A decision by the government of the canton of Fribourg to declare free public transport illegal is being challenged at Switzerland’s Federal Tribunal. A decision by Switzerland’s top court in line with Fribourg’s government could impact plans for free public transport in other Swiss cantons.
Switzerland’s constitution appears to exclude the possibility of free public transport. Clause 2 of section 81 stipulates that public transport users cover an appropriate portion of the cost. However, this text has become a source of controversy and confusion and some politicians have called for it to be changed.
in addition, if the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s highest court, decides to follow the literal wording of the constitution and rule against free public transport, the decision could have an impact beyond the canton of Fribourg. Legal precedents set at the federal level apply across the country.
Currently, the cantons of Neuchâtel, Vaud and Bern have plans to make certain forms of public transport free. A federal precedent against free transport could shut the door on similar plans in these cantons.