How do Covid-19 restrictions impact public transport in Switzerland?

Some night and long-distance services have been cut as a result of Switzerland's shutdown.

How do Covid-19 restrictions impact public transport in Switzerland?
Night trains will no longer circulate on weekends. Photo by AFP

Since the Federal Council ordered the closure of bars and restaurants at 11pm, and some Swiss cantons went even further by shutting these venues altogether.

Starting on November 7th, “public transport companies are stopping their night service, operated in the early morning hours on weekends”, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) said in a press release.

The company pointed out that, due to the mandated early closure of restaurants and bars, “night demand became non-existent”.

However, “regular evening connections are not affected by this measure”, SBB added.

The suspension of night services, which also include postal buses, is for an unlimited period.

“The resumption will depend on the directives of the Federal Council regarding the closure of establishments and nightlife”, SBB said, adding that “connections following the arrival of last scheduled trains are guaranteed”.

READ MORE: Switzerland's new coronavirus measures explained

Train service between Switzerland and France is also reduced

After cutting a third of its high-speed rail links between the two countries at the end of September, TGV Lyria is further reducing its service, the company said in a press release.

Starting on November 4th, only three daily round trips will remain between the two countries: two between Geneva and Paris — down from eight — and one between Zurich and the French capital.

According to SBB and Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF), which jointly operate the TGV network between the two countries, the changes are due to “the health measures taken in the two countries”. 

On one hand, Swiss authorities require that travellers from the French region of Île de France, where Paris is located, quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Switzerland. 

On the other, France is under a four-week lockdown and all non-essential travel is discouraged, even though borders remain open.

All those arriving in the country despite the restrictions must carry a special document, l’attestation de déplacement dérogatoire.

The company also said that all passengers who want to cancel their trip to or from France due to the restrictions in place in both countries, can request a refund or exchange their tickets free of charge until January 4th, 2021. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?