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Swiss railways bank on e-ticketing

Travellers will be able to use their mobile phones to order tickets Keystone

Switzerland’s Federal Railways has announced plans to sell tickets over the mobile phone network next year.

This content was published on November 15, 2004 - 10:28

Railway boss Benedikt Weibel told the “Tages-Anzeiger” newspaper that the system could allow for the introduction of differentiated pricing.

According to Weibel, travellers will be able to buy their tickets by sending an SMS - indicating their departure station and destination - to a special number. They will then receive a message that can be used as a ticket.

Weibel said that using mobile phone technology for ticket sales would offer new opportunities. But he also suggested that prices might vary in the future according to the time of day and when the sale was made.

Weibel added that the railways price structure could be modelled along the lines used by low-cost airlines and telephone companies.

He said that for the time being the current pricing system, which guarantees access to all trains, would remain in place.

Internet

The Federal Railways introduced full-blown sales via internet last week. Customers can now print their own tickets at home.

Previously, travellers could only order their tickets on the web, which were then delivered by mail up to three days later.

Under the new system, customers must pay using a credit card before the ticket data is sent to them. They can then print out the ticket on a standard sheet of paper.

To travel with the ticket, they must show conductors an identification card, since internet passes are attributed to one person.

Other improvements are on the cards for travellers. Connections will be announced on board the Federal Railways’ newest trains.

Weibel could not say whether all the rolling stock would be upgraded, but he did promise that advertising would not be broadcast on trains.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The Swiss Federal Railways carries around 250 million passengers per year and 55 million tonnes of freight.

Its trains travel 12 million kilometres every year.

The railways are introducing a new timetable on December 12, which will see faster and more frequent services across an expanded network.

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