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Local News Summary of May, 20th

  • SBB train timetable offers new destinations in Romandie and plans more construction works
  • “Agglo Basel” victorious in VAT legal battle
  • Agreement between pension fund of Basel-Stadt and Mülhauserstrasse 26

SBB train timetable offers new destinations in Romandie and plans more construction works

After the large-scale timetable changes which resulted from the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel in 2016, the new train times (to be introduced at the end of the year) are more modest.

Swiss Federal Railway (SBB) passengers will have the opportunity to travel to additional destinations in the Romandie region of the country. At the same time, there will also be more construction works ahead.

With the renovation and construction works, the SBB mainly plans to increase the reliability of the train track network, Philippe Gauderon, head of SBB infrastructure, told the media in Bern on Friday.

From 2017 to 2020, a total of 3,2 billion Swiss francs will be invested per year for this purpose. In order to build in a time-effective manner, the SBB will put more emphasis on longer construction intervals.

In the worst-case scenario, this will cause a temporary closure, for instance on the route Lausanne-Puidoux on the Bern-Lausanne-Geneva route in the summer 2018.  “We are aware of the fact that this is a delicate route,” Mr Gauderon said.

However, the total construction time will be reduced from eight months to about seven weeks through this closure and the costs decrease from 46 million francs to 27 million. And since there will be less work at night, local residents can sleep more easily.

The construction works are set to take place over the holiday season because there will be fewer pupils and travellers in general then. Long-distance passengers can use the Jura-Südfuss route while travellers from Bern or Fribourg to Lausanne can travel via Vevey, Mr Gauderon said. Travel times will be between 15 and 30 minutes longer. All changes and replacement concepts can be viewed on the printed timetables and online.

 Less direct trains in the evenings

In 2018, there will also be construction works between Gelterkinden and Tecknau in the Baselbiet, in Wylerfeld in Bern as well as in Bassersdorf and between Effretikon and Kempthal in the Zurich area. To keep the delays to a minimum during daytime, there will be longer work shifts in the evenings. Because of this, available journeys in the Lucerne-Olten-Basel-Zurich area will end at 10pm every day.

“There will be no quick and direct trains but either two slower direct connections or one quick connection with one change,” Olivier Knuchel, head of national route planning, explained, using the example of the Intercity Basel-Zurich train which will be unavailable during that time. The 30-minute-tact between the large cities shall remain.

More seats and connections for Romandie

The French-speaking part of Switzerland will profit most from the timetable change to come into action on 10 December. The SBB offer more seating opportunities and direct connections for its Romandie route network. For example, the Interregio train on the Geneva Airport-Bern-Lucerne route will also stop in Palézieux again and in Nyon and Morges.

The Interregio trains on the Geneva Airport-Lausanne-Brig route will run hourly and with no stops between Geneva and Lausanne. Travel time between the Valais and Geneva is shortened by eleven minutes that way.

With the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the number of international passengers on the North-South route has also been increased. There is to be a new daily connection between Zurich and Venice. In addition, there will be two daily trains running from Frankfurt to Milan – one via Zurich through the Gotthard and one via Bern through the Lötschberg base tunnel.

There is also an early train through the Gotthard Base Tunnel on the Basel-Lucerne route to Lugano. An hourly train will run on the Zurich-Stuttgart line, including a direct train every two hours.

The SBB representatives are again happy with the train punctuality. In 2016, the set goal of 89 per cent punctuality was almost reached, at 88,8 per cent. Measured until mid-May 2017, there even was an overall punctuality rate of 89,7 per cent.

The preliminary timetable can be viewed on as at 29 May. Special requests or irregularities can be reported until 18 June.


“Agglo Basel” victorious in VAT legal battle


The “Agglo Basel” association has achieved a final victory in its VAT legal battle. The Federal Court has decided that the association’s membership fees do not have to include a value-added taxation.

In its decision from 2 May, the Federal Court agreed fully with the argumentation of “Agglo Basel”, the association stated on Friday. The association organised by private law has members from the Swiss cantons of Aargau, Basel-Stadt, Baselland, and Solothurn as well as Germany and France.

According to “Agglo Basel”, the court decided that there is no exchange of services between the association and its members, which would have to be taxed. The association therefore receives a genuine membership fee with no need for a VAT.

The Federal tax administration saw this matter differently. It assumed that members receive a specific service in exchange for their fee, which would require for a VAT to be paid.

Yet the Federal Administrative Court declared in 2015 that the “Agglo Basel” association does not have to pay VAT due to an exemption clause of the value-added tax law for non-profit-oriented institutions. The Federal Tax Administration followed up on this decision with a renewed claim at the Swiss Supreme Court.

“Agglo Basel” is working on agglomeration programs in the tri-national area and Federal representative for these matters. Public relations are also part of the association and its management.


Agreement between pension fund of Basel-Stadt and Mülhauserstrasse 26

The tenants of Mülhauserstrasse 26 in Basel and the pension fund of Basel-Stadt have reached an amicable settlement.

Two days after arbitration proceedings, the pension fund of Basel-Stadt (represented by Immobilien Basel-Stadt) and the four remaining tenants of Mülhauserstrasse 26 (represented by the Basel Tenants’ Association) have reached an agreement.

During the planned renovation works between September 2017 and August 2018, the tenants will move to a different location and can return to Mülhauserstrasse afterwards.

The open discussions, which had started in autumn 2016, have now reached a satisfactory outcome for all parties involved.