How public transport passengers in Switzerland can get compensated for delays

How public transport passengers in Switzerland can get compensated for delays
You are entitled to compensaton for late trains. Photo by SBB
Swiss trains, buses, and trams are normally very punctual. But what kind of recourse do passengers have in case of major delays?

From January 1st, 2021, a new set of passenger rights went into effect in Switzerland, entitling  travellers to compensation for delays of over one hour.

Until the end of June, a total of 74,000 francs was paid to 7,000 public transport users who suffered excessive delays, according to the SwissPass Alliance, an umbrella group for over 250 public transportation companies in Switzerland. 

 Delays longer than an hour will entitle passengers to 25 percent of the fare. 

And If the delay is longer than two hours, passengers will be entitled to 50 percent of the fare. 

Rules specify that passengers can only claim  compensation if the ticket price is above five francs. 

All passengers will be compensated, including those who have bought tickets for the journey and those who have monthly or yearly tickets travel passes. 

A maximum of 10 percent of the value of the subscription (per year or per month) can be claimed. 

READ MORE: Swiss rail travel: What compensation you are entitled to if your train is cancelled?

So how do you go about claiming compensation?

It’s very easy, especially since the SwissPass site where you can request a refund is in four languages, including English.

There you have to click on the duration of the delay, and then fill out all the relevant information about your delayed journey. Make sure to keep your tickets and anything else that will help you prove your case.

How long before you get your money back?

Requests are processed within 20 hours, according to SwissPass.

“A significant part of the work could be automated, which made it possible to validate the payments on average only 20 hours after the submission of the request”, the company said.

How punctual are Swiss trains, really?

The most recent data we have to go on is evidence from 2014.

The Swiss became aghast that their rail system was “failing” due to official reports that only 87.5 percent of the trains arrived within three minutes of their scheduled time, down from the government’s 89 percent target. 

Make of it what you will, but it recalls the commonly said maxim “anyone who thinks Germans are punctual hasn’t met a Swiss”. 

READ MORE: ‘The pleasure of punctuality’: Why are the Swiss so obsessed with being on time?

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