What is the importance of public transport

The corona crisis has shown it: Public transport is one of the foundations of Switzerland and works even in extreme cases. But public transport encompasses far more than just offering transport services: around 100,000 people work for public transport, be it for transport companies, in construction or in industry, and thus make an important contribution to Switzerland's gross domestic product.

What is the economic importance of public transport for Switzerland? Where does the greatest added value come from? Which subcontractors are there? A new study by LITRA and Swissrail answers these questions.

Public transport companies with 12.2 billion added value

The rail, tram and bus companies alone generate 12.2 billion francs of added value with their services and thus the largest part of the added value of the entire public transport sector. That is 1.8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). 9.3 billion francs are earned directly and a further 2.9 billion francs indirectly through advance payments. A high 96 percent of the added value occurs in Germany. Around 42,000 people work for the public transport companies. A further 20,000 employees, for example, provide advance payments for transport companies in marketing, in the textile industry and for the insured.

The transport services create 42,300 full-time positions directly and a further 20,000 full-time positions via advance payments. 9.3 billion francs of added value were generated directly in 2018, another 2.9 billion francs indirectly. 1000 passenger kilometers in public transport are linked to 500 francs of added value.

5.3 billion investments every year

In recent years, an average of CHF 5.3 billion has been invested in public transport - i.e. in infrastructure, rolling stock and vehicles. This will generate around 3.6 billion francs of added value domestically. That means: for every franc invested, around 70 cents remain in Switzerland. Around 26,000 people work in infrastructure construction and in the manufacture of trains and buses. Infrastructure investments have a greater employment effect than investments in rolling stock and vehicles. 90 percent of infrastructure products are manufactured domestically, as they are very bulky and difficult to transport.

The production of rail infrastructure, rolling stock and vehicles by planning offices, construction companies and industrial companies directly creates 14,000 full-time positions and a further 11,000 indirect positions through preliminary work. In the past few years, an average of CHF 5.3 billion has been invested in public transport.

Strong rail exports

In contrast, the rail industry is an important player in exports: Almost 40 percent of sales are exported. Around 700 million francs of added value are linked to this turnover. 4,400 people (full-time equivalents) work in the rail industry or for export suppliers in the rail industry. For every full-time position in production for the home market, there are 0.6 full-time positions in production for export. "The products of the Swiss rail industry are valued all over the world for their quality and reliability," said Swissrail President Peter Jenelten at the media conference. "Thanks to the innovation and quality awareness of Swiss industry, we can survive on the international market, even if production costs in Switzerland are higher than in most other countries."

Including the suppliers, 4,400 full-time positions are employed in the Swiss rail export industry. 40% of the CHF 2.9 billion turnover in the Swiss railway industry is exported.

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