SBB More Busy Than Ever: Reservations Are Not Helping

SBB More Busy Than Ever: Reservations Are Not Helping

Mon, May 20th 2024

SBB’s bicycle reservation system aims to streamline travel but faces criticism for added costs and limited spaces, questioning its overall effectiveness.


Three years after the introduction of the reservation requirement for the transportation of bicycles on intercity trains, SBB has drawn a positive balance. For the Swiss Transport Club, however, this measure has not solved the fundamental problem of the general lack of bicycle spaces on trains.

The mandatory reservation allows customers to plan their journey better, as their bicycle space is guaranteed, SBB wrote in response to an inquiry from the Keystone-SDA news agency. In addition, the bicycles would be distributed among the various trains and the available spaces on the trains, especially at weekends. The measure also contributes to safety by keeping escape routes clear.

SBB points out that the price for bicycle reservations has been reduced from five to two francs and that there is no reservation requirement on RegioExpress, Interregio and regional trains, i.e. the majority of trains. They also point out that the reservation requirement on Intercity trains on the Jura-Südfuss line has been in force for over 15 years.

Raedler accuses SBB of using the obligatory reservation system for a kind of minimalism. No attempt is being made to do more for bicycle transportation. In his opinion, the fundamental issue is not the reservations, but rather the fact that there is not enough capacity for bicycle transportation on the trains. The VCS is calling for the number of bicycle spaces to be increased without reducing the number of spaces for other passengers.

The lawyer proposes two solutions: The first is to reserve a carriage for bicycles, following the example of the Rhaetian Railway. In addition, the options for hiring bicycles at the destination should be improved. “There is already a certain amount on offer, but it could be expanded and the prices are relatively expensive,” he says.

According to official figures, over one million tickets and day bike passes were sold for travel in Switzerland in 2023, while over 14,000 people had a bike pass (annual season ticket). In the same year, SBB also created around 2,000 new bicycle parking spaces at train stations.


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