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Swiss trains pilot ticketless fare system

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Swiss trains pilot ticketless fare system
The new system could come into force in 2025. Photo: SBB
12:21 CET+01:00
The days of having to buy a ticket before you board a train could soon be over if plans by Swiss rail operator SBB come to fruition.

SBB wants to place sensors on trains that would record a passenger's entry and exit by scanning their SwissPass card, reports daily 20 Minuten.

Described by the paper as the ‘Bibo' system – meaning ‘be in, be out' – the scheme will track a cardholder's movements between train stations.

The data will be sent to a central authority which will then calculate the price and issue an electronic bill to the passenger.

Identity measures will be put in place to ensure that the traveller is indeed the cardholder, said the paper.

A pilot project is already in place in Zug and if successful, it could come into force across Switzerland by 2025.

The idea has the backing of industry figures including Kurt Schreiber, president of transport association Pro Bahn Schweiz.

“To simply get on and off a train is all that a customer wants to have to do,” he told 20 Minuten.

If you have to buy a ticket first, “all it takes is a small problem and you've missed your train,” he added.

Fares under the system have not yet been set, but SBB hopes to apply discounts to passengers using it regularly.

The biggest challenge for such a system is how to manage customers' data protection, reports the paper.

“Users will fear that SBB can establish a profile of their movements,” said Schreiber, adding that customer data would have to be destroyed after a certain period.

SBB was last month told by the Swiss federal data protection watchdog that it must not store customer data using the SwissPass.  

According to the watchdog it had previously been storing details of journeys taken for 90 days, an action that had no legal basis.

The red SwissPass was introduced on August 1st last year to replace the blue half-price and the full GA travel card. Information on the type of season ticket and date of expiry is stored in a chip.

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