Léman Express, the biggest cross-border regional rail network in Europe, pulls in some 25,000 passengers a day – half its projected target.
But according to Mario Werren, director general of Lémanis SA, the Franco-Swiss firm operating the new network, the number of passengers using the cross-border network between Switzerland and France is above expectations.
Werren told reporters on Monday that he was positively surprised by the uptake from passengers, which he had expected to be slower.
Launched on December 15, Léman Express comprises 45 stations and 230 kilometres of track and extends into canton Vaud in Switzerland and the Haute-Savoie and Ain regions in France.
The authorities hope it will attract 50,000 passengers a day and slash road traffic by 12% in the Greater Geneva region.
Geneva officials say it is too early to assess the impact of Léman Express on commuting and on other forms of transport, such as cars.
Meanwhile, the launch of the new network has been hit by strikes in France. Rail workers, teachers, doctors, lawyers and others have taken part in 46 days of nationwide protests and strikes to denounce President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to overhaul the pension system. The strikes have hit transport networks the hardest.
Small technical problems relating to the rolling stock have also affected Léman Express, local officials said. Werren admitted trains sometimes had limited compartments and passenger space at rush hours. A full service, with all six lines, will be available from Wednesday.
Werren said improvements would also be made to signs at stations and information inside the trains.