SBB: Election advertising allowed at train stations

For the cantonal elections in Zurich and Lucerne in April, SBB is allowing election advertising at smaller stations on a trial basis. The four major parties FDP, SVP, SP and CVP had requested this from SBB. However, they now disagree with the trial installation.

The big four parties would like to be right in the middle of things when thousands of passengers rush through the train stations at rush hour. With flyer campaigns, croissants and talks, they would like to convince commuters of their election goals and concerns. "We would not stand in anyone's way," FDP Secretary General Stefan Brupbacher told SDA. We don't want to annoy people, after all, we need their vote.

Until now, however, SBB has always put a spoke in the parties' wheel: election advertising was only allowed on posters, but not in the form of campaigns. This is now to change on a trial basis. Brupbacher confirmed an article in the Aargauer Zeitung, according to which SBB allows election advertising at train stations. The big four parties had written a letter to SBB asking for this possibility.

SBB is now launching a trial for the cantonal elections in Lucerne and Zurich in April and will then decide whether the parties will also be allowed to advertise ahead of the national elections in the fall. For the time being, election advertising is only permitted at smaller locations - but not at the Railcity locations in Zurich, Winterthur and Lucerne. However, according to Brupbacher, it is unclear whether the parties will make use of this possibility. They are glad that SBB is allowing the trial. But the whole thing is far too expensive and too bureaucratic.

The biggest problem, he says, is that you have to submit an application several weeks in advance. However, election advertising is often organized spontaneously, says Brupbacher. In addition, SBB wants money for the use of the station. The rates are about the same as those of non-profit organizations. For Brupbacher, these costs are in contradiction to the Swiss political militia system, which is dependent on information. Moreover, non-profit organizations are usually in a better financial position than the "financially strapped parties.

Brupbacher is now demanding that SBB dismantle its "Chinese wall. If SBB wanted money from the politicians, they would also be besieged. It is therefore hoped that SBB will accommodate the parties and present a less bureaucratic solution.

SBB spokesman Reto Kormann believes that SBB has already made enough concessions to the parties. Of course, the parties are welcome to discuss the trial again. But the time for the parties would then become increasingly short. Both the lead time of a few weeks and the tariffs are usual and would also apply to other interested parties. As a politically neutral company, there is no reason to accommodate the parties to any particular extent.

For FDP Secretary General Brupbacher, election advertising with no partner is as difficult as with SBB. Every municipality in Switzerland is less bureaucratic, he says. Which campaigns are allowed where varies from place to place, but at least the municipalities don't charge money for them - at most a writing fee. (sda)

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