Switzerland boosts train services to France as 'flight-shaming' gains momentum
As the anti-flying movement known as “flight shaming” is gaining momentum across Europe, Switzerland is adding new train services to some of its international routes.
The TGV company Lyria, which is owned jointly by the Swiss Federal Railways and France’s SNCF, is adding trains to its high-speed link between major Swiss cities and Paris.
Beginning on December 15th, 30% more connections will be offered to the French capital from Geneva, Zurich, Lausanne and Basel. That means an increase from the currently available 13,500 seats daily to 18,000 by the end of 2020.
The goal of the expanded service is to shift passangers from short-haul flights to rail. The flight time from Geneva or Zurich to the Charles De Gaulle airport takes just over one hour, while Lyria connects the Swiss cities with Paris’s Lyon station in a little more than three hours.
“I am convinced that the climate issues and the awareness of individuals of their carbon footprint will transform the market”, Fabien Soulet, the CEO of TGV Lyria told Le Monde newspaper.
“In Switzerland, the concern is particularly strong”, he added.
In fact, according to a poll conducted by the Zurich-based Sotomo research institute in September, climate change is among the top concerns for the Swiss voters in the upcoming October 30th elections. The Parliament has decided to start taxing plane tickets — CHF 30 to CHF 120 per flight, depending on the distance travelled.
The goal of the flight shaming movement, which began in Sweden and quickly spread throughout Europe, is to highlight the damage that air transport is inflicting on the environment through the emissions of greenhouse gases.
The Geneva-based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said airplanes contribute to 4.9% of human-caused climate change. In Switzerland, 10% of emissions are attributed to the aviation sector.