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Zurich to roll out universal basic income pilot project

500 people in the city of Zurich will receive a monthly basic income as part of a pilot project over three years.

Zurich to roll out universal basic income pilot project
Swiss francs set up on a soccer table as part of an art project in Switzerland. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The project seeks to test whether a universal basic income would be feasible in Switzerland, Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes reports. 

The experiment will be studied by universities, while the city has already promised to cover the costs of the scheme. 

The initiative has the support of the Social Democrats, the Green Liberals and the Free Democrats. 

Lara Can, from the Social Democrats, is one of the advocates of the plan. 

She told 20 Minutes it was time to test whether the idea – which has been frequently considered but not yet implemented in Switzerland – is feasible. 

“The time is ripe to advance the basic income: from the supposed utopia to scientific facts,” she said. 

The amount of income has not been made public at this stage, although Switzerland’s Tages Anzeiger reports that it is likely to depend on the previous wages of the participants – and that it should not fall below subsistence level in Switzerland. 

The program is expected to run for three years. 

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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.