Public transport use still low despite corona easing 

An almost empty train, as seen on June 8 in Zurich © Keystone / Christian Beutler

Despite older pupils being allowed back to school last Monday as part of the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures, trains and buses remain only half full, transport companies say. 

This content was published on June 12, 2020 - 18:14

Passenger numbers have increased very gradually, and currently stand at around 55% of normal capacity in regional trains and 45% on intercity trains, Swiss Federal Railways spokesman Frédéric Revaz told the Swiss news agency Keystone-SDA. 

At the height of the pandemic, passenger volume dropped by 90%. 

Post Bus – the yellow buses seen on many Swiss roads – also said that passenger numbers were well down compared with before the coronavirus crisis, but were slowly picking up. 

The only exceptions were tourist routes that were popular during Whitsun and Ascension holidays in May, said spokesman Urs Bloch. 

There was also an 80-90% drop in passenger numbers at Post Bus during March and April, the company added. Now the buses are about half full. 

Older pupils at non-compulsory schools (age 15-16 onwards) have been allowed back to school since June 8, however many cantons (who are in charge of educational matters in Switzerland) have opted to send pupils back part-time. Younger pupils have been allowed back to school since May 11.

Masks on public transport  

Only a small minority of people are wearing protective face masks on public transport – it is recommended when busy but not obligatory in Switzerland. Post Bus reckons it’s around 5%; the federal railways did not give a number. 

On Friday, the latest opinion poll carried out by the Sotomo research institute found that only people in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland – bordering northern Italy, a hotbed of Covid-19 in Europe – are strongly in favour of masks on public transport. The French-speaking part of Switzerland also supports this but to a lesser extent.  The German-speaking region is narrowly against the wearing of masks in trains and buses. 

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