Integrated public transport in Switzerland

What I am most impressed with is the transportation system. Someone must’ve had just one use case – I should be able to buy a ticket to go from place A to place B. That’s what they implemented – a point-to-point ticket, it really doesn’t matter whether you take a bus, train, tram, boat or cable car.

Polybahn in Zurich
Polybahn in Zurich

Not that there is a single operating company, they have figured out how to share revenues without hassling commuters. The time-table is so well planned that you will find a connection within just a few minutes. And its reliable too. We’d check the timings using the mobile app, and leave just 1 minute short, and never miss.

A typical display
A typical display

All indicators display the wait time taking away the need to synchronize watches – its so well thought. Trains always leave on the full minute, and all clocks at a railway station run synchronously to avoid confusion. In fact, the second hand circles the face in 58.5 seconds, pauses until it receives an electrical impulse from a central master clock at each full minute, and then completes the minute.

The Rhine @ Basel
Water transport is also integrated – The Rhine passing Basel

The public transport challenge in India is one that of scale. Everything works great for a few thousand people, but we’re talking no less than few millions in every Indian city. An integrated ticketing system was attempted by a private company, but it never took off. After a decade’s wait, we just got our first metro line in Mumbai. I’m sure if all lines are developed as per plan and in time, we won’t be far from a great transport network.

Read more about pristine and picturesque Switzerland.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.