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Basel, Switzerland - Trams Are Free?

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May 18th, 2014, 07:51 AM
  #1
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Basel, Switzerland - Trams Are Free?

French friends of mine just sent a postcard from Basel saying the trams there were free - they said they could just hop on - free trams?

Are trams in Basel free and is this true of Switzerland in general?

Kind of hard to believe though a good thing IMO.
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May 18th, 2014, 08:18 AM
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If you stay overnight, yes.
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May 18th, 2014, 08:25 AM
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Not only in Basel but in most Swiss cities. You get a 24 hr free pass per each hotel night.
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May 18th, 2014, 08:31 AM
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But you have to get it FROM the hotel as I recall.
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May 18th, 2014, 08:31 AM
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and in Lausanne you get a pass for the Metro from your hotel, too.
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May 18th, 2014, 08:35 AM
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I believe that hotels give their guests passes for local transportation.

There is a ticket vending machine at each stop and passengers who do not have some kind of appropriate pass must purchase a ticket. You do not present it to the driver nor validate it in a machine. But tickets may be inspected at any time by transit employees in ordinary street clothes. You, of course, are subject to a fine if you fail to produce a valid ticket.

My last visit to Basel was about six years ago. Has the system remained the same?
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May 18th, 2014, 08:43 AM
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Yes and no, Dukey. And no, pvoyageuse. The hotel will give you a pass (it's basically your registration and receipt that you paid the local tax), but if you book in advance, print the booking confirmation and take it with you, that covers your ride from the train station/airport to your hotel. This is obviously not a 24-hours pass, it covers arrival and departure days and all the days inbetween.

k_marie - yep, it's still the same system.
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May 18th, 2014, 08:49 AM
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My friend's exact words: "In Basel trams run everywhere and are free - everybody including us ride in them"

she makes it sound like everyone just hops on trams sans ticket because they are free - I'll have to ask her about the hotel thing.

so my question is if the trams are free to folks staying overnight in a hotel, as they did, do you get a pass to show the conductor - obviously I guess - I just think my friends thought the trams were free for everyone and had no such pass and just hopped on - mistakingly so perhaps even though they were entitled to ride free with a pass they had none.

And they said in their postcard:

In Basel there are usually no pedestrian crossing - people cross streets anywhere - seems dangerous to me but people are used to it"

these are French folk writing - I assume they are talking about a pedestrianized street and not the city in general where you have no pedestrian crossings but folks on foot just willy-nilly cross the street?

Anyway an interesting take - and they loved Basel - talking about a food cafe in some church - "a huge old church where, on top of religious services they have cocnerts and a tiny restaurant in another chapel"

she continues about Basel "We had a ride across the river Rhein on a small boat, on a thread across the Rhine - and at some places we had to most wonderful hot chocolate!"

"No war has destroyed Basel's center which has beautiful old houses, mostly painted"

I always thought Basel was a gem of a city over overlooked in a Switzerland whose tourists gravitate towards Alpine areas.

Basel sounds great - free trams and great hoc chocolates!
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May 18th, 2014, 08:50 AM
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Ingo answered my question before I finished posting - the hotel ass question. Danke!
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May 18th, 2014, 09:01 AM
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You're welcome, Pal. They probably assumed the trams are free because a) most people riding them buy monthly/annual passes and don't need to validate(stamp) their tickets and b) they themselves didn't realise they have the hotel guest pass that covers the tram/bus rides.

http://www.bvb.ch/en/tickets-fares/m...-ticket-tnw_en

That "huge old church with the cafe" is probably Elisabethenkirche. Been there, saw the cafe. But it's not really that old, at least for Basel standards. 19th century, I think. Looks older because of Neo-Gothic style.

Yes, these little ferries are fun to ride. And they are NOT free. LOL

Basel is a very interesting city with lots of things to do and see, often overlooked by travelers - which is their loss.
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May 18th, 2014, 09:10 AM
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It may seem the trams are free because there is no ticket collection or validation...until the plain-clothes employee checks the ticket or pass of every passenger.

Over the course of four years when my daughter lived there, I used the trams in Basel many times. Only once were tickets checked.
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May 18th, 2014, 09:31 AM
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I'm on the trams almost every day and no, they are not free. Sounds like your French friends were freeloading unless they were staying in a hotel that gave them a pass for the local transit network. There are notices in most tram cars about the fines for riding without a valid ticket or pass.

My monthly pass, which covers trams, trains and buses in Basel's city and country cantons (with a few dips into other cantons), costs 73 francs.

I get hit by the "control" ticket checkers about once every two months. Of course, I always have my pass with me. Most people are honest. In five-plus years in Basel, I've seen the ticket checkers nab cheats about three times.
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May 18th, 2014, 09:48 AM
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A lot of people do freeload on systems that don't require validation. I'm surprised at the cities who do that, but somehow they figured it wasn't worth their trouble, I guess. I remember they were like that in the Netherlands, as I recall, and in Vienna.
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May 18th, 2014, 10:03 AM
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> systems that don't require validation

How do these systems work at all?
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May 18th, 2014, 11:09 AM
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Ingo, thanks for your clarification. I was not aware that if you took your booking confirmation with you that would cover your local transportation to the hotel. I'll be sure to remember that the next time I take the Lausanne Metro down to my hotel in Ouchy.
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May 18th, 2014, 01:32 PM
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Caution, Dukey! I referred to Basel only. No idea if that works in Lausanne. I know about Basel, because I emailed the Basler Verkehrsbetriebe (public transport company) before I traveled. They confirmed in their reply that the printed booking confirmation is valid for riding the trams from the train station to the hotel.
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May 18th, 2014, 01:51 PM
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If you fly into Geneva, there is a ticket-machine in the luggage area before customs. You get a free ticket to the city center. It is valid for 80 minutes on bus and train. Keep your flight ticket, you may be asked to show it on request.
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May 18th, 2014, 02:51 PM
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http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/wo...ning.html?_r=0

Stockholm has taken fare dodging to a new level, making a political statement -= Paris has or had such a movement as well on how to dodge fares in the belief that public transit should be free - and I agree just like roads and sidewalks are free. But I do not condone cheating like places like Basel would seem to suffer due to infrequent or lax controls - Paris groups figure if you get caught once every X times it is cheaper to dodge the fairs - in that case hop the turnstiles - and pay the fine than buy tickets each time.
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Jun 26th, 2014, 02:00 PM
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an update on my French friends' take on Basel trams - one of them just came to visit and I asked her about the 'free' trams in Basel.

And she said "yes nobody bought and ticket and everyone just hopped on so we did the same - they're free, at least in the city center"

I did not feel like arguing or saying that I thought she was naive since probably most locals have some kind of passes and it's often the case that the honor system is used in Switzerland - like on trains with that big image of an eye is posted in every train car - saying the honor system but we're keeping an eye on you -meaning spot checks. (like k marie and Wasser above confirm)

I really think it is naive of my friends to assume the trams were free - and they did not have any pass from any hotel - they just said 'no one bought tickets but just hopped on"

well if the controllers had come on they would have been in for a big surprise.

And they were not 'free loading' on purpose - they sincerely thought the trams were free!
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Jun 26th, 2014, 02:57 PM
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When you first posted this story, Pal, I was surprised that your friends didn't notice the ticket vending machine at every tram stop.

They feature a map of the public transport system and the rate of the selected ride. In the absence of a monthly pass, a "Tageskarte" (daily card) or other multiple rides card, one needs to buy a ticket.

Also, the multiple rides cards need to be validated (stamped) for every ride. They're valid 1 hour from start of the ride. In other words, one can hop on and off within the hour time frame.

Weisser Tee: I'm shocked to read that you must now pay CHF73 for your monthly pass, of course I haven't bought one in many years....that's inflation!
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