Passengers will be entitled to reimbursement for relatively short delays – and for modestly-priced tickets.
The announcement is part of a reorganisation plan adopted by the Swiss government in late 2018 which sought to make the system more transparent, to ensure non-discriminatory access to rail networks and improve their overall efficiency.
The change brings Switzerland in line with EU law, which obliges companies to compensate passengers for delays.
How does it work?
Anyone who is unable completely to travel due to a delay or a cancellation will have three possible options.
The first option is that they will be reimbursed in full for the cost of the ticket.
Alternately, the cost of returning to the point of departure will be reimbursed in full, if the trip has already begun.
The final option is to waive the remainder of the journey and be reimbursed the proportion of the missing transport.
What about for delays that do not make it impossible to travel?
Delays that do not cancel travel completely will be reimbursed depending on how late the service is.
Delays must be more than an hour for passengers to be entitled to reimbursement. Delays of one hour or longer will entitle passengers to 25 percent of the fare.
For two hours or longer, passengers are entitled to 50 percent of the fare.
The money must be reimbursed within 30 days and can be made in cash or in vouchers for further transport without an expiry date.
What kinds of delays are covered?
The SBB will be liable to pay no matter what the reason for the delay is – even for force majeure events such as landslides.
How much must the ticket cost?
Ticket amounts CHF5 ($US5) and above must be reimbursed.
In the initial consultation, the Federal Council set CHF10 ($US10) as the minimum limit, but according to Swiss daily 20 Minutes, decided to be more generous as the plan was further developed.
Different amounts will apply to passengers who have flat rate/monthly tickets.
In addition to the costs of the ticket, transport companies are asked to provide snacks and refreshments for passengers.