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4/19/2008
Switzerland Prefers Cars Despite Expensive Transit System
Despite having one of the best transit systems in the world, a survey shows the Swiss still prefer the automobile.

Swiss driving. Photo by Jeff Wilcox/FlickrAn expensive public transportation system and intense anti-motorist government policies have failed to separate the people of Switzerland from their cars. In a survey released Thursday, the gfs.bern Research Institute found that three-quarters of the Swiss depend on the use of their personal automobile at least once per day.

Many consider the Swiss public transport model to be among the most effective in the world. The system is well known for strictly adhering to time tables, whether it be on a bus, train or gondola. A carefully planned network allows travel both within cities and among cities and villages located throughout the country.

To discourage automobile use and direct people onto this transit system, the Swiss government has imposed a policy of heavy taxation and punitive traffic fines on motorists. The country also bans radar detectors and even GPS units that warn of upcoming speed camera locations. Roads have been narrowed, speed bumps installed and parking spaces eliminated in order to discourage automobile use.

"Switzerland is to motoring what Saudi Arabia is to whiskey," author and television host Jeremy Clarkson said in Motorworld. "The Swiss (politicians) can afford to be ravingly anti-car because unlike just about every other country in Western Europe there's no real car industry."

The gfs.bern survey also showed government officials have succeeded in increasing guilt among motorists over carbon dioxide emissions -- carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring gas generated by animals and plants that is essential to life. Nonetheless, 88 percent of Swiss drivers wanted government subsidies to purchase "green" vehicles. The number of motorists who believe cars are harmful to the environment grew by nine percent over a survey done in 2005.

Source: Swiss still in love with their cars (Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, 4/17/2008)



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