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TRAVEL NEWS

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.

Reader question: Why is there such a long wait for the new SwissPass travel cards?
SwissPass is the ticket to ride all over Switzerland. Photo: Pixabay

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.

READ MORE: SwissPass: A guide to Switzerland’s new single public transport ticket

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For members

TRAVEL NEWS

SWISS pilots threaten an October strike action

The Swiss pilots’ union could go on strike during Switzerland’s busy autumn holiday period.

SWISS pilots threaten an October strike action

The union, Aeropers, which has been negotiating salary increases and improved working conditions with Switzerland’s national airline, has rejected the carrier’s latest collective labour agreement (CLA) and is threatening to go on strike.

The  (CLA) is a kind of contract that is negotiated between Switzerland’s trade unions and employers or employer organisations. Generally speaking, they cover a minimum wage for each type of work; regulations relating to work hours; payment of wages in the event of illness or maternity; vacation and days off; and protection against dismissal.

READ MORE : What is a Swiss collective bargaining agreement — and how could it benefit you?

The pilots said they would cease flying on October 17th, which falls in the middle of school holidays in a number of cantons — the period when many families holiday abroad.

“SWISS has not sufficiently entered into the matter of the legitimate interests of its pilots”, Aeropers said, adding that if the airline doesn’t come up with a better offer, the union “will initiate the procedures for a strike”.

For its part, SWISS said in a press release that it offered its pilots 60 million francs more than on the previous CLA, but “Aeropers executive committee has rejected this latest offer as inadequate, and has made demands of its own totalling over 200 million”.

However, Aeropers head Thomas Steffen has denied SWISS’ claim saying the 200-million figure is “a fantasy number” that has no basis whatsoever. According to Steffen, the pilots’ demand was “significantly less than half of this sum”.

He went on to accuse the airline of “propaganda” at the detriment of its employees”.

He added that the strike would me a last-resort measure if the dispute on pay, which has been going on for a year, is not resolved within a month.

“We’ve negotiated for a year and made sure that our members are level-headed and fly safely and reliably, despite being without a contract,” Steffen said.

If the SWISS cockpit staff, which also includes its sister airline, Edelweiss, does go on strike, it will be the latest labour dispute in Europe’s aviation, which includes a strike by Lufthansa ground crew, which impacted Switzerland over the summer.

However, strikes by Swiss workers is relatively uncommon compared to other countries.

READ MORE: Why are strikes so rare in Switzerland?

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