Train operator SBB had announced it would no longer allow ticket sales on board its long-distance trains after a journey had started, but after vocal criticism, it appears to have changed its mind.
If passengers caught a train at the last minute without having time to get a ticket, it was not a problem up to now. They could buy one on board from a conductor, and were charged a small fee on top of the regular price.
But due to systematic fare-dodging, SBB had said it would discontinue the service.
That led to fierce criticism from the SEV union, which represents transportation employees.
“We feared that our people would be accosted by angry passengers and so we asked SBB to reconsider,” Peter Moor, SEV spokesman, told 20 Minutes. “We suggested raising the surcharge for on-board ticket purchases by 30 or 50 francs,” he said.
The public transportation interest group Pro Bahn had also criticized SBB’s policy change, but said raising the ticket surcharge was not a good solution.
For its part, regional train carrier BLS has said it has no plans to change its business practices and will continue to sell tickets on board.
“Many of our routes are tourist oriented and ticket sales in the train are part of our service offering,” said spokesperson Michael Blum.
SBB says it is now looking at different strategies to address the fare-dodging issue.
“The argument that passengers aren’t able to get a ticket before a journey starts doesn’t really hold water anymore,” he said, pointing out that electronic tickets could be bought with smartphones.