Under the rules on passenger rights, you are entitled to the following:
If your journey (or part of your journey) is delayed or cancelled, you can either:
- cancel your journey before commencement and get a full refund of the ticket price;
- if the delay/cancellation occurs after you have already begun your journey, you can return to your point of departure without any additional cost and get a full refund of the ticket price; or
- get a refund on part of the journey if you decide not to continue with the part that is cancelled or delayed.
Example: Mr X has an interview in Geneva and has bought a return ticket from his home in Lenzburg to Geneva. Due to an operational disruption, his departure time from Lenzburg is subject to a major delay. Mr X therefore decides not to commence his journey and is refunded the full ticket price. If the delay had occurred during the journey, Mr x could also have returned immediately to Lenzburg and have been refunded the full ticket price.
If you decide to continue your journey despite a cancellation or delay (e.g. by boarding a later train), then you have made use of the service. Although you are not entitled to a refund, you are entitled to the following compensation:
- 25% of the ticket price for a delay of more than an hour;
- 50% of the ticket price for a delay of more than two hours.
Example: Mr Y wants to spend a long weekend in Ticino and has bought a return ticket from his home in Gossau to Lugano. On his return journey there is a delay and he arrives in Gossau more than an hour later than the scheduled arrival time. He is therefore entitled to 25% of the ticket price for the return journey in compensation.
The transport company must generally pay the compensation within 30 days of submitting the claim. Compensation may take the form either of vouchers – providing they are valid indefinitely and for any destination – or cash payment. Compensation is also paid if delays are a result of natural disasters such as landslides or falling rocks.
To avoid unnecessary work, compensation is only paid out if it amounts to more than CHF 5. This means that the minimum ticket price must be CHF 10 for delays of more than two hours and CHF 20 for delays of more than an hour.
There is no compensation for delays on cable railways or boats because these forms of transport are more often affected by severe weather conditions.
For delays of more than an hour, transport companies must also provide passengers with refreshments if these are readily available at the station or on the train.
Holders of travel cards
Travel card holders who are repeatedly subject to delays or cancellations are entitled to compensation from the transport company. Detailed information is available at www.swisspass.ch/passenger-rights.
Travel card holders generally have difficulty in proving they have been subject to delays because they do not hold a ticket for a specific time or journey. Therefore, to obtain compensation as a travel card holder you must provide reasonably convincing arguments supporting your claim.