Reader question: Why is there such a long wait for the new SwissPass travel cards?
Most regular public transportation users in Switzerland rely on a SwissPass card to travel on national or regional trains and buses. But new customers face a long wait to get hold of theirs.
Swiss media reported on Monday that about 50,000 people who purchased this versatile card — which gives cheaper access to a wide public transport network in Switzerland — have complained that the long-awaited card has not yet arrived.
In response, the SwissPass Alliance, an organisation responsible for issuing and managing this card, said the delay is caused by the shortage of components, that is the electronic chip manufactured in China, which is embedded in the card.
Chinese economy has come to almost a standstill during the Covid pandemic, which has had repercussions on supply chains around the world, and it is still struggling to recover to pre-2020 levels of activity.
A sample SwissPass card. Image: SBB.ch
What can you do while you are waiting for the card to arrive?
If you are an existing SwissPass customer, you needn’t worry about delivery delays.
Your card is automatically renewed each year, as soon as you pay your annual subscription fees.
For new customers — those who purchased the card recently and are still waiting for it to arrive — you can ask for a SwissPass in paper format at a SBB counter at any train station. Just present the proof of payment.
This paper version will be valid for 60 days instead of the usual 14.
Launched on January 1st 2020, the SwissPass unified 250 transport companies and 17 regional fare groups scattered across Switzerland into one travelcard.
This means its holders can use any train, bus, tram, or boat anywhere in Switzerland, though not under the same tariffs — you may pay a different price for a similar journey in different parts of the country.
The main reason for this is Switzerland’s public transport funding system, which splits costs evenly between cantons and communes.
You can download the SwissPass app here.