Top Things to Know About Public Transport in Zurich and Switzerland
Zurich (and Switzerland) offer a first class public transport system which makes the idea of not owning a car whilst living here not such a ridiculous idea! Even if you don’t go the whole hog and ditch the car, the public transport system is often a very attractive option. It is clean, safe, punctual and efficient.
Here are some useful tips and pointers on things to know.
Zurich Public Transport
The Zurich Transport Network is called ZVV and there is an App you can download for your phone and the website is www.zvv.ch. In Zurich all the public transport is integrated so you can use the same ticket on the train, the bus, the tram and on many boats too. Please note that not all Cantons in Switzerland integrate all their public transport in the same way as Zurich.
The Travel Zones In Zurich
The whole of Zurich is divided into Zones and you need to know which zone (or which town) you are starting in and which zone or town you are ending your journey in to get the correct tickets. The central area of Zurich is zone 110, which is classified as a double zone. If, for example, you were travelling from Küsnacht in zone 140 to Zurich Main Station, you would need a return ticket from zone 140 to zone 110. You can easily buy a ticket either online or via a ticket machine just by inputting the start town and end destination town by name.
Here is a picture of the Zurich network of zones:
Picture courtesy of ZVV
There are a variety of tickets available – here are some of the most common:
- Single tickets can be used for one journey. You can purchase at a ticket machine, a ticket office or on the App.
- Return tickets can be used multiple times in a 24 hour period. If you purchase them as a physical ticket you can transfer the ticket to for example, another family member to use within the 24 hour period. If however, you have purchased via the App the ticket is personal and can only be used by you.
- Please note that children under 6 are FREE on public transport. Tickets for children aged 6 – 16 are the “child’s fare” option which is the same as the Halbtax option
- Tickets can also be bought in a Multiday (6-er pack) which you just need to validate each time you use them.
- Tickets can also be bought as a Monthly or Annual pass and these are quite a lot cheaper.
- Other tickets which may be of interest are the 9 Uhr Pass – which is available as a daily or monthly pass for travel after 9am with a variety of location/zone options.
- If your tickets doesn’t have time & date stamp you may need to “validate” before travelling
- Regular “Kontrolle” take place on all public transport by both plain clothes and uniformed inspectors! Do make sure you have the correct ticket or you will get a fine
- If you have bought a card with a Halbtax but don’t have the Halbtax on you, you will also incur a fine but if you show your Halbax with a certain number of days at a train station with the fine you will just pay CHF 5
The Halbtax (or half tax) card is a personal card which costs CHF 185 for the first year. If renewed without a break it costs CHF 165 for subsequent years and allows you to purchase all your transport tickets (including some bu not all cable cars) at roughly half price. It works on trains on the SBB network as well as the ZVV network and costs in very quickly so is highly recommended.
GA – General Abonnement Card
The GA or General Abonnement is a ticket which can be purchased as a personal ticket, or a family ticket (or in a number of options) and is perfect if you don’t have a car and use public tranport as your primary means of transportation. You can see all the details of the GA here.