The half-price rail fare for Swiss trains is taking on a new meaning with rules set to take effect on December 11. Frequent travelers on Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) commonly use half-price cards to cut the regular price of tickets by 50 percent.
The state-owned rail company this week announced another half-fare deal but one that involves charging passengers extra if they place luggage on a vacant seat during rush hours. During such periods “trains are more and more crowded,” Daniel Bach, SBB spokesman told the ATS news service on Tuesday, confirming news media reports of the extra fee.
Conductors will be empowered to charge a supplementary half-fare for passengers who insist on using a seat for their luggage. The measure will be implemented at the same time as a new schedule is introduced next month.
The new policy reinforces the principle, already implicit, that the holder of a single train ticket is entitled to use just one seat. SBB conductors already routinely use the public announcement systems on trains to advise passengers not to use spare seats for bags during peak travel periods.
Among other regulations also taking effect on December 11, passengers on Swiss trains will be obliged to buy tickets before boarding. Currently, users are able to buy a ticket on the train for a small extra fee. The new rules will impose a fine of 90 francs for any passenger without a ticket.