Literally, the only relationship I have had for the past few years that never disappoints me is my relationship with the public transportation system in Switzerland.
Not kidding. It is a love affair. I am truly in love and it will never go away. Okay, maybe we will fight? I hope not. If we fought and I won, I would like to have the tilting train removed from my trips to the Romandie. If we fought and I lost, I would agree to sit in the kids’ wagon for a month and babysit.
Here’s are 3 things I noticed on Sunday.
The train station in Zurich is AMAZING. They renovated it. Same in Geneva. This is only a good thing. It brings more businesses into the train station, which gives the majority of shop owners a break on Sundays (train stations are open, but 99.999999% of stores are not). It makes the train stations a place of commerce, instead of a place to (sorry) take a potty break. Sometimes on the ground (I’m looking at you, Grand Central Station where I saw a man go number 2!!).
Luzern recently redirected traffic leading into its train station. One lane is reserved for buses, taxis, etc. That is making major traffic for the cars in other lane. Hey, guess what? Don’t take your car. Take the bus or, gasp, WALK. Luzern, win-win from y’all! And, they’re renovating their train station, too. Amazing.
The last thing is crucial. The people employed by SBB (for the most part and I mean EVERYONE I’ve encountered and I take/arrange public transportation more than most) speak multiple languages, attempt to be friendly, and willingly engage in conversation with customers. There is a premium on customer service with SBB/CFF/FFS and the regional service providers. That’s not so common these days. Non-natives like me appreciate knowing more about the best route from Bubikon to Wankdorf (not joking). It’s nice to chat about this with Beat, who comes from Riffelberg, speaks about 20 languages, and can tell me everything about the route, including how many dairy cows I will see. Bravo employees of the public transportation system in Switzerland. Seriously.
Look, I am someone without tons of money. I still invest in my yearly SBB pass (called a “GA” say it outloud and laugh, please. It’s a general pass for all the trains, trams, buses, ships, donkeys, elephants, etc. http://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and-tickets/railpasses/ga.html). Why? Because They make my life infinitely easier and more pleasant. Traveling by train, even in the Kinderwagon, is civilized (for God’s sake, you can drink! ON THE TRAIN!), easy, dependable, and keeps another car off the road.
I’m in love. It’s funny because my “first train” ride in Zurich was my move. The train came from Munich. It was a horrible storm (this is not a joke) and the train hit a fallen tree, derailed, and we had to walk to the nearest bus, in the rain. The journey usually takes about 3 hours, I think. It took me 10 hours to get to Zurich.
But, it was a DB. Not SBB. 😉
I love you, SBB. I just wish I could tweet my love. Fix your Tweeter feed!!
(PS- Can you please talk to ZVV and have them make my train orange again? It goes better with my book. Thanks.)