Coronavirus hits Swiss train passenger numbers

Waiting for departure in Olten, northwestern Switzerland. © Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

The number of people taking trains in Switzerland has fallen since the outbreak of the coronavirus, resulting in a huge financial hit, Swiss Federal Railways reported on Tuesday.

This content was published on March 10, 2020

The number of passengers across Switzerland has fallen by 10-20%, while the number of people travelling to Italy has dropped by 90% and those going to France has fallen by 60% compared to before the virus broke out, it said.

The Federal Railways is therefore losing CHF500,000 a day, it said.

Worldwide, over 114,300 cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in 111 countries and territories, causing the death of 4,026 people, according to a Reuters tally. Switzerland, meanwhile, recorded a third death on Tuesday due to Covid-19, an 80-year-old woman in Ticino. The number of infections crossed the 500 mark on Tuesday.

Bumper 2019

The coronavirus news came as the state-owned firm announced record figures for 2019. Last year the Federal Railways carried a total of 1.3 million passengers a day – 6% more than in 2018. It sold 124 million tickets – 15% more than in 2018 – and for the first time over half of all tickets were bought online. A total of 8.8 million reduced-price “supersaver” tickets were sold.

The number of people buying annual or half-price season passes also rose. Around 3.2 million passengers have one of these passes, or around 50% of the population.

The Federal Railways said fewer trains arrived on time (89.5%) last year, but overall customer satisfaction rose for both passenger journeys and freight. Overall the company recorded a net profit of CHF463 million in 2019 (-18% compared to 2018).

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Weekly top stories

Keep up to date with the best stories from SWI on a range of topics, straight into your mailbox.


The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.