GENEVA / LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND – The relative quiet for commuters on the 07:48 RegioExpres train from Lausanne to Geneva was shattered Tuesday morning 9 October by a visit from two cantonal councilors, trailed by a throng of journalists.
The visit was designed to draw attention to the expansion of the rail system in the area, where the train population has doubled in 10 years, from 25,000 to 50,000 passengers a day, and regional trains are handling 27,000 passengers in Lausanne and 13,000 in Geneva.
Passengers in Lausanne and Geneva are being handed brochures Tuesday and Wednesday about the priorities and efforts to meet the explosion in the number of passengers in the next 20 years.
The rail passenger population is expected to double again by 2030, to 100,000, as the population density in the fast-growing Lake Geneva region increases.
Geneva is still debating whether to put two additional rail lines above or underground, but the train stations in both cities are already expanding to accommodate the traffic increases.
The priorities for the 2030 programme, the two councilors told passengers Tuesday, are to double seating capacity between Lausanne and Geneva and increase the frequency of trains on the REV (Lausanne area) and FVG (Geneva area) S-Bahn trains to one every 15 minutes by 2020–2025. Trains currently used on national routes will be replaced with double-decker trains and more efficient trains will be introduced on the S-Bahn.