Public Transportation or renting a car?
World famous public transport
Swiss public transport is world famous, with good reason.
Switzerland is one of the most well connected and travel-friendly countries in Europe. It is very much easy to get around from one place to another, there is a well-established network of roads as well as public transport.
Probably this is the reason why I see the question popping in in different groups regularly if they should rent a car or use public transport. Personally, I vouch for the latter.
Let me explain the reasons why.
The beauty of Swiss public transport
Many great public transport options are available in Switzerland keeping all the cities well connected with buses, trams and trains. All of these transportation options are safe, budget-friendly and clean.
In fact, more than any other European nation, residents travel through public transportation about 70% of the time in a year. With the help of the Swiss Federal Railway webpage or application you can easily find the best way to navigate within the country.
Travelling by train is the best way to travel around Switzerland as it is an economical, popular and well-maintained travel system. Travelling by train gives you an insight into the local life of the people of Switzerland and also you can enjoy the picturesque views of the Alpine ranges and charming villages.
Two of the most popular and scenic train routes to travel and explore Switzerland are Glacier Express and Bernina Express, however you can enjoy a simple train ride from one village to another as much. With the short distance between the Swiss cities and some picturesque views, public transportation makes your trip within Switzerland super memorable.
Besides, public transport is more relaxing. If you are looking for some fun time with your friend and family, you should definitely consider boarding a train, post bus or a boat during your journey. It is a wonderful way to meet locals and other tourists while having a good time with your loved ones.
If you want to blend in with the locals and learn more about the Swiss culture, public transportation is your best option.
Car rental vs Swiss Public Transport
In almost every discussion, the main reason towards car rental is the cost- element. People used to say that renting a car is much cheaper than using Swiss public transport. That might seem true at first glance, but if we deep-dive into the topic, the result will be different.
For example, a 3-day general pass for two people costs 464 CHF. This might seem high comparing the car rental cost of CHF 250.00 for three days, however we need to understand the hidden elements.
If you take a car, you have to pay for fuel as well. Considering you drive 300 km a day it can cost you up to 100 CHF during the three-day period. Another pricy element you need to consider is parking. You might have to pay 3-6 CHF for a short stay of one hour and up to CHF 20.00-25.00 for overnight. As such, you can easily end up with an additional cost of 40 CHF daily (You can find some reference prices here).
If you add up the rental, fuel and parking, the cost of the car rental is the same as for the rail pass for 2 persons.
Additionally, you need to consider the car-free areas. There are plenty of destinations in Switzerland- even very popular ones such as Jungfrau or Zermatt- where the cars are prohibited. In this case, you have to pay for the public transport on top of the rental cost calculated above.
From the other side, when choosing a Swiss public transport option- a half-fare card, one or several days general pass or any of the regional offers- they are offered with a hefty discount on the cable cars and funiculars. The cost of those quite high, it might go up to CHF 60.00-80.00 per person. Considering taking one cable car during the 3-day trip in our example, it is an additional cost of CHF 360.00. With a 50% discount offered by the rail pass, it is CHF 180.00 saving. At the end, considering all elements, the rail pass can be 40-50 % cheaper than renting a car.
If I managed to convince you to take the train, you can find the different options offered here.
Swisstainability – the cherry on the top
Ensuring sustainability is the responsibility and interest of all of us. I don`t think I need to highlight the different warnings about the fragility of our environment and the effort to preserve it for the future generations.
CO2 emissions per capita in Switzerland are equivalent to 4.73 tons per person (based on data of 2016). The average car emissions is 137.8 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre. So, if you choose to take the public transport only for one weekend, with the above example you will contribute with 0.06 % CO2 reduction to sustainability.
Also, the official Tourism Board of Switzerland, myswitzerland.com has announces Swisstainable as a new approach to travel.
According to them, Sustainable travel doesn’t necessarily mean having to go without. Sustainable travel means greater awareness and depth and more enjoyment.
Swisstainable is all about having one’s finger on the pulse – and maximum relaxation in a natural setting:
- Enjoy nature up close and at first hand
- Experience the local culture in an authentic way
- Consume regional products
- Stay for longer and delve deeper
Considering all above, I am confident to conclude that using Swiss public transport is beneficial for everyone. So be spontaneous and hop on a train the next time you discover this unique country. If you are a car person and give a try to the public transport, let me know your experience via hOnl9vDlxOXj5fDh4fz04fbt4ern4arn6+k@nospam!
Wishing a week full of fun and adventure!
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