Swiss public transport given good marks for cost-effectiveness

Travelling within cities is good value in Switzerland Keystone

Using public transport infrequently in Switzerland is expensive, but thanks to new special offers such as “early bird” rates Switzerland does well when it comes to value for money, according to an international study. 

This content was published on August 14, 2018

“Travelling by train, bus or boat is expensive in Switzerland,” is a common refrain among Swiss people – and especially tourists. But this is partially disproved by the third price comparison study, published on Tuesday by the information service for public transport (LITRAExternal link) and ch-directExternal link.

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It concluded that Switzerland has an “excellent” price-performance ratio. Compared with the other countries examined (Italy, Germany, France, Austria, the Netherlands and Britain), it scores well – in particular thanks to its extensive network and range of offers, not to mention “excellent punctuality”.

Regarding cost, Switzerland lay in the middle of the field, although not all customers are equal. Those with frequent-travel cards enjoy greater savings and travelling within cities and from the city to the countryside is also good value. Relatively expensive, on the other hand, are one-way trips within Switzerland, especially in metropolitan areas and between two cities.

Jeannine Pilloud, president of ch-direct, said the branch was working on improving its price-performance ratio. Rates for infrequent travellers and certain groups needed to be lowered and the situation needed to be simplified for new customers, she said.

For commuters travelling from Bern to Zurich (83km), it pays to invest in an annual pass costing CHF3,860 ($3,873). In comparison, commuters going from Amsterdam to Eindhoven (106km) would only break even after buying a pass worth CHF7,518.

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