THE COMPENSATION PAID TO THE SWISS FEDERAL RAILWAYS FOR SERVICES OF A SOCIAL CHARACTER

SWITZERLAND FOLLOWS A DELIBERATE TRANSPORTATION POLICY OF ATTEMPTING TO SECURE BALANCED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN ALL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, TO MITIGATE DIFFERENCES IN CULTURAL AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS, AND TO AVOID EXCESSIVE CONCENTRATIONS IN CITIES AS A RESULT OF POPULATION MIGRATION. THIS POLICY FALLS PRINCIPALLY ON THE RAILWAYS, WHICH ARE REQUIRED TO OFFER TRANSPORT SERVICES EVEN IN REGIONS WITH LIGHT TRAFFIC THAT DOES NOT COVER THE COST OF THE SERVICES OFFERED. ADDITIONALLY, THE RAILROADS ARE REQUIRED TO MAINTAIN SUFFICIENT CAPACITY TO DEAL WITH REGULAR PEAKS. A THIRD COMPONENT OF TRANSPORT POLICY IS THAT CHARGES MUST BE FIXED NOT PRIMARILY TO REFLECT COSTS BUT IN CONSIDERATION OF THE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND CULTURAL INTERESTS OF THE COUNTRY. HIGHWAY AND AIR TRAFFIC HAVE NOW EFFECTIVELY BROKEN THE VIRTUAL MONOPOLY HELD BY THE RAILWAYS ON LONG-DISTANCE TRAVEL, FORCING THEM TO SEEK COMPENSATION FROM THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE DISADVANTAGES THEY INCUR AS A RESULT OF TRANSPORTATION POLICY. CALCULATING THE COMPENSATION HAS PROVED TO BE A DIFFICULT PROBLEM. DRAWING ON EXPERIENCE OF THE GERMAN FEDERAL RAILWAYS, THE SWISS IN THE EARLY 1950'S INITIATED A SYSTEM OF CALCULATING TRANSPORT COSTS AND REVENUES ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE DIFFERENT TRAFFIC CATEGORIES AND SUBCATEGORIES. ALTHOUGH USED PRIMARILY FOR POLICY GUIDANCE IN INVESTMENT, OPERATIONS, AND TARIFFS, THE CALCULATION ALSO LENT ITSELF TO DETERMINING THE SOURCES AND EXTENT OF THE RAIL DEFICIT. FROM THE RESULTING SUMS THOSE COSTS WERE SUBTRACTED THAT WOULD BE INCURRED WHETHER THE PARTICULAR SERVICES WERE OFFERED OR NOT. THE NET SUM TURNS OUT TO BE ABOUT 7% OF TOTAL TRAFFIC REVENUE FOR 1969. CONSIDERATION MUST ALSO BE GIVEN TO THE POSSIBILITY OF ABANDONING THE EXISTING TRANSPORTATION POLICY, THE CONSEQUENCES OF WHICH WOULD FALL CHIEFLY ON OUTLYING AND SPARSELY SETTLED AREAS. PRESUMABLY THE OTHER MODES WOULD CONCENTRATE ON THESE AREAS, WHICH, ALTHOUGH A LIABILITY TO THE RAILROADS, COULD PROVIDE A PROFIT MARGIN TO MOTOR VEHICLE AND AIR SERVICE. THAT IS, THE TRANSPORT SYSTEM WOULD BE GOVERNED BY PURELY COMMERCIAL CONSIDERATION, AND THERE WOULD NO LONGER BE A CONSTRAINED MARKET SECTOR OR SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS. HOWEVER, THIS WOULD INFRINGE THE PRINCIPLE OF PROVIDING EQUAL TREATMENT TO THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. THE SITUATION WOULD NOT BE AFFECTED BY THE INCREASE IN MOTOR VEHICLES, SINCE EVEN THOSE FIRMS AND INDIVIDUALS WITH PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION ARE AT LEAST IN PART DEPENDENT ON THIRD PARTIES. MOREOVER, THE PRODUCTION CAPACITY OF PURELY COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION WOULD BE GOVERNED BY AVERAGE, RATHER THAN PEAK, VOLUMES. FINALLY, TARIFFS WOULD BE ESTABLISHED NOT BY THE REQUIREMENTS OF PUBLIC WELFARE BUT FROM COMMERCIAL CONSIDERATIONS. IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT TRANSPORT POLICY CANNOT BE DECIDED FROM THE STANDPOINT OF TRANSPORT SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT BUT IN ACCORDANCE WITH POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS OF A NATIONAL SCALE. THE EFFECT OF COMPENSATION IN THIS RESPECT IS THAT THE SWISS RAILROADS WILL BE ABLE TO OFFER LOWER TARIFFS, MORE CLOSELY RELATED TO COSTS, FOR SERVICES PARTICULARLY EXPOSED TO COMPETITION, SINCE THESE SERVICES WILL NO LONGER TO THE SAME EXTENT BE REQUIRED TO MAKE A FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION TOWARD THE COSTS INCURRED OUTSIDE THE FREE MARKET SECTOR. IN OTHER WORDS, THE COMPENSATION IS ONE MEANS OF EXECUTING A BALANCED TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • No 7, pp 573-581, 1 PHOT
  • Authors:
    • Wichser, O
  • Publication Date: 1971-7

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00240058
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 8 1971 12:00AM