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Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Italian trains (like this one, from Milan to Geneva, will have to comply with Swiss timetable. Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

SBB makes Switzerland-bound Italian trains more punctual; another Swiss city to start cannabis trial; and more news in our roundup on Wednesday.


Swiss railways 'punctualise' Italian train timetable 

Because many trains from Milan arrive at their Swiss destinations late, disrupting rail operations on the Swiss side of the border, the national railway company (SBB) has re-arranged the schedule in Italy to better coordinate it with its own.

At SBB’s suggestion, two out of three weekday trains from Milan now depart 13 to 15 minutes earlier than before so as to arrive at Swiss stations on time.

This move proves that “Swiss punctuality is not just a cliché,” according to Italy’s Corriere della Sera.

This is not the first time the SBB has had an issue with tardy foreign trains.

German Deutsche Bahn’s poor punctuality record had annoyed the Swiss enough that they are planning to stop trains from Germany at border cities and transfer passengers to Swiss trains. 

Real estate platform gives first dibs at apartments to those who pay a fee

Swiss cities are in the throes of housing crisis, with the demand for affordable apartments far outstripping the supply.

As hundreds of potential tenants apply for each available accommodation, online real estate platform Homegate offers a premium subscription service, called Tenant Plus.

For a monthly fee of 39.95 francs, subscribers can contact landlords before everyone else, and get early viewing  access.

Zurich Tenants Association is criticizing this approach, with its lawyer, Nicole Schweizer, saying this ‘selective' method is creating a two-class society and unequal access.

However, the Swiss Marketplace Group, to which Homegate belongs, counters that the paid subscription “ gives all those looking for an apartment an additional option in order to increase theirs chances of finding the right rental property, especially in regions with above-average demand.” 

READ ALSO: Why there is a push in Switzerland to make buildings higher 


Cannabis will soon be legal (in certain cases) in Lucerne

Some 250 residents  will soon be able to obtain cannabis products in the city's pharmacies.

That’s because Lucerne is participating in a study carried out by the universities of Bern and Lucerne, which aims to find out what health and social effects the regulated sale of cannabis has.

“Regulating purchases could be an approach to counteract problematic cannabis consumption in Lucerne,” said local physician Christian Studer.

Anyone who wants to take part in the trail must be over  the age of 18, have lived in the city for at least a year, and consume cannabis regularly.

Similar projects have already been launched in Basel, Zurich, Geneva, and Bern.


Switzerland's retirement age must be raised, employers' association says

Though in March Swiss voters rejected the move to increase the statuary retirement age from 65 to 66, Swiss Employers' Union (UPS) is arguing in favour of this change.

According to its president Severin Moser, this move is essential to guarantee the funding of the first-pillar pension, as well as to combat the shortage of qualified workers.

"I am convinced this is what is needed," Moser said.

He added that raising the retirement age to 67 would be even better for Switzerland's economy, "but that seems unrealistic the moment.” 

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