How cross-border workers from France are causing congestion in Switzerland’s Jura region
While most workers from France cross the Swiss border in Geneva, there has been a steady increase in daily commuters in the so-called ‘Jura Arc’ region.
The area lies on the Swiss side of Doubs department in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region in eastern France.
The number of border workers in the Jura Arc has grown by nearly 70 percent in the past decade, increasing from 19,200 to 32,300.
As nearly all of these daily commuters drive to their jobs in Switzerland, they create bottlenecks at border crossings during peak times, according to a new study published this week by the Cross-Border Statistical Observatory of Jura Arc (OSTAJ).
More than 5,000 commuters pass through certain sections every day, such as the axis between Pontarlier in France and Vallorbe in Vaud.
Many also commute the short distance from Morteau and Villers-le-Lac in France to Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds on the Swiss side.
Border crossings in the Jura Arc area. Chart by OSTAJ
All these crossings are increasingly congested.
Unlike their compatriots in Geneva, who come mostly from Haute-Savoie and are employed predominantly in the health sector, the majority of border commuters in the Jura Arc region work in the watchmaking industry.
According to Switzerland’s SRF television, many French people living near the border want to work in Switzerland because they can earn up to double the salary they would get in France for the same job.
Also, taxes are lower in Switzerland than in France.
This poses a problem for French companies located near the border, as they can’t find any personnel locally.