Switzerland will introduce new technology that allows public transport users to pay for their journey after their trip, becoming the first country in the world to offer such a service, according to the national transport authority.

A tram on a busy shopping street in Zurich
Switzerland is introducing an automatic ticketing system for public transport users ©Brigitte Blättler via Getty

Switzerland has been testing automatic ticketing since 2018, a service that reverses the payment process on public transport journeys. So commuters will no longer need to purchase cardboard tickets to board buses, trains, trams or metros throughout the country. Instead, they can register their journey via a smartphone app, clocking on at the start of the trip and clocking off at the end. The system calculates the price of the trips and, at the end of the day, invoices the cost incurred. 

While CH-Direct (the national transport authority) says the system is a world-first, it's a pretty similar concept to contactless public transport payment options offered in cities like London and New York. Almost 90,000 people have started using the service and it's expected to be rolled out fully by 2020. CH-Direct says that commuters love the idea of "spontaneous travel," hopping on buses without the need to queue for tickets or search through their wallets for loose change or bank cards as they're rushing to get to work on time. Though they still have the option to do so if they don't wish to download the app.

Commuter scans smartphone for payment at subway ticket barrier
Smartphone public transport payment is becoming increasingly popular ©Getty

The new automatic ticketing service is currently available through apps such as "lezzgo", "EasyRide," "Zürcher Verkehrsverbund," "TCS" and "Fairtiq".

Explore related stories

A close up of a black woman eating a slice of pizza outside a pizza restaurant in NYC

Budget Travel

How to see New York City on a budget

Sep 29, 2023 • 8 min read