After the coronavirus pandemic many people no longer need their GA travelcard from the Swiss railways. Elsewhere, however, the flat-rate sales idea is finding increasing favor.
At the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), sales figures for flat-rate travel tickets GA (Generalabonnement) are falling sharply. This is because many people work from home and free travel throughout the country for a year is hardly worth it.
But in another area the price model with the one-time payment and subsequent free use does pay off.
A real bargain
muula.ch is talking about the cultural GA, which is available in five cantons for people under 26. In comparison with the end of 2021, the sales figures there doubled to 1,400 as of September 2022, as the sponsoring association “AG culturel | Kultur-GA” explained to muula.ch.
The increase is even more pronounced in comparison with the figures before the coronavirus pandemic, i.e. at the end of 2019, it said. The number of subscriptions has tripled since then.
The culture GA offers people under 26 years for only 100 Swiss francs a whole year free access to the program of 250 cultural sites and institutions in the cantons of Valais, Fribourg, Neuchâtel, Jura and Bern.
Municipalities can even purchase a discounted annual pass for their young citizens for just 50 Swiss francs per person as part of bulk orders.
And unlike SBB GAs, where usage figures are declining because people are increasingly at home, young people apparently want to do anything but stay at home.
60 percent up
With 2,500 admissions, subscribers to the Culture GA have already visited more cultural venues and events in the first half of 2022 than in the whole of 2021, when 1,550 admissions were recorded. This represents an increase of around 60 percent.
The combination of several venues and events to offer the widest possible range of activities for young people is therefore being well received.
Cultural venues, institutions or event organizers can join the project at any time free of charge. For every admission made with a Culture GA, the association refunds an amount to the partner location, it said about the uncomplicated mode of operation.
The association does not give any information about the profitability. However, the 1,400 GAs result in an income of 140,000 Swiss francs at the full price of 100 Swiss francs. And the expenses for the 2,500 admissions are probably a mixed calculation, because some museums are free for young people and concerts often offer special conditions.
The 2,500 current admissions in the first semester multiplied by, say, 20 Swiss francs would result in an expense of 50,000 Swiss francs. So it should pay off, depending on how high the administration costs still are.
Almost 230 places are already such partners of the Culture GA. This means that thousands of events are accessible to holders free of charge every year. The Culture GA covers a large offering of cultural venues and festivals in the area of use, the editors of the GA pointed out to muula.ch
The Culture GA was created back in 2011 out of a desire to promote a cultural behavior among young people in Switzerland through networking and a free and unlimited offer.
3,000 events attracted
In 2021, the GA Kultur-Abo already crossed the “Röstigraben” and extended its offer to the city of Bern – in cooperation with the Bern Youth Culture Pass. The Culture GA is now valid in the French-speaking part of the canton and the city of Bern, the association further announced.
More than 3,000 events in five cantons can now be attended with just one ticket. The extremely low price of the GA will not pose any obstacle to participation.
Perhaps other cantons will soon join this system and continue to make the SBB look old and frail with its withering GA sales figures.