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Coronavirus hits Swiss train passenger numbers

Waiting for departure in Olten, northwestern Switzerland. (© Keystone / Peter Klaunzer)

The number of people taking trains in Switzerland has fallen since the outbreak of the coronavirus, resulting in a huge financial hit, Swiss Federal Railways reported on Tuesday.

The number of passengers across Switzerland has fallen by 10-20%, while the number of people travelling to Italy has dropped by 90% and those going to France has fallen by 60% compared to before the virus broke out, it said.

The Federal Railways is therefore losing CHF500,000 a day, it said.

Worldwide, over 114,300 cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in 111 countries and territories, causing the death of 4,026 people, according to a Reuters tally. Switzerland, meanwhile, recorded a third death on Tuesday due to Covid-19, an 80-year-old woman in Ticino. The number of infections crossed the 300 mark on Monday.

Bumper 2019

The coronavirus news came as the state-owned firm announced record figures for 2019. Last year the Federal Railways carried a total of 1.3 million passengers a day – 6% more than in 2018. It sold 124 million tickets – 15% more than in 2018 – and for the first time over half of all tickets were bought online. A total of 8.8 million reduced-price “supersaver” tickets were sold.

The number of people buying annual or half-price season passes also rose. Around 3.2 million passengers have one of these passes, or around 50% of the population.

The Federal Railways said fewer trains arrived on time (89.5%) last year, but overall customer satisfaction rose for both passenger journeys and freight. Overall the company recorded a net profit of CHF463 million in 2019 (-18% compared to 2018).

Full story here
About Swissinfo
SWI – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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