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Covid changes Swiss holiday and transport habits

More people opted for a car over public transport last year. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

A third of Swiss people chose not to travel on holiday last year as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the world, according to automobile association Touring Club Switzerland (TCS).

Of those people who continued to commute to work, a greater proportion opted to get to the office under their own steam rather than take public transport. These are the findings of a TCS survey of 1,297 Swiss residents, which formed part of a larger European mobility survey of 30,000 people.

For those Swiss who did venture away from their homes on holiday, 44% stayed in their home country (compared to 25% in 2019) and only 7% traveled outside Europe (26% in 2019). Despite the drop in long-distance travellers, the Swiss were more adventurous than their European counterparts. Across the continent, 40% did not take a holiday at all (double from 2019) while only 2% went further afield than a neighbouring country.

Lockdown rules in many countries have required many employees to work from home wherever possible. For people who continued to travel to work, 61% in Switzerland did so privately – mainly by car.

Appetite for public transport fell considerably in Switzerland and Europe. The Swiss Federal Railways stated in September that it had transported a third fewer people in the first half of 2020 (more than 800,000) than the same period in 2019.

Most people swapped the train or bus for a car, but there was also an increase in the proportion of commuters who used a bicycle or their own two legs to get to work.

The Swiss government imposed lockdown measures and travel restrictions last spring, which were relaxed in the summer before being reimposed in stages between October and January of this year.

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