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The Swiss travel system explained

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Coming from a different country, like us, and experiencing the Swiss transport system for the first time is truly something unique.

Nothing can really prepare you for the ease, and the freedom it gives you as a regular person on the street. The Swiss transportation system is in fact so good, that many people who could afford more luxurious means of transport, actually choose to take things like the Swiss trains and trams due to the convenience and safety factor.

The Swiss travel system is an integrated public transportation network in Switzerland and is at the core of how this country runs so efficiently.

As a newbie, to effectively use it, follow these steps:

  1. Plan your trip: Check the Swiss timetable for train, bus, and boat schedules and plan your route. Planning is made even easier with great companion apps (and fair prices), like the SBB app.

  2. Get a pass: Consider getting a Swiss Travel Pass for unlimited travel on trains, buses, and boats. It can be purchased online or in Switzerland.
    1. If you travel frequently for work or have a daily commute, the GA pass would be perfect for you.
    2. If you're an infrequent traveler, something like the Half Fare card might be more suited. This pass is uber cheap and will mean all trips for a while year is 50% off
  3. Do not forget your ticket. Switzerland's public transport relies on your honesty. If you're honest, it's a great experience, if you free ride, you will probably be caught eventually, and the fines are quite extreme. The best way to get your ticket will be one of the following:
    1. Get the app for your local provider, such as SBB. This is a game-changer in the modern world. Your app will allow you to get any ticket at any time. If you buy tickets early enough, you could even get discounts, or an "easy ride", which will use location tracking to calculate the cheapest fare for your current trip.
    2. If you are app adverse, before boarding, buy your ticket at a yellow machine found at train stations and other transportation hubs.
    3. If there is no machine at the stop, your bus for that route will probably have a machine onboard
  4. Board the correct vehicle & cart.
    1. Check your ticket and app for your class. Sitting in first class when you only bought a second class is obviously a no as well and will get you fined too 😂

There are also some unwritten rules for riding on Swiss trains, which is good to take note of if you want to blend in with the locals:

  1. Respect reserved seats: If a seat is reserved with a sign, do not sit in it unless it is specifically reserved for you.
  2. Give priority to others: Offer your seat to elderly, pregnant, or disabled passengers, and to those carrying heavy luggage.
  3. Keep quiet: Avoid making loud noises or using loud music, and respect the quiet environment on the train.
  4. Mind your belongings: Keep your belongings close to you, if needed make sure your bag doesn't take up a seat in a packed train.
  5. Don't eat smelly food: Avoid eating smelly food, especially in quiet carriages, as it can be unpleasant for other passengers.
  6. Don't block the aisle: Do not block the aisle with luggage, as it can make it difficult for other passengers to move around the train.
  7. Keep the train clean: Dispose of trash properly, and do not leave litter behind on the train.

If you keep the above in mind you'll be taking the Swiss public transport like a seasoned pro, and the whole country will be open to you to explore! Enjoy 🇨🇭 😊

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