Picture disclaimer: Some of the pictures in this article were taken before masks were required or under strict adherence to protection concepts.
It is a truly wonderful thing to take the train to a beautiful corner of Switzerland, cycle off into the sun and be chauffeured home by train in the evening. Many cycling enthusiasts have long since discovered such day trips by train for themselves.
New challenges, new rules of the game
The story of bicycles and the railway is not all about romance. It is also a story of many challenges, organisational difficulties and lengthy discussions. New rules will therefore come into effect for the 2021 cycling season. They all aim to tackle these challenges and discussion points.
The situation is undoubtedly challenging for our customers but also for us passenger attendants. We sometimes have to make decisions that are not popular or particularly pleasant. For example, when we have to point out the rules to cyclists for the sake of safety, or even have to leave them at the station. This is not about punishing anyone. Safety simply does not allow for endless goodwill or problem resolution. Especially when escape routes are blocked.
Just as our goodwill options are finite, so is the space on our trains. It is therefore not possible to load every mountain bike, no matter how large, on the train. Large and heavy bikes can also be handed over conveniently at the station and transported.
Plan well and spare your nerves
Organisation is the key to a carefree journey by bike and train. A close look at the online timetable, a sufficient time buffer when boarding and changing trains, as well as a good amount of patience and understanding contribute to a successful trip. And if you want to take as little risk as possible, you should preferably use alternative travel routes – take the comfortable InterRegio service instead of the overcrowded InterCity train. Or take the slightly slower but usually more beautiful route to your destination. And if you can, it is much more convenient to travel on weekdays rather than weekends.
You will notice that my colleagues and I may be under pressure over the coming weeks. Unfortunately, we are not magicians and cannot fulfil every wish and expectation. That is why we will also be reliant on the understanding, patience and cooperation of our customers. Because that is how trips to the wonderful corners of the country will be best remembered.
I was born in 1997 and now work as a passenger attendant for SBB. Every day I travel all over Switzerland and experience many an exciting story. We “conductors” could fill entire books about our day-to-day work. This is also what prompted me to write about my life on the train in my blog, EinfachRetour. EinfachRetour is available at einfachretour.com and on Twitter at @einfachretour.
SBB employees report
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