Swiss fare dodgers to go on national electronic register

People who travel on Switzerland's trains, trams and buses without a valid ticket will now have their details placed in a national register, the country’s public transport industry group said on Monday.

Swiss fare dodgers to go on national electronic register
Details of offenders will be kept on file for two years. Photo: Peter Bernasconi/SBB

To date, Switzerland’s 100 or so transport operators have maintained their own lists of passengers caught travelling either without a ticket or without the correct ticket for their journey.

Under the new plan, however, a unified, Swiss-wide list of these people will be maintained electronically. The aim is to make it easier to catch serial offenders and ensure that people in this group pay the correct fines.

Read also: Seven fun facts about Switzerland's famous train station clocks

According to industry estimates, around three percent of the two million people who use Swiss public transport every year do so without a ticket or with the wrong ticket.

Around 800,000 cases of fare dodging are registered every year, transport operators’ group ch-direct said in a statement.

This has a negative impact on honest customers, the group said.

Data protection to be guaranteed

Under the new system, which is to be rolled out nationwide in stages, ticket inspectors will not have access to customer records. However, customers will be able to apply to see those records.

Details of customers caught without a ticket or with the wrong ticket will be kept on file for two years.

Meanwhile, as part of the new system, some Swiss transport operators already offer customers who have been fined after forgetting their travel cards to produce these online.

Identity theft

In a small number of cases, people travelling without a valid ticket give other people’s details to ticket inspectors – partly a result of the fact you are not required to carry personal identification in Switzerland.

If you receive a bill for an infringement relating to a journey you did not make, Swiss rail operator SBB says you should contact both the police and SBB immediately.

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