National Councillor Lukas Reimann of the Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SG) would like to see Swiss politicians, public servants and Swiss Rail staff stripped of their free annual first class Swiss Rail passes. He thinks they should be offered second class passes instead.
From 11 December an annual first class pass on Swiss Rail will cost CHF 6,300, a CHF 330 increase on the current price. Those, like politicians, lucky enough to receive one free on top of their salary will not feel the price increase. Lukas Reimann would like to would like to change this. Eying a saving, he wants these people to get a second class pass instead. He thinks politicians and public servants should make a contribution to reducing the national budget. According to his calculations, CHF 600,000 p.a. could be saved.
Speaking to 20 Minuten, Swiss Rail spokesperson Daniele Pallecchi, said that it is false to view the pass as free. The price of the pass is added to employees’ taxable income.
National Councillor Edith Graf-Litscher of the Socialist Party and former Swiss Rail employee, called Reimann’s proposal a “pseudo saving”. She thinks replacing first class passes with second class ones will lead to further crowding in already overcrowded second class carriages, incentivising more people to take cars instead. Lukas Reimann disagrees. He thinks it is important to start somewhere.
If there were fewer first class travellers, some first class carriages could be converted into second class ones, increasing the overall number of seats and improving everyone’s chance of finding one. This would of course require some increase in the price of second class tickets to make up for the revenue lost from declining first class passenger numbers.