Why Zurich is ranked the best city in Europe for public transport

From excellent rail and bus links to being an early adopter of ‘sharing mobility’, Zurich is ranked first out of all European cities for mobility.

Why Zurich is ranked the best city in Europe for public transport
Photo: Depositphotos

The study took into account tram and train lines, along with bus routes and newer forms of mobility like car sharing and e-scooters. 

Zurich ranked world’s best city for prosperity and social inclusion

The total population of the city and its surrounds was then divided by the available mobility options, while other factors like daily riders, travel times and costs of travel were also considered. 

Of the 1.5 million people living in the canton of Zurich, the Zürcher Verkehrsverbund (Zurich Transport Authority) estimate that one in two uses public transport to travel to work or school. 

Easy access to public transport also plays a major role, with a previous study finding that every single Zurich resident lives within 500 metres of a tram, train or bus stop. 

How do Zürchers get around? 

In total, the report found that Zurich residents (Zürcher) are served by more than 60 different tram, train and bus routes. 

The city’s S-Bahn (metro) network, with 171 stations and 26 lines, ranked well for its urban connections as well as those to the neighbouring cantons of Aargau, Schaffhausen, Schwyz, Thurgau and St. Gallen.

Approximately half a million people ride the Zurich S-Bahn network each day. 

The Zurich tram network includes 15 lines, while the city is also served by extensive bus connections. 

Although it was slower on the uptake than some other European cities, Zurich now boasts a large range of e-scooter and car sharing options. 

Read more: E-scooters to return to the streets of Zurich

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Zurich was the only city in the report to receive a perfect score for rail and bus links, although the price of a one-way ticket – at CHF4.40 (€4) – was the most expensive of any city in the top ten. 

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Swedish government shelves plans for two fast train links

Sweden's government has called for a halt to planning to faster train links between Gothenburg and Borås and Jönköping and Hässleholm, in a move local politicians have called "a catastrophe".

Swedish government shelves plans for two fast train links

In an announcement slipped out just before Christmas Eve, the government said it had instructed the Swedish Transport Administration to stop all planning for the Borås to Gothenburg link, stop the ongoing work on linking Hässleholm and Lund. 

“The government wants investments made in the railway system to first and foremost make it easier for commuting and cargo traffic, because that promotes jobs and growth,” infrastructure minister Andreas Carlson said in a press release. “Our approach is for all investments in the railways that are made to be more cost effective than if the original plan for new trunk lines was followed.” 

Ulf Olsson, the Social Democrat mayor in Borås, told the TT newswire that the decision was “a catastrophe”. 

“We already have Sweden’s slowest railway, so it’s totally unrealistic to try to build on the existing railway,” he said. We are Sweden’s third biggest commuting region and have no functioning rail system, and to release this the day before Christmas Eve is pretty symptomatic.”

Per Tryding, the deputy chief executive for the Southern Sweden Chamber of Commerce, complained that the decision meant Skåne, Sweden’s most southerly county, would now have no major rail infrastructure projects. 

“Now the only big investment in Skåne which was in the plan is disappearing, and Skåne already lay far behind Gothenburg and Stockholm,” he said.

“This is going to cause real problems and one thing that is certain that it’s going to take a very long time, whatever they eventually decide. It’s extremely strange to want to first suspend everything and then do an analysis instead of doing it the other way around.”  

The government’s instructions to the transport agency will also mean that there will be no further planning on the so-called central parts of the new planned trunk lines, between Linköping and Borås and Hässleholm and Jönköping. 

Carlson said that the government was prioritising “the existing rail network, better road standards, and a build-out of charging infrastructure”.