New Zurich riverboats to be refitted after wave of criticism from tourists

New Zurich riverboats to be refitted after wave of criticism from tourists

After arriving to much fanfare in April, the three brand-new electric riverboats used to take passengers up and down the Limmat in Zurich have already begun to outstay their welcome. According to 20 Minuten, Zürichsee-Schifffahrtsgesellschaft (ZSG) - the main public transport operator on the canton’s lakes and rivers - has promised a refit of the new Limmat ships after a hailstorm of complaints from passengers. 

New Zurich riverboats take the sight out of sightseeing

Speaking to SRF, ZSG director Roman Knecht admitted that “a lot of negative feedback” had been received from passengers regarding the three new riverboats in Zurich. Specifically, they complained that it’s near-impossible to see out of the three electric, air-conditioned ships, which run the summer tourist riverboat service between the Landesmuseum and Zürichhorn on Lake Zurich.

“The new ships may be great. Unfortunately, the benches have been rearranged lengthways and are much too deep. Therefore, it is hardly possible to see outside - this is particularly bad for short people,” one reviewer told 20 Minuten. “Either the seats are too low or the side windows are too high. If you sit in the ship, you can only see the Uetliberg chain or the sky," wrote another.

ZSG acknowledges criticism regarding new Limmat boats

According to the newspaper, the issues have been caused by the new Disability Equality Act passed by the government and the EU, which requires that minimum headroom in commuter ships be raised from 1,85 metres to 1,95. As the Limmat ships still need to be able to make it under the city's low bridges, the rule makes the seating deeper, making it harder to see through the windows. This is also not helped by the side seating - a measure required in order to fit the electric engines.

Passengers also complained that the new air conditioning doesn’t actually work that well and that none of the windows can be opened to compensate. The total cost of all this success? “Fluvius, Navalis and Pontus” cost the city 6,8 million francs.

Fluvius, Navalis and Pontus to be refitted

Now, Knecht has told SRF that they are looking to refit the new Limmat ships to make them more appealing to tourists and commuters. While they were unable to say how the issues may be resolved, some of the changes will likely involve raising the seating or expanding the windows. They will also look to fix the air conditioning but have so far failed to provide details as to how this would be achieved.

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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