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Driving & Public Transport

Zurich - Driving & Public Transport


Public Transport

Zurich's public transportation network is excellent. The network includes the use of buses, trams (or streetcars), trains and boats. Zurich Canton has 43 zones, and the price for your trip depends on the number of zones you travel. There are also time limits for each trip. The integrated transport system allows the same fare card to be used on all types of public transportation. Even though some locals may own cars, some locals still prefer to commute daily via public transport to avoid the stress of handing peak hour traffic en-route to work each day.

The public transport system runs on a very precise, to the minute schedule. A bus scheduled to arrive at 8.46am means exactly so – even a slight delay of 5 minutes is considered unusual, and you will find impatient locals complaining. In many cases, many users of Zurich's public transportation follow a strict routine to coincide their activities and appointments with the public transportation schedules.

To board a tram, press the 'red' button located near the doors. To alight from the buses, you should always indicate by pressing the stop button in advance, as not all buses will stop at every stop. For more information about Zurich's public transportation, visit this website.

The bus, S-Bahn and tram network operate daily from 530am to midnight, with additional services during peak hours. There is a nighttime service from Fridays through Sundays to cater for easy travel after nighttime/weekend activities. You can pick up an English pamphlet on the route network at all Ticketerias. Ticketerias or ticket stations can be found in train stations and major tram / bus stops). Tickets must be purchased before boarding any transport system – there are no ticket machines onboard the vehicles for sale. All tickets must be validated before boarding. Inspectors do make random checks, and there is an immediate fine for traveling with an invalidated ticket.

If you need to hire a taxi, you should call for one, or wait at a taxi rank or line. Call a taxi at 044 222 22 22, or 044 444 4444, or 044 777 7777. All fares are metered and additional surcharges apply. For the disabled, call 01 272 4242 for specialized taxi services.

During May and October, the weather is pleasant for biking enthusiasts. Bicycles can be rented free of charge all year around at the Zurich main station for short-term expatriates. For longer-term expatriates who wish to cycle on a more permanent basis during the warmer months, a registration sticker (Velo-Vignette) must be purchased and attached to the bicycle. A registration sticker costs CH6 (includes liability insurance) and is valid for a year. The stickers and can be bought at post offices, bike shops or kiosks.


Private Car

Swiss motorways are rated among the best in the world. The motorways are well maintained, and the road network is dense and easily accessible. However, in winter (from November to May), expect the mountain passes to be closed due to heavy snowfall. Vehicles using pass roads that remain open must use snow chains.

A motorway tax costs CH40 and is payable each year before January 31st. Petrol / gas stations are open from 8am to 10pm, but some smaller stations close on Sundays.

To drive in Zurich, you will need to have a valid driving license, vehicle registration papers, exhaust test certificate (for Swiss-registered cars only). Expatriates who live in Switzerland for more than one year, and intend to remain in Switzerland longer than one year must apply for a Swiss driving license. The application forms for applying for a Swiss driving license is available at the Motor Vehicle Office located at Uetlibergstrasse 301, Zurich 8045. Tel: 044 468 31 11. You need to take an eye test (you can do this at any approved optician or doctor), and send in a copy of your residence permit, foreign driving license and photographs, together with the application form to the above address. A Swiss driving license usually takes one week and is valid for life. If you change your address, or permanently leave the Canton or Switzerland, you should inform the Motor Vehicle Office. The Swiss driving license is a pocket-sized plastic card with a hologram photograph.

Parking is a problem in Zurich, and is one of the main reasons why even the locals prefer to commute to work. Multi-storey car parks are generally less expensive. The Zurich traffic police are known for their efficiency, so never park your car illegally, even if it is just for a few minutes.


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