Austrian railways found to offer cheaper train tickets in Switzerland than SBB
A new report from Blick has found that if you want to get the cheapest public transport tickets in Switzerland, it may be best to do your shopping outside the country. According to their findings, for many trips on Swiss public transport, booking your journey through Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) or Trenitalia is often cheaper than booking directly with Swiss Federal Railways (SBB).
ÖBB tickets now the cheapest way to cross Switzerland by rail
The newspaper found that ÖBB was offering extremely cheap tickets for journeys across Swiss cities and cantons. It follows similar reports from earlier in the year that due to the strength of the Swiss franc, it is often cheaper to book journeys in Switzerland with French, Italian and German-long distance rail than it is with SBB.
For example, for just 31,10 Swiss francs, ÖBB is offering a standard one-way second class ticket from Geneva to Feldkirch - a town just across the Austrian border. A similar standard one-way ticket from Geneva to Buchs - the stop before Feldkirch - costs 112 Swiss francs on SBB.
Large rail ticket saving found on Italian and Austrian websites
This means, theoretically, a person could book a ticket from Geneva to Feldkirch and choose to alight at any of the stations on that route (Bern, Zurich, Sargans and Buchs, for example) and still benefit from the saving without having to actually travel to Austria, so long as they don't attempt to re-board a train with the same ticket. SBB confirmed that equivalent prices are only possible on their website with a half-fare travel card or GA.
In addition, large savings can be found on the Geneva to Venice route through Trenitalia. Those seeking a bargain holiday can save money by booking through SBB to Domodossola and then using the Italian rail service website to book trains to Venice, where prices for first-class tickets start at just 25 euros.
SBB promises train ticket price comparisons by 2023
Of course, Swiss banks may charge additional fees for using Austrian and Italian websites in Switzerland. In addition, on ÖBB and Trenitalia you have to book to a destination in Austria or Italy in order to get the saving, otherwise the prices are the same.
In a statement to SonntagsBlick, SBB said that they acknowledged the large differences between prices in Switzerland and abroad. To solve the problem, the company said it will launch a new booking platform in 2023, which will allow users to compare rail fares in order to find the best price.