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  • Writer's pictureWalter Ponce

Public transport in Switzerland

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

One of the major concerns when it comes to traveling to Switzerland is transportation, and I believe I already know what comes to mind first. The railroads! They are without a doubt important representatives of Swiss culture thanks to their reliability, friendliness, and thoughtfully planned connections that make it possible for us to travel the entire nation by train.


In spite of the fact that many towns and cities in Switzerland are located in areas where public transportation is accessible, the population still uses a lot of it.


I am going to focus on Public transport in Switzerland in this article, and I'm going to explain how the Swiss commute, what passes are available, and what the costs are. Let's go in detail regarding public transport in Switzerland.

As I previously mentioned, the main mode of transportation in Switzerland is the train. They stand out for their excessive punctuality, fantastic service, and exceptionally well-kept train stations, especially in the biggest cities. They are more expensive than in the rest of Europe, like most services in Switzerland; it is also important to note that they offer fantastic service.


Buses are the main players in regional geographies; they are primarily used for intra-city travel, and the cantons (or provinces as they are known in Switzerland) also provide passes for regional transportation.


I'll start by introducing you to the #SWISSPASS.

The Swiss Pass is a laminated card that one can use to carry all of the available transportation passes. Since it functions as a form of identification for transportation in Switzerland, it is incredibly useful. From a local subscription to a national subscription, every subscription I have is saved on that card.


If there is a ticket control, you will be asked to present your pass, which will then be scanned by an electronic device to read your data and any season tickets you may have. It is automatically loaded into the Swiss Pass, even if specific tickets for a trip are purchased online. No need to provide a purchase receipt or something like that.


Any train station's CFF office or swisspass.ch can be visited to make a purchase. In order to obtain it, you must present an identity document, a 4x4 photo card, and, if applicable (and if you are not a Swiss citizen), a residence permit. Almost all train stations have photo booths where you can take the required photos for CHF 8.


You can get the Swiss Pass if you already have any kind of transportation pass. Other excellent advantages include transportation discounts from neighboring nations, parking discounts at train stations, and even the ability to pay with a Swiss Pass card. If you want to use your account to pay for transportation, you can charge money to it just like a bank account.


National transportation passes:

Annual subscription: This subscription grants you unrestricted use of all trains and buses in Switzerland, including all schedules and routes. Prices vary depending on your age, whether you choose first class or second class, and you can even subscribe your dog. A second class pass for adults costs about CHF 3,860 per year, to give you an idea of the cost. That is an average net monthly salary so you can make a comparison.


Demi-tarif pass, also known as a reduced rate, is the pass I had in the past. It is a general pass that can be used on nearly all modes of transportation in Switzerland, including buses, and it offers a 50% discount off the standard rate. For those who occasionally but frequently take the train, it is a very good option. If we compare the cost of the subscription, which is CHF 180 per year for an adult, we see that you could have saved that money by taking three trips to Switzerland. Imagine paying a total of CHF 120 to spend the day in Zurich if a direct train from Neuchâtel to Zurich costs CHF 60 one way and CHF 60 return.


Fixed rout pass: f you commute daily by train, such as if you live in Neuchâtel but work in Lausanne, a fixed route pass can be purchased. An example of this would be if you reside in Neuchâtel but commute daily to Lausanne by train. You can save a lot of money by subscribing because buying the tickets separately would be much more expensive. This subscription's price varies too much depending on the route. But to give you an idea, a monthly ticket takes about 45 minutes and costs between CHF 400 and CHF 500 to travel between Neuchâtel and Lausanne by direct train. It can be bought on a monthly or annual basis.


The 7/25 pass, which is available to those under the age of 25, allows for unlimited travel on all trains and many bus lines between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. It is a fertilizer specifically made for children and teenagers. Young people in Switzerland frequently leave their smaller cities at night to visit friends in the bigger cities. For instance, most teenagers in Neuchâtel spend the evening in Lausanne, one of the most significant cities in French Switzerland and a city renowned for its vibrant nightlife. It costs CHF 390 annually or CHF 39 per month.

Subscription combinable: This subscription enables you to combine your canton's subscription with the national train subscription. For instance, if I take a bus in Neuchâtel to get to the station, then a train to Lausanne, that train is no longer covered by my regional subscription because I am switching cantons. Due to the flexibility of this pass, I might combine it with my regional pass in Neuchâtel, a daily train to Lausanne, and any necessary transportation within Lausanne from the train station. It is a good option if public transportation is utilized frequently each day. Once more, costs greatly vary depending on the routes selected.


Green Class: This fertilizer is incredibly cutting-edge and very Swiss in design. With this subscription, you can use an electric car in addition to public transportation. It's an intriguing subscription because it includes many services for the car, including maintenance, the yearly sticker required for operation, the replacement of the tires for the winter, insurance, and taxes. For instance, if you live in the middle of a mountain where the train does not arrive, you can use your car to get to the station and then take the train to work. This is a good incentive for the Swiss to start using electric cars.


Évasion pass or getaway: With this pass, you have about 20 or 30 days of free travel each year. It is specifically made for people who typically travel over the weekend and take public transportation. That unrestricted day, you must travel throughout Switzerland. If you're one of the people, like me, who enjoys exploring a new location every weekend, it's a great option. The budget stays within reason in this way. You must activate that "transport free day" online or through the Swiss transport company's app before you can use it. The annual cost of the second-class 20-day pass is CHF 900.


Children between the ages of six and sixteen who regularly travel with a responsible adult are eligible for the junior pass, also known as the accompanies child pass. You can use all public transportation at no additional cost for the duration of the subscription year for a cost of CHF 30.


Pass for using a bicycle while traveling on any public transportation system. The pass can be bought on a daily, monthly, or annual basis. A one-year bicycle pass costs CHF 240 as an example.


Recommendations for public transport in Switzerland:

I highly recommend the demi tarif pass or pass with a 50% discount if you plan to travel throughout Switzerland, even if it's only for a short period of time. As I previously mentioned, you can already recoup the cost of the subscription after three trips to various cities. And it's still less expensive if you're under 25.


If you're thinking about visiting Switzerland, don't be afraid to start looking for tickets early to increase your chances of receiving a deal.


If you already know the precise dates you want to travel, it is also crucial to look for day passes in advance; doing so can save you a ton of money.


This is the website's official address: https://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html additionally, you can download the incredibly helpful APP.


If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments section.

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