Several years ago Switzerland made international news for its leaders’ use of public transport, something aided by the free first class train passes given to Swiss members of parliament.
Last week, Swiss parliamentarians voted to keep their first class train passes, with 154 votes in favour and 28 against.
Despite being a vote akin to asking turkeys to vote for Christmas, its rejection is unlikely to have much impact on public finances.
Presented by Lukas Reimann (UDC/SVP), partly as a symbolic gesture, the plan to downgrade the passes to 2nd class ones would have saved around CHF 600,000 annually.
Given that around CHF 2 billion of taxpayer money flows to Swiss Rail every year, the pass downgrade would have amounted to taking the same money from a different pocket.
So if you want to rub shoulders with those who run the country but cannot afford a first class train seat, keep your eyes open while waiting on the platform.
Former Swiss president Didier Burkhalter was spotted waiting for his train in 2014 by journalist Serge Jubin – see image above.