Motorists’ Party seeks vote on 130km/h limit

The Swiss Motorists’ Party has launched initiatives to raise the maximum speed limit on Swiss motorways to 130 kilometres an hour and to expand the capacity of the country’s highways.

Motorists' Party seeks vote on 130km/h limit
Geneva-Lausanne highway (on a day without traffic jams). Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The right-wing party, which has no elected members at the national or cantonal level, is attempting a return to the national scene with the proposals, made public by the federal gazette on Tuesday.

The party has until November 28th 2014 to collect the necessary signatures to put the issues to a national vote.

Under an initiative called “free driving instead of mega traffic jams”, it is seeking to add lanes to highway routes that are now choked with traffic.

In particular, its is calling for six-lane motorways on the routes between Geneva-Lausanne, Berne-Zurich and Winterthur-Töss-Winterthur-Ost.

It also wants extra lanes through the Gotthard tunnel.

The Motorists’ Party wants the maximum speed on Swiss motorways raised to 130 kilometres an hour from the current 120 km/h.

But it also seeks higher speed limits on other roads — 100 km/h on major roads and a 50 km/h limit within municipal areas.

Additionally, it is campaigning for all money from road taxes (vignettes) and vehicle fuel taxes to be 100 percent applied to the construction and maintenance of roads and not to defray public transport costs or to feed federal coffers.

Founded in 1985, the Motorists’ Party, which once elected as many as eight MPs in the early 1990s, changed its name to the Swiss Liberty Party from 1994 to 2009.

It then took back its original name and is now bidding for a comeback.

Since the party (Auto Partei in German or Parti des Automobilistes in French) lost representation in parliament, “free mobility” and the interests of motorists have been persistently under attack, it argues on its German-language website.

The Motorists' Party is hoping that public anger over frequent traffic jams on heavily used motorways will gain it support.

In terms of elected representatives, the party can currently count just one member at the municipal level, Werner Pauli, who sits on the Bern city legislative council.

Since last year, the Motorists' Party has resurrected wings in the cantons of Aargau, Basel-Country, Bern. Lucerne, Solothurn, Thurgau and Zurich.

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Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

Switzerland’s Federal Railways (SBB) will be removing the ticket counter from nine stations in the cantons of Zurich, Vaud, Bern, Zug and Ticino

Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

The SBB made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the decision was made due to a lack of demand. 

Instead, commuters will need to buy tickets from automated machines. 

In the canton of Zurich, the ticket stations in Dietlikon, Hinwil, Kloten, Männedorf and Oberwinterthur will be closed. 

In neighbouring Zug, Cham’s ticket counter will be closed, while the Herzogenbuchsee station in Bern will also go fully automated. 

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In Latin Switzerland, Pully in Vaud and Biasca in Ticino will see their ticket counters closed. 

The SBB told Swiss news outlet Watson that approximately 95 percent of ticket sales are now made via self-service machines or online. 

The advent of navigation apps has meant the need for personal advice on directions and travel has fallen, particularly in smaller areas or stations with lower traffic.