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Ageing society Slower Swiss rail service for seniors

A rapidly ageing Swiss society is presenting a new challenge for Swiss railways. The authorities may have to re-think the clockwork precision of the network, which often allows little time for people – insufficient for many seniors - to get off one train and onto the next. (SRF/

A study by the Federal Office of Transport has concluded that the average speed of passengers moving through stations will be a third slower within 15 years. By the year 2030, the segment of over 65-year olds will increase by more than 64 per cent.

How can public transport adapt? According to the Federal Office of Transport, the costs of longer waiting times are too great. And any extensions would completely alter the current system of synchronized timetables. 

There could be other solutions such as improved sign posting or putting larger doors on the trains. The Swiss Federal Railways says the amount of time between trains today depends on each individual station, rather than looking at train connections. This could be adapted in future. 

An ageing society is forcing the transport authorities and companies to rethink the system – to keep with the slower pace of a growing number of passengers.

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