A pilot project is testing whether Swiss trains will be more punctual across the network if they do not wait for delayed connecting trains, as sometimes occurs.
Swiss Federal Railwaysexternal link said past research had shown that when trains waited less to pick up passengers from a connecting late train, punctuality improves everywhere.
During the pilot, trains will not be held. Tests began this month and will continue until mid-December on weekday trains going between Bern, Basel and Zurich. If trains taking part are more punctual, the Federal Railways will decide in 2016 how much extra time a connecting train should be allowed to wait.
The numbers of passengers helped by this service are small, according to the railways spokeswoman, Franziska Frey, but it does have a knock-on effect for the majority of passengers. “For the many travellers who are already on a train, this delay could lead to new delays and cause them to miss other connections.”
Pro Bahn, the Swiss association of railway travellers, agrees that passenger numbers who are late for a corresponding train are in the minority but does ask that intercity trains continue to wait a few minutes when another train is late.
In July it was announced that 87.7% of passengers reached their destination within three minutes of the advertised time, up from 87.5% the previous year, and cementing Swiss trains’ reputation as the most punctual in Europe.
But Swiss Railways failed to hit the stated goal of 89% punctuality. In 2011, the figure hit 89.8%.
swissinfo.ch and agencies