How do I get around in Switzerland?

How do I get around in Switzerland?
Swiss mobility

You have been living in Switzerland for some time now and are wondering what means of transport will best suit your needs?

Major Swiss cities such as Zurich, Geneva and Basel are not immune to recurring traffic jams which add to the length of time spent in a car. That is why Switzerland, like other European countries, favours public transport above all other means of transport.

Public transport

picto train

Train

One of the fastest and most reliable ways to travel throughout Switzerland.

The Swiss rail network is very well connected throughout the country. It allows you to travel from Geneva to Zurich on an Intercity train in about 2 hours and 40 minutes.

You should easily find a train station close enough to your workplace to make it easy for you to get there.

picto bus

Bus and tramway

When your home and workplace are only a few kilometres away, the easiest option is to travel by bus or tram.

This type of transport varies from one canton to another and is constantly being improved. To find out about transport networks and costs, contact the transport company in your canton of residence and/or work directly.

Travel pass

The cost of travel in Switzerland is significantly higher than in other European countries. Happily there are travel passes adapted to your type of use:

  • The SBB general pass offers unlimited travel for one year throughout Switzerland by train, tram, bus and even boat.
  • Annual regional passes give you access to a limited transport area, e.g. the Unireso for the greater Geneva area. This type of travel pass is suitable for daily commutes between your home and the workplace. It is also less expensive than a general travel pass.
  • The SBB half-fare travel pass entitles you to a discount on all means of transport in Switzerland.
jungfraujoch
One of the most incredible rail destinations is the Jungfraujoch. The train station stands at an altitude of 3,454 metres and is the highest in Europe.
picto bicycle

Bicycle

Today, bicycle paths make it completely safe to cross a city. Choosing this type of means of transport has many benefits. Indeed, given the level of road traffic, it remains the simplest (no need for parking), fastest and cheapest means of transport.

See cycle paths in Switzerland

picto scooter

Scooter and motorbike

These very fast, agile vehicles are becoming increasingly visible on Swiss roads. They are attractive in terms of cost and travel time. You can cover long distances independently at a lower cost. However, they are probably the most dangerous means of transport for the driver.

Car

Switzerland's major cities are not immune to traffic jams. You are advised to use your car only if you have no other choice.

An attractive alternative is to do without cars completely and use the services of car sharing companies such as Mobility or Catch a car.

The cantonal department of motor vehicles

Each canton has its own department of motor vehicles from which you can obtain your vehicle's registration document (grey card), driver's licence and licence plates.

Driver’s licence

When you move to Switzerland, you have 12 months to exchange your driver's licence for a Swiss driver’s licence.

Useful tips

Depending on your choice of transport, you can benefit from discounts or subsidies, e.g. purchasing an electric vehicle. To find out more see the Swiss Federal Office of Energy website sfoe - financial benefits for efficient vehicles

Useful links

SBB: https://www.sbb.ch
Greater Geneva transport network: https://www.unireso.com
Geneva public transport: http://www.tpg.ch
Basel public transport: https://www.bvb.ch
Zurich public transport system: https://www.zuerich.com
Gentle mobility: https://www.schweizmobil.ch
Vaud public transport: https://www.mobilis-vaud.ch
Neuchâtel public transport: https://www.transn.ch

population mobility stats
This article contains links to third-party websites. These links are provided solely as information and their purpose is not to promote subscription to the products offered by Crédit Agricole, which has no commercial links with the owners of these sites. This information should not be considered as advice – financial, fiscal, or otherwise.

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