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Swiss trains the most expensive in Europe



The following study shows that Switzerland’s trains are the most expensive in Europe. Effectively many tourists are shocked by the high Swiss prices. But there are objections:

  • Nearly all Swiss train commuters possess either a half fare ticket or a monthly or yearly public transport ticket for their way to work. This reduces the high prices heavily.
  • Moreover, the Swiss trains are the quickest and most punctual.
  • For a big part of commuters the time is not lost, because they can use the time for work or for mobile communication with their friends, given that 3G or 4G networks cover the most important train routes.



Ticket machines in Switzerland ©

Ticket machines in Switzerland ©

A study by GoEuro, compares the cost of travelling 100km by train. Switzerland led the ranking with the most costly train trips in Europe. Travelling 100km in Switzerland cost CHF 52.

The study is based on the prices of 300 million domestic train journeys across Europe between April 2015 and April 2016.

The price differences are significant. In Ukraine (40th), the cheapest, a 100km train trip costs less than CHF 2. Even countries near the top, like second placed UK (CHF 26) and third placed Holland (CHF 24) were well behind Switzerland on cost. The UK is 51% cheaper than Switzerland, according to the survey’s figures.

Currency plays a big part in the difference. Ukraine’s currency has declined in value against the Euro by 76% over the last 8 years, while Switzerland’s strengthened by 45% over the same period.

What happens if exchange rate movements are factored in? Even after factoring in the rise of the Swiss franc, Swiss train prices are still ahead of the UK by around 30%.


Swiss Half-Fare Card pays out after 8 trips

It seems the only sure way to reduce the price gap is to use a Swiss Rail half fare travel card. A one year card costs CHF 185. Based on GoEuro’s prices, a half fare travel card pays for itself after eight 100km trips. The full-price ticket Bern to Zurich is at 50 CHF, roughly 100 km, while the half-fare costs 25 CHF.

Prices in Neighbour countries

Switzerland’s neighbours all came in cheaper. In France (5th) a 100km train trip cost CHF 19.28, in Austria (8th) it cost CHF 14.46, in Germany (9th) it cost CHF 14.14, and in Italy (10th) it cost CHF 13.46.


Country Average Price for Trains (€) Average Price for Buses (€) Average Price for Flights (€) Overall Average Price (€)
1 Switzerland 47.44 16.33 29.73 31.17
4 United Kingdom 23.44 13.59 36 24.34
8 Netherlands 21.86 14 17.93
9 Belgium 20.54 10.98 15.76
11 France 17.59 4.78 14.74 12.37
2 Denmark 15.9 11.93 54.72 27.52
13 Spain 13.74 8.2 12 11.31
6 Austria 12.92 9.26 42.36 21.51
12 Germany 12.9 5.33 18.31 12.18
15 Italy 12.28 5.7 14.84 10.94
14 Norway 9.1 9.35 14.78 11.08
5 Finland 9 13 50.01 24
19 Slovenia 8.85 8.05 8.45
23 Portugal 8.13 6.2 8.01 7.45
10 Greece 7.02 7.74 22.63 12.46
17 Ireland 7 3.92 19.91 10.28
16 Croatia 6.56 3.38 21.15 10.36
28 Hungary 5.91 5 5.46
30 Bosnia and Herzegovina 5.85 5 5.43
32 Estonia 5.53 4.67 5.1
21 Sweden 5 5.41 13.05 7.82

Train prices in Sweden are very cheap, compared to the high salary level. Apparently they are subsidized by the state.

The Swiss use the train more than others

High prices haven’t dampened Swiss enthusiasm for trains. A survey published late last year showed that Swiss residents covered more distance by train than any other nation in 2014. The average distance covered was 2,288km, more than double the distance travelled by an average Brit.




More on this:
GoEuro survey (in English)

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