10-franc day ticket proposed for young people in Switzerland
In another attempt to introduce a nine-euro style ticket in Switzerland, the Green Party has proposed a 10-franc day pass for Swiss public transport. The ticket would only be available to people younger than 27 and would be valid on all services during the weekend.
Swiss Greens want to limit public transport costs for young people
Speaking to Watson, Green National Councillor Florence Brenzikofer announced that she was submitting an initiative that would limit the cost of travel for young people to 10 francs a day on weekends by commissioning a new type of ticket. The pass would be available to those aged 27 or younger, and would give unlimited access to all rail, bus, tram and boat services across the country and in Swiss cities.
"The goal must be that practically all young people use public transport in their free time for longer distances", Brenzikofer explained. Much like the nine-euro ticket scheme in Germany, she said that the scheme would also reduce carbon emissions and the number of drivers on Swiss roads and motorways.
Brenzikofer: Swiss transport needs to attract more leisure travellers
She claimed that while public transport usage is high in Switzerland, much of the traffic is sourced from commuters going to work or students going to study in higher education, meaning that "public transport is much less important during young people's leisure time.” When asked why the price was set so low, she explained, “It shouldn’t be the case that a small group of young people prefers to travel by car than by public transport for reasons of cost - for example, because someone in the group does not have a Half-Fare travelcard.”
This isn’t the first attempt to reduce the cost of public transport in Switzerland, with the Social Democratic Party (SP) submitting a proposal earlier in the year that would have reduced the cost of the Half-Fare travelcard (halbtax-abo) to 100 Swiss francs a year. Speaking to Watson, SP councillor Matthias Aebischer said he supported Brenzikofer’s idea "fully and completely", once again citing the success of the nine-euro ticket in Germany as why a similar project should come to Switzerland.
When asked how the government could pay for the scheme, Brenzikofer argued that no revenue would be lost as "the yield would increase because of new customers." She argued that younger people would then be more likely to use public transport, even after the scheme ends or they get too old to use the ticket.
Swiss government and transport associations worried about the cost
The proposal has been met with a lukewarm response by transport associations, with Alliance Swiss Pass telling Watson that, while it welcomed "all initiatives that contribute to increasing the public transport share of the total traffic volume", it was important to consider "that every discount can reduce the cost recovery rate of public transport and must be borne by the public sector if it cannot be covered by the additional income."
The executive Federal Council is also not entirely on-board, noting in a statement that it was up to transport companies, not the state, to offer reduced ticket prices. They rejected so-called “state-supported actions” noting that the public is already funding “a significant part of the uncovered costs in regional transport and the railway infrastructure."