Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
Swiss public transportation system is one of the best in the world, but it depends on whether your company/home is located close to public transportation.
How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?
In order to drive legally in Switzerland, you must be at least 18 years old. You can drive using a foreign driving license for up to one year. After this time, however, you need to exchange your license for a Swiss license at your local "Automobile Service" (Strassenverkehrsamt/Service des Automobiles).
When changing a foreign license to a Swiss license, you will be required to take a test, unless you are from a country with which Switzerland has an agreement. These countries are:
Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malta, Monaco, Morocco, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, St. Martin, Sweden, and the United States.
International Driving Permits are also available to people over the age of 18 who hold valid full UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) driving licenses. An IDP is valid for 12 months from the date of issue.
What side of the road do people drive on?
The right hand side of the road.
Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
Living near a well-served stop may mean you do not need a second car or that you don't need a car at all. Switzerland is famous for its reliability, diversity and the extent of its public transportation.
"Transports Publics Fribourgeois/Freiburgischen Verkehrsbetriebe," commonly referred to as TPF, provides an extended bus service in the city of Fribourg area as well as in the whole canton of Fribourg. Within the city of Fribourg, buses on most lines run on a 6- to 12-minute cadence, depending on the hour of the day.
Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
The train is very widely used to get to surrounding areas within the canton of Fribourg and other bigger cities such as Bern, Zürich, Lasanne and Geneva.
The Fribourg suburbs can be reached with the buses leaving from the train station (GFM buses) and going to neighborhoods in the canton of Fribourg, such as Marly, Avenches, etc.
In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
Some driving tips:
- Watch out for the many cyclists and trams in the city.
- Always give way to vehicles coming from your right.
- Traffic flows counter-clockwise in roundabouts and cars to the left have priority.
- Post buses always have the right of way and drivers must sound their horns when approaching blind turns or corners.
- Only hands-free headsets may be used while driving.
- Summer and winter tires need to be changed each season. Winter tires are not legally required but are recommended. You can use summer tires in the winter but if the road conditions are icy or snow is on the road, you should not drive with summer tires. If an accident results from use of summer tires, the insurance company could claim money back from you. In the city center, winters can be mild and you can use summer tires and public transport if streets are icy on occasion. But most people change to winter tires.
- You are required to carry a red breakdown triangle and a first-aid kit in your vehicle.
- It is prohibited for children under 12 years old to sit in the front seat. Children up to the age of 7 must sit in a child seat.
- Be especially careful when setting off from service stations or restaurants on the left side of the road.
- Take care when overtaking; allow more space between you and the car in front so you can see further down the road ahead.
- Switzerland has strict drink driving laws, only allowing 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per liter of blood.
- Front and rear seat belts are obligatory everywhere.
Speed limits, shown below, are implemented rigorously. Radar traps are frequent. Speeding and other traffic offenses are subject to on-the-spot fines.
- Motorway: 120 km/h
- Open road: 80 km/h
- Town: 50 km/h
It’s a good idea is to invest in literature on how to drive in Switzerland. A useful guide in English is Living and Working in Switzerland. (This book is part of Crown's welcome pack.)
Some helpful terms to know while driving:
Umweg – detour
Einfahrt – entrance
Aussfahrt – exit
Benzin – gasoline/petrol
Parken verboten – no parking
Einbahn – one-way
Polizei – police
Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
BUS: At bus stops you have to purchase a ticket before entering the bus. Ticket distribution machines can be found at bus stops. Some small change or a prepaid card can be used to purchase the ticket. You can buy prepaid cards at newspaper kiosks, or buy day tickets, monthly or annual cards at the station. You can also buy an annual pass for all public transportation within the agglomeration of Fribourg. The easiest way to get acquainted with the opportunities is to ask at the central desk, which is located at the main train station.
For regional buses that go outside the city limits of Fribourg, drivers will sell tickets on the bus. Ticket prices will vary depending on your destination.
TRAIN: You need to buy your ticket at one of the desks at the train station or directly at one of the machines located in the main hall on the left side. They will charge you extra if you pay on the train (chf5 at present time).
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.