Main SBB train trips. Click to SBB timetable and ticket price
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SBB-CFF-FFS train arriving at Bern train station
SBB has the following services
- R: Regio (Regionalzug): stops at all stations
- S: S-Bahn (commuter train): organized as a rapid transit system around major agglomerations, with several lines and generally high frequent service.
- RE: RegioExpress: local trains to access the region.
- IR: InterRegio: are the workhorses of Swiss transit. They reach across two or three cantons, for instance from Geneva, along Lake Geneva through Vaud, and all the way to Brig at the far end of the Valais.
- IC: InterCity: stops at major cities (Geneva, Lausanne, Fribourg etc.)
- ICN: InterCity Tilting Train Same kind of product as IC, but using tilting trains instead of standard/double-decked trains
- CityNightLine: specially equipped night trains to
- the Netherlands (from Zurich and Basel)
- Austria (from Zurich)
- Denmark (from Basel)
- Germany (from Zurich and Basel)
- EXTra: Charter train or special train added when an exceptionally heavy traffic is expected.
Regional trains are sometimes operated by another Swiss railways operator (for example, the Bern S-Bahn services operated by the BLS AG.)
SBB also operates international EuroCity and EuroNight trains while within Switzerland, while Deutsche Bahn operates InterCityExpress services to, from, and (a few services) within the country serving Swiss cities such as Interlaken, Bern, Basel, Zürich, and Chur. Under the name TGV Lyria the French railway company SNCF operates TGV connections to Switzerland. Lyria SAS, a company established under French law, is a subsidiary of the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF – French National Railway Company) which owns 74%, and the Chemins de Fer Fédéraux Suisses (CFF – Swiss Federal Railways) which owns 26%. TGV Lyria serves several Swiss cities including Geneva, Lausanne, Basel, Zürich, Bern, and Interlaken. It also provides services to certain locations including Brig in the Valais especially during the winter season to provide a connection for tourists mainly visiting the south-eastern Swiss Alps. These connections are marketed under the name of TGV Lyria des Neiges.
SBB is also offering additional services for their customers. For a few years, SBB has been pushing their program for new digital offers (SBB Digital) and promoting new digital service ideas for their customers. As examples SBB starts a collaboration with the new taxi service Uber, with the recruiting matchmaking service jacando or with their own co-working space in Zurich.
SBB has already won one of the most important CRM awards in Switzerland for their SBB Digital activities.
Tickets and pricing
Tickets for the trains are relatively expensive compared with other world rail ticket prices. There are two classes, second class and first class. Tickets are half-price for children not over 16 and holders of half fare cards. Tickets can be bought at automated ticket machines in all railway stations or at ticket offices. Tickets are routinely checked, (particularly on IC, ICN, IR, and international [TGV, ICE, etc.] trains; checks on regional trains (particularly S-bahn) are more sporadic. Some RE routes are checked, or, as the Swiss call it, "controlled" (the system of ticket-checking is called the "Kontrollsystem"), more than others. Some ticket types and prices as of February 2016:
- Tickets between two long-distance destinations: These tickets allow a passenger to board a train between two destinations or a train which will make a transfer. The price of an adult second-class ticket between Zurich and Geneva is 87CHF.
- Tickets in Tariff zones: Switzerland is divided into Tariff zones, such as the ZVV in the Zurich Area, for local travel; two- or 24-hour tickets are available for one or more zones, and are valid on most forms of public transportation within the zones. A 24-hour second-class ticket for all zones in the Zurich Network costs 33.60CHF.
- Annual passes are available, requiring a photograph of the ticket-holder:
- Zone passes: These passes apply in Tariff zones and provide access to public transit in the zones paid for. Travel outside the tariff area can be added when necessary by purchasing aAnschlussbillet (extension ticket). The yearly cost for an adult in second-class with all zones in the Zurich Network is 2160CHF.
- GA Travelcard: this ticket grants access to all public transportation in Switzerland. The yearly cost for an adult in second-class is 3655CHF.
- Half-fare card: a card which entitles people over the age of 16 to buy tickets (except yearly tickets) at half-price. The cost of a one-year half-fare card is 185CHF from August 8, 2015.
- Extension Tickets: these tickets extend a zone pass or other ticket to apply in more zones for up to 24 hours. A ticket for a second class, 24 hour, 1-2 zone upgrade is 8.60CHF in the Zurich area.
There are many other tickets such as Night tickets, Youth cards, several day tickets, punch cards, and special tickets for tariff zones, but the above are the most common.