Public transport safety touted despite death rise
The total number of deaths from public transport accidents in Switzerland shot up to 41 in 2014, an increase of 11 from the previous year, official figures released on Tuesday show.
Five passengers were among the victims but the majority of cases involved people on railway tracks without authorization, or inattentive motorists and pedestrians, the federal transport office (FTO) said in a news release.
Three of the victims were Israeli tourists killed when a Zentralbahn passenger train collided with a minibus at a level crossing without a barrier in the canton of Nidwalden last August.
The number of accidents linked to public transport in 2014 totalled 230, the lowest figure in five years, while the number of serious injuries — 172 — was the lowest in three years.
Overall, the figures underscore the safety of the Swiss public transport system compared to other modes of transport and other systems in the rest of Europe, the FTO said.
Fatalities on Swiss roads last year dropped to 243 last year from 269 in 2013, the office said.
It maintained that measures taken to check more regularly freight trains and to follow up on safety improvements of level crossings contributed to the “high degree of safety”.
Railway companies had to submit by the end of 2014 plans for upgrading all level crossings that do not conform to current regulations, the office said.
The FTO also seized the driving permits of 21 locomotives or streetcars who no longer met medical or psychological requirements.