Uber facing new restrictions in Zurich after Geneva ban

After being banned in Geneva, Uber is facing more restrictions with Zurich set to vote on whether or not to further limit the ride sharing company's activities in the canton.

Uber facing new restrictions in Zurich after Geneva ban

On February 9th – the same day as the Swiss-wide referenda on homophobia and affordable housing – eligible voters in Zurich will go to the polls to vote on whether or not to impose greater restrictions on ride sharing service Uber. 

READ MORE: EU migration to affordable housing: All you need to know about Switzerland's crucial spring referendums

The ride sharing service has been criticised in Switzerland for failing to pay drivers properly and meet its social contribution obligations. 

Allowed in Zurich, Basel and Lucerne, Uber is currently banned in Geneva in relation to the above criticisms – although the ban has been suspended pending an appeal. 

READ MORE: Uber facing ban in Geneva 

The vote will make regulating taxis – including ride sharing services – a cantonal rather than a municipal responsibility in Zurich. If successful, cantonal authorities will be in charge of granting permits, setting tariffs and controlling parking for taxi services including Uber. 

The goal of the referendum is to level the playing field for all car transport services, bringing in line the rules on taxis and limousines as well as app-based ride sharing services. 

READ MORE: Switzerland considers expanding public transport to include taxis

The vote will also require all Uber drivers – and drivers with other ride sharing services as well as taxis – to register with canton authorities, while also distinguishing themselves by placing a sign on their vehicle. 

Advocates of the proposal have argued the measure will level the playing field for taxi and limousine operators with Uber. 

Those against, which include some members of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) and the Green Liberals, have said the measure is an example of over-regulation which could stifle the kind of innovation that Uber has to offer. 

Opponents have also said that additional restrictions may make people less safe at night, although advocates of the law have argued that requiring drivers to register themselves while also identifying that they are Uber drivers will make passengers safer. 

Further votes

Another vote scheduled for February 9th for the canton of Zurich will be on competing tax proposals. One proposal, backed by the young socialists and others, seeks to reduce taxes for lower and middle income earners. 

A counter proposal, supported by the young radicals, wants to reduce taxes for all income earners while also freeing up tax rules for the highest income earners in the canton. 

Eligible voters will also have their say on the construction of a new tunnel under Rosengartenstrasse in the north-west of the city.  


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Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

Switzerland’s Federal Railways (SBB) will be removing the ticket counter from nine stations in the cantons of Zurich, Vaud, Bern, Zug and Ticino

Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

The SBB made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the decision was made due to a lack of demand. 

Instead, commuters will need to buy tickets from automated machines. 

In the canton of Zurich, the ticket stations in Dietlikon, Hinwil, Kloten, Männedorf and Oberwinterthur will be closed. 

In neighbouring Zug, Cham’s ticket counter will be closed, while the Herzogenbuchsee station in Bern will also go fully automated. 

MAPS: The best commuter towns when working in Zurich

In Latin Switzerland, Pully in Vaud and Biasca in Ticino will see their ticket counters closed. 

The SBB told Swiss news outlet Watson that approximately 95 percent of ticket sales are now made via self-service machines or online. 

The advent of navigation apps has meant the need for personal advice on directions and travel has fallen, particularly in smaller areas or stations with lower traffic.