Switzerland’s train ticket subscriptions suggest long commutes may well become the new normal. For the first time, more than half a million Swiss have an unlimited travelcard, Switzerland’s Direct Transport Tariff Association announced.
The 500,000th owner of the GA travelcardexternal link – which costs CHF6,300 ($6,340) first class and CHF3,860 second class a year – was presented with a free first-class pass on Thursday as a “thank you to all customers for their loyalty”.
The GA gives them free travel on a route network spanning more than 160 transport companies. This includes unlimited travel on the Swiss Federal Railways and trains of most other railways, as well as boats, buses and trams. There are also discounts on many mountain railways.
The number of GA cardholders has increased twentyfold over the past two decades, according to the association, with an average increase of 10,000 new users a year. Every 17th person living in Switzerland has a GA travel card.
Switzerland has one of the densest rail systems in the world and takes great pride in the punctuality of its public transport systems. It is not unusual for someone to live in one city and work in another.
The cost of train travel is on the rise - triggering protest from passengers. The GA itself has doubled in price over 30 years.