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Ski resorts balk at SwissPass charges

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Ski resorts balk at SwissPass charges
As yet no resort in French-speaking Switzerland has agreed to use SwissPass. Photo: Caroline Bishop
12:37 CEST+02:00
Just a month after launching its new SwissPass, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) is in trouble with some ski resorts after demanding they pay 4,000 francs to use the system.

SwissPass, a new electronic card which replaced SBB's half-price and GA railcards from August 1st, allows a customer to group together multiple travel and leisure subscriptions on one microchipped card.

SBB hopes to integrate services including the Mobility car sharing scheme and bike hire programme PubliBike, as well as ski passes to resorts across the country.

Some 20 resorts have already agreed to adopt SwissPass, but a number of others are less enamoured by the idea, said Swiss broadcaster RTS on Tuesday.

Seilbahnen Schweiz, the umbrella organization for ski lift operators in the country, is angry that SBB is demanding 4,000 francs from each ski lift company that wishes to use the pass, as well as six percent commission on every ski pass loaded onto SwissPass.

According to RTS, the charge will finance the marketing and technical integration of the card, which SBB feels will attract more customers to ski resorts.

But Seilbahnen Schweiz disagrees.

“These conditions are unacceptable,” Eric Balet, vice-president of Seilbahnen Schweiz and director of Verbier lift operator Téléverbier, told the broadcaster.

“The ski market is saturated, there are fewer skiers," Balet said.

"SwissPass wants our current clients to move from road to rail. SBB needs us for this operation to succeed, and it won't bring us any new clients.”

Seilbahnen Schweiz and SBB have put together a working group to find a solution, without which no resorts in the French-speaking part of Switzerland will offer lift passes through SwissPass this winter.

By contrast, popular resorts elsewhere that have already agreed to integrate SwissPass include Arosa Lenzerheide, Engelberg Titlis, Gstaad, Jungfrau Region and Saas-Fee.

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