The number of ticketless passengers on SBB, the Swiss rail company, has been rising steadily since 2019, doubling over the past four years.
Last year, almost one million passengers were detected by SBB control staff without a valid ticket, according to data published by Alliance Swisspass. This number groups Swiss and foreign tourists alike, people simply without a ticket and passengers with a partially valid ticket.
Specifically, 2.5% of journeys on Swiss public transport are made without a ticket, while between 10% and 20% are made with a partially valid ticket (travel in class 1 with a class 2 ticket, use of a reduced-price ticket without entitlement to this facility, travel without a supplement on night trains, etc.). In total, this evasion amounts to tens of millions of Swiss francs each year, the association estimates.
Alliance Swisspass plans to increase fines
The profile of fraudulent travellers is also interesting. Of these, 40% have been caught once and 31% more than six times!
Alliance Swisspass is calling for a drastic increase in fines, especially for “repeat offenders”. And the fines are not exactly low even now. They start at 70 Swiss francs (the equivalent of almost 75 euros) for a first offence with a partially valid ticket and go up to 160 francs (170 euros) from the third offence upwards without a valid ticket. This is the maximum amount charged, but SBB reserves the right to take the offender to the police. After the third fine imposed, criminal prosecution is initiated against the person concerned.