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Passengers to get compensation for train delays, cancellations

Published on 13/05/2020

The federal government on Wednesday adopted legal provisions that allow travellers to seek partial to full refunds for disrupted train and bus journeys in the country.

Starting in 2021, delays on public transport lasting more than one hour will be subject to at least a partial refund of the price of a ticket. The minimum refund is set at CHF5 ($5). Currently transport companies are not obliged to compensate passengers for extended delays. 

Under the new provisions, passengers who cannot complete their journey because of a delay or cancellation will have several options, including cancelling their trip before departure and receiving a full refund. 

Depending on the circumstances, the compensation will range from a minimum of 25% of the value of the ticket for a one-hour delay to a minimum 50% for a delay of two hours. Refunds are to be paid out within 30 days, even in the case of force majeure, such as a landslide.

For delays lasting longer than 60 minutes, transport companies will have to offer passengers refreshments and meals when possible. They will also have to inform passengers of any delays or cancellations and put an information or complaints service at their disposal.

Holders of travel passes will also be entitled to compensation under conditions that the companies will set.

The new federal provisions bring passenger rights in Switzerland in line with European Union regulations.

More money for rail infrastructure

Also on Wednesday the government decided to grant railway companies in the country a total of CHF14.4 billion for infrastructure upgrades between 2021 and 2024. That’s CHF1.2 billion more than it had granted in the preceding period. Nearly half of the sum will go to the Swiss Federal Railways. 

The funds will cover work on track and rail access, bridges and tunnels, safety installations and environmental protection measures.