VBZ annual subscription for 365 francs” initiative had secured enough signatures to be made into a referendum. The proposal, submitted by the Social Democratic Party of Zurich (SP), gained 3.234 valid signatures, well over the 3.000 required for it to be made into a local vote. While it will definitely be made into a referendum, it remains unclear when the poll will take place.

Under the plans, the cost of a second-class annual public transport subscription for ZVV zone 110 - the zone which covers all of Zurich’s 12 districts (Kreis) - would be cut from 809 francs to just 365 francs a year, or one franc a day. For children and young people, the all-access pass would cost 185 francs a year.

Supporters hope super-cheap tickets will help ease living costs

Writing on the initiative website, supporters argued that the last year has seen residents beset with significant rises in the cost of living, especially for rent and health insurance. What's more, in December 2023, the cost of ZVV tickets rose by an average of 3,4 percent

“The price increase for public transport comes at an absolutely inopportune time for [residents] and puts them under even more pressure,” they wrote. Through the initiative, the SP argued that they would relieve “the [financial] burden on the population and promote the switch from cars to climate-friendly public transport.”

365-franc ticket the latest attempt to reduce Zurich transport costs

The announcement on April 3 marks the third time the SP has tried to reduce public transport costs in Zurich. The first proposal submitted in the summer of 2021, which would have made public transport free in the city, was declared invalid as it contradicted federal law which states that passengers must pay an “appropriate amount” for transport. An attempt to pass the 365-franc ticket via the city council also failed in February 2022, after the Green and Alternative Left (AL) parties abstained.

While it remains a popular plan within the SP, many other parties in Zurich have voiced their opposition to the 365-franc ticket. Some have baulked at the cost, estimated by city officials to be around 56 million francs a year - though SP Zurich co-president Oliver Heimgartner did admit last year that if the ticket proves a success, it will cost the taxpayer 100 million francs annually.

Opponents criticise tickets' scope and effectiveness

Writing back in July 2023, FDP city councillor Michael Baumer said that the ticket was a classic example of the “watering can principle”, where instead of providing targeted help to those who need the discount most, the policy would grant a cheaper ticket to both low and highly-affluent areas of Zurich, and to all people regardless of salary

Others within the AL and Green Party have argued that the plan doesn’t go far enough, as it doesn’t include the suburbs or Canton Zurich as a whole, areas they argue need cheap transport the most. Speaking to the Tages-Anzeiger back in 2023, Green city councillor Markus Knauss also questioned whether the plan in its current form would coax drivers out of their cars, noting that an identical ticket scheme in Vienna failed to reduce the number of cars on the roads.

Thumb image credit: Markus Mainka /

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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