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MAPS: The best commuter towns when working in Geneva

Many people whose jobs are in Geneva live in nearby communities — either in Switzerland or nearby France. Here are some located within a short commuting distance.

MAPS: The best commuter towns when working in Geneva
Commuting to Geneva from France. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Geneva is kind of an enclave in the southwest extremity of Switzerland, surrounded by the lake on one side, and France and canton of Vaud on the other.

Much of Geneva’s workforce is native – that is, those living in the city itself or the outlying communities of the small canton.

MAPS: The best commuter towns when working in Zurich

But a large number of employees come either from Vaud or France; in the latter case, these commuters are known as cross-border workers.

Figures from Geneva’s statistical office (OCSTAT) indicate that well over 26,000 people commute to work in the city from Vaud, and over 90,000 from the nearby French regions of Haute-Savoie and Ain.

Statistics aside, these are best commuter towns on both sides of the border.

The towns can be seen here. Hover over each blue marking to see the town. Image: Google Maps

Vaud

Nyon

Of the 26,000-plus workers mentioned above, most — nearly 15,000 — come from this small town, according to OCSTAT.

This community of about 22,000 people lies just 30 km from Geneva, making for a short commute by train (10 minutes) and about 20 minutes by the motorway, depending on the time of day and traffic.

Nyon. By Alexey M. – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The commune itself is historic and quaint, with a 500-year-old fortress perched above the town and overlooking Lake Geneva and the Alps.

Because of its proximity to Geneva, rents in Nyon are quite high — not as high as in Geneva itself, but a three-room flat could cost anywhere between 1,200 and 1,600 francs a month.

READ MORE: Why is Geneva’s rent the highest in Switzerland?

Rolle

A bit farther afield than Nyon (35 km) lies another commuter town, Rolle.

With a population of about 5,500, it is much smaller than Nyon, but just as pretty and scenically located along the shores of Lake Geneva.

As it is situated almost at a midpoint between Geneva and Vaud’s capital, Lausanne, Rolle’s residents are likely to commute to either one of these cities.

For those employed in Geneva, the commute takes 25 minutes by train and, depending on traffic, 30 minutes or so by motorway.

Rents, however, are on par with Nyon, possibly because Rolle is conveniently located in proximity to both Geneva and Lausanne, the latter being home to a number of multinational companies and organisations, including Philip Morris, the Federal Polytechnic Institute (EPFL), and International Olympic Committee.

Coppet

With only 10 km separating this tiny town of about 3,000 residents from Geneva, it is just a quick drive to the city (traffic jams notwithstanding) or 11 minutes by regional (RE) train.

The town is mainly known as one of the residences of Madame de Stael, a prominent 18th – 19th-century French aristocrat, whose château still stands.

Coppet Fontaine. By Roland Zumbühl, www.picswiss.ch – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Given its proximity to Geneva, rents in Coppet are quite high, on average upwards of 2,000 for a three to four room apartment.

France

Annemasse

About 41 percent of all cross-border workers in Geneva come from this town of about 36,000 in Haute-Savoie, located only 10 km from Geneva.

The train station at Annemasse. Von NAC – Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A commute takes about 15 minutes by car (in good traffic), seven minutes by train, or 25 minutes by line 17 tram.

Since Annemasse is practically a suburb of Geneva, rents are not cheap — upwards of 900 euros for a three-room flat.  

St-Julien-en-Genevois

A sizeable portion of the town’s population of 16,000 is employed in Geneva, located only 11 km away.

It takes about 15 minutes in good traffic conditions to reach Geneva by car, 27 minutes by train, and half an hour by bus.

Here too, three-room apartments rent for at least 900 euros, and oftentimes more.

Ferney-Voltaire

This community of 10,000 people is so close to Geneva, it is practically adjacent to the Geneva airport.

A drive takes about 12 minutes and a bus 20 minutes.

Housing costs here are the highest of the two other commuter towns — monthly rents for two rooms exceed 1,000 euros.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why are major Swiss cities so expensive?

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LIVING IN SWITZERLAND

How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Zurich legally

Got an unwanted mattress, fridge or sofa? Here’s how you can legally get it off your hands in Zurich.

How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Zurich legally

If you’ve bought a new piece of furniture in Zurich or a mattress, you may be faced with the problem of what to do with the old one. 

This is particularly the case in cities like Zurich, where space is at a premium and you may not be able to kit out your spare room with the old furniture. 

While there are waste disposal centres, even getting there without a car can be a problem. 

One man’s trash…

First things first, think about whether you really need to get rid of the thing in question. 

While you may not want it, there may be someone out there willing to take it off your hands – particularly if you aren’t going to charge them. 

The first point of call is to ask your friends and colleagues if they’re interested, with social media the perfect place to ask around. 

If you live in an apartment complex, you might try placing the item in a common area with a note saying “zu verschenken” (to give away) or ‘gratis’ (free). 

After that, there are several online options like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Free Your Stuff Zurich, Ricardo, Anibis, Craig’s List and Tutti. 

Some of these sites will charge a fee – even if you’re giving something away – so be sure to read the fine print first. 

Another option is to donate the goods to a charity organisation. They will usually charge you money to pick it up and prices can vary dramatically. 

Caritas charge CHF35 per 100kg plus transport costs, while Sozialwerk Pfarrer Sieber will pick up small items of furniture for a flat fee, although you’ll need to send them pictures first before they give you a quote. 

Can I put old furniture on the street in Zurich? 

Although less common than many other European cities, occasionally you will see furniture out on the street in front of homes and apartment blocks in Zurich. 

While it might clutter up the sidewalk, it is technically not illegal – provided you only do so for a maximum of 24 hours. 

You also need to make sure it doesn’t block cars, bikes or pedestrians. If it does – or if you leave it out for longer – you risk a fine.

Entsorgungstram: Zurich’s recycling and waste disposal tram

One option is the Entsorgungstram, a mobile recycling centre on rails for all Zurich residents. 

This tram weaves its way through several parts of Zurich, picking up old bulky waste including electrical devices and furniture. 

If you are lucky to live near an Entsorgungstram line, just check the timetable and bring your waste items along to meet the tram. 

There are some rules, as laid out by the Zurich council. 

“The delivered items must not be longer than 2.5 meters (exception: sofa/upholstered furniture can be no longer than 2 meters) and no heavier than 40 kilograms per item. Separate the material beforehand according to its composition: flammable, large metal and landfill”. 

Unfortunately, only pedestrians and cyclists can use this service, i.e. you cannot drive from elsewhere and deposit the stuff. 

More information including route details can be found at the following link. 

Regular waste disposal

Your next option is to see whether you can get rid of it in your usual waste disposal. 

This being Switzerland, there are a lot of rules about what the waste management company will take and will not. 

If you’re throwing away a mirror, for instance, you cannot put that with your other glass waste and will need to dispose of it elsewhere. 

On the other hand, they may take things like carpets and mattresses – although you’ll need to pay a bit extra. 

The exact rules will depend on your municipality, but generally speaking you will need to buy additional waste stickers – which cost money. 

In Zurich itself, every household receives four coupons for disposal of waste (up to 100kg) each. 

When you run out of coupons, you’ll need to pay by the kilo. 

You’ll still need to bring it to the waste disposal facility, or pay a pick up fee of around CHF80. 

This may sound steep, but they do come to your home and pick it up – which will likely be cheaper than a rental car or van. 

In Winterthur, you will need to buy stickers for CHF1.80 from the council, with each sticker letting you dispose of 10kg of waste. 

Check with the retailer where you bought the new item

One option offered by furniture sellers is to buy your old furniture or whitegoods or accept them as a trade in. 

While this is likely to be more common with second hand retailers who might see potential in your unwanted item, it is also a service offered by retailers who only sell new goods. 

One example is Ikea, who will take your old mattress, furniture or electronic device and recycle it. 

This service is available at Ikea outlets for a cost of CHF10 each. 

It is also available when you get something new delivered, although you must pre-book so the driver can be sure to set aside enough space. 

This will cost you CHF80 for furniture, or CHF50 for electronic devices and mattresses. Keep in mind that (at least with Ikea) this service is only available when you buy something new. 

Several other furniture companies offer a similar service, including Schubiger Möbel, Möbel Pfister and Conforama.  

Electrical item retails will often take your old electrical goods for recycling, whether these are small like iPhones or large like fridges and washing machines. 

More information about which goods can be recycled and how in Switzerland is available at the following link. 

Moving companies

Removalist companies are another option – whether you are moving house or not. 

If you are moving house then a disposal service may be included in the overall fees. 

If not, you can still contact the company and get the item taken off your hands. 

While different companies will charge different amounts, you’ll usually pay per 100kg rather than per item, which can be a better (or worse) option than contacting the local council. 

Swiss comparison site Comparis has detailed info about how to find a moving company here

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