The national railway operator, Swiss Federal Railways, has set up a taskforce to look into train punctuality - currently 90.1% - after the rate slipped slightly last year.
News of the taskforce was broken by CH-Media groupexternal link and confirmed by the Federal Railwaysexternal link to the Swiss public broadcaster SRFexternal link. The rail group, made up of experienced management members, is to report back in six weeks’ time.
The state-owned company’s 2018 punctuality rate of 90.1%external link is a high rate in Europe - in neighbouring Germany it is 76.5% - but it has dropped by 0.1%external link on 2017. Some parts of the network have been experiencing more delays: in autumn 2018 there were periods when one in four trains were late on the Zurich-Bern line.
Spokesman Raffael Hirt told SRF on Thursday that the group would not only look into improving train punctuality, but also into “how we can better inform people about punctuality”.
The company is also concerned that usage of the network – which it saysexternal link is the densest and most heavily used worldwide – will continue to increase and that construction and maintenance work will add to delays.
“It is a challenge even to keep to the current punctuality rate. It’ll require efforts to improve this rate,” Hirt said.
There is also public pressure. In February a private website, launched in 2017 and compiled from data provided by the transport ministry, said that on average one in six intercity trains – or just under 84% - operated by the Federal Railways is late. That is, it arrives at its destination with a delay of at least three minutes.