Big reductions in Swiss public transport services

A Zurich-bound train in St Gallen on Monday morning. Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

Swiss public transport has been widely reduced as of Monday, with the Federal Railways cutting back on services as part of nationwide anti-coronavirus measures.

This content was published on March 23, 2020 - 10:37
Keystone-SDA/dos

The scaling back of Europe’s most-used rail network in an effort to combat the spread of Covid-19 was announced last week as part of wider measures to reduce social contact and slow down the pace of life in the country.

As of Monday, the density of services on various major intercity lines has been reduced, while some smaller connecting lines will be scrapped altogether. Federal Railways boss Andreas Meyer called it the biggest timetable change in the network’s history.

Some cross-border routes have also been affected, including the newly inaugurated Léman Express line connecting Geneva, in southwestern Switzerland, and surrounding France.

More changes and reductions in services are planned for Thursday March 26. In the meantime, timetables are being updated by 8:00 pm the previous evening on the network’s website.

The scaling back, which also affects local bus and tram networks across the country, is a proactive measure taken under the country’s anti-coronavirus strategy. It coincides with plummeting demand as many people now work from home, if at all.

Passenger numbers were estimated to have dropped by up to 20% in the first week of March.  On Monday, the Keystone-SDA agency said this figure could reach 80%.

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