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The fact that only 87.5 percent of trains arrived within three minutes of their scheduled arrival time has the Swiss up in arms. (Courtesy of Flickr user Israfel Rayne)

Trains Running Three Minutes Behind Anger Swiss People

The Swiss media is very displeased by the late-ness

In New York City, there are several parody sites on just how bad some train lines are. You can even get a late note from the Metropolitan Transit Authority for when the trains get you to work hours late. But in Switzerland, late trains are unacceptable: the fact that only 87.5% of trains arrived within three minutes of their scheduled arrival time has the country up in arms. Jason Karaian at Quartz reports:

Most countries apply a looser definition of being “on time”, and even then they struggle to match Swiss levels of efficiency. Around 90% of British trains ran on time over the past 12 months, although this means within five minutes of schedule for short journeys and 10 minutes for longer ones; only 83.7% trains were on time in the past month. By a five-minute standard, short-haul trains in Germany arrived on time 91.9% of the time in November (the latest figures), but less than 70% on longer routes. Sweden has reported big gains in punctuality in recent years, thanks in part to redefining the on-time window for some trains from five to 15 minutes.

A commenter on that Quartz story says that the Swiss are so serious about their punctuality that announcements go something like this:

Actual announcement in a Swiss train: "Our train currently has a delay of 1 minute and 34 seconds. We apologize for the inconvenience."

According to Karaian, the Swiss media is very displeased by the late-ness. New Yorkers couldn’t be reached for comment, as they are all still waiting on the L train platform. 

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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