Discover Zurich with Whim

By Whim • June 1, 2021
Tram in Zürich

Currently the second most livable city in the world, Zurich offers its visitors top-rated sights, plenty of cultural offerings and, of course, the eponymous lake Zurich to relax. Compared to other European metropolises, Zurich is not exactly a giant with its 88 km2, but still poses a challenge on foot.

Fortunately, Zurich has a highly efficient public transportation system that allows residents and visitors to easily explore the city, including all its suburbs. The comprehensive network consists of Zurich’s legendary trams as well as buses, trains and even boats. In addition, there are so-called micromobility providers, such as e-scooters and e-velos, which optimally complement the city’s mobility offerings. These services can currently be booked in the Whim app.

Public transportation in Zurich

The tram is the most common form of public transportation in Zurich. Electric trams have rumbled through the city streets since the late 19th century. Today, there are 15 tram lines and more than 300 trams on 172 kilometers of track. The connected bus system perfectly covers all blind spots in the tram network. In the city center, tram or bus stops can be found at an average distance of 300 meters. The system is divided into zones, with the heart of the city – including Zurich’s main train station and the Old Town – located in zone 110. All public transport is managed by the cantonal Zurich Transport Association, or ZVV.

Get to know and love the ZVV!

As the first transport association in Switzerland, the ZVV has been moving Zurich’s public life since 1990. The ZVV itself does not own a single means of transport. These are operated by the transport companies that are part of the association, such as the Züricher Verkehrsbetriebe VBZ for or the cantonal SBB. The great advantage of the ZVV is obvious. Thanks to it, all public transport in the city and beyond can be used with a single ticket. Good to know, but what does it cost?

ZVV zones and ticket prices

The ticket system is quite simple: The Zurich cantonal network is divided into zones. So you don’t buy tickets for a trip, but for a zone. The network of the city of Zurich (called VBZ) consists of one zone, zone number 110. Tickets are valid in the selected zones for a certain period of time. To get around the city (zone 110), a 24-hour day pass costs CHF 8.60, and a one-way ticket for one hour costs CHF 4.30. Children up to 5 years old travel for free, while 6-16 year olds pay the so-called half fare. Unfortunately, the popular Uetliberg viewpoint and the airport are not located in zone 110. For these destinations, a zone upgrade for 1-2 zones is required (CHF 4.20 valid for one hour or CHF 8.20 valid for 24 hours). All of these tickets can be purchased at ticket machines at almost every stop. Most machines now accept credit cards. A CHF 90 fee will be charged for using public transport without a valid ticket.

ZVV timetable

Public transportation in Zurich runs between 5:00-0:30. On weekends, night buses run to all parts of the city. Most of them depart from Bellevue and also pass Central and Escher-Wyss Platz. 

However, when using the night buses, a surcharge of CHF 5 must be paid for each valid ticket. This applies to pre-purchased day tickets as well as to the Zurich Card. In addition, there are local night trains (S trains) on weekends that will take you almost anywhere in Zurich – surcharge also required.

Zurich on a whim

In addition to public transport, Zurich also offers many other options for getting from A to B quickly and easily. This is where Whim – your all-in-one mobility app – comes into play: With the Whim app, you currently have access to e-bikes from BOND as well as e-scooters from TIER and VOI. Perfect for the first and last mile or if you just don’t feel like using public transport. 

E-bikes from BOND

In the Whim app, you will find e-bikes from the Swiss provider BOND Mobility. As the world’s first provider of stationless e-bike sharing, BOND Mobility develops premium e-pedelecs designed in Switzerland that reach up to 45 km/h. 

BOND’s pricing model consists of an activation fee and a per-kilometer ride fee: 

  • Activation fee: CHF 1
  • Fee per kilometer: CHF 0.89

E-velos from BOND are currently available in Zurich. You can only park the e-bike within the business area in a publicly accessible area. In the Whim app you can see if you are outside the BOND business area and if you have to park the bike somewhere else. You can find more interesting facts about the use of e-bikes in Switzerland here.

E-scooters from VOI & TIER 

Booking an e-scooter in Zurich is super easy, fast and simple with Whim. The big advantage of Whim is that several e-scooter providers are united in one app and you don’t need the separate apps of all providers.

Whim allows you to easily search for the nearest e-scooter in the app. Once you have selected your e-scooter, you can either unlock it by scanning the QR code on the scooter handlebars with your camera, or you can select the desired e-scooter directly in the app and press the “Unlock Scooter” button. Again, you can expect an activation fee and a per-minute ride fee:

  • Activation fee: CHF 1 with the providers TIER and VOI.
  • Fee per kilometer: CHF 0.39 with the provider VOI
  • Fee per kilometer: CHF 0.40 with the provider TIER

Swisspass and the Zürich Card

The SwissPass is Switzerland’s public transport chip card and is also accepted by ZVV, as long as they are the right types. Accepted are:

  • NetzPass (personal annual and monthly pass)
  • 9-UhrPass (personal annual and monthly pass)
  • Z-Pass (personal annual and monthly subscription)
  • BonusPass (personal annual subscription) 

Finally, we would like to briefly introduce the Zürich Card. It is valid beyond the zone 110 also for the route to the airport and back to the city. It takes you to the small mountains, Uetliberg and Felsenegg outside Zurich and includes numerous discounts for many museums and other cultural institutions in the city. The Zürich Card is priced at CHF 27 for 24 hours and CHF 53 for 72 hours. A good deal if you are planning to use public transport and want to visit at least one museum. The Zürich Card is available at most ticket machines, VBZ Ticketerias, at the tourist information office at the main train station and of course online. 

What are you waiting for? Download the Whim app now and enjoy the latest mobility offers from TIER, VOI and BOND with Whim. And there is one thing we can already tell you: More mobility providers that will make traveling in and around Zurich even more convenient will follow soon!

Featured image: Bing Hao via unsplash