The digital share of sales across the rail network rose from 32 to 38 per cent from 2017 to 2018 on Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), according to SBB data. Ticket vending machine still account for the majority of all ticket sales, 46 per cent in 2018 so far, although in many areas automated machines are hardly used.
“The proportion of digital tickets sold is rising, while sales at machines and at the counters are declining,” SBB spokesman Stephan Wehrle told Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger.
At least 150 vending machines on the Swiss rail network stamp less than 20 tickets per day, according to the report.
It costs 30,000 Swiss francs (€26,200) to replace a machine and transport authorities are weighing up whether it is worth it for areas where only five tickets are printed each day.
There is no suggestion that vending machines will be completely faded out. The SBB however expects the number of automated machines to decline in the future, especially on routes with less traffic.
Urban services will continue to require new on-site ticket machines, add SBB sources in the report. Geneva is set to open a light rail service next year and an extra 15 vending machines have been installed in the city in preparation. The life span of an average ticket machine is reportedly 15 years.
Rail staff have been pushing the SBB App through an outreach program on trains. Train conductors have been offering one-to-one app tours to passengers on trains keen to understand timetabling and other functions on the Swiss trains app, reports 20 Minutes.