Swiss Railways Lose Patience as Trains Aren't Punctual Enough

(Bloomberg) -- Switzerland’s railway operator SBB AG is stepping up efforts to tackle slipping punctuality as the number of travelers arriving on time recently fell a 10th of a percentage point to 90.1 percent.

“There’s a real need for action with regard to our punctuality,” SBB spokesman Raffael Hirt said on Thursday. The drop in punctuality is “statistically not relevant,” but SBB is concerned that higher network use along with construction work could add to delays, Hirt said. Management therefore appointed a task force two weeks ago to tackle the problem.

The move comes as public pressure rises, including from website puenktlichkeit.ch, which tracks delays. Compared to Germany, SBB is still doing well. Just below three quarters of long-distance trains run by state-owned Deutsche Bahn AG were on time last year, with the target for this year at 76.5 percent. The German operator is also more tolerant when measuring punctuality, allowing five minutes until an arrival is deemed delayed, while the Swiss only permit three minutes.

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