< Back Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination? How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city? What side of the road do people drive on? Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city. Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options. In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of? Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation? Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination? It is not necessary, but may be more comfortable. The public transportation system, however, is very good, reliable and secure. ↑ Top 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" (Service des Automobiles). A form can be unloaded on their website that specifies what documents need to be sent. (An eye test has to be done at a specialized shop “lunettes” or “opticien.”) 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. You must declare your vehicle to customs when crossing the Swiss border without being asked to do so. Import duties and VAT have to be paid if you have possessed the car for less than 6 moths or if you sell the vehicle during your first 12 months in Switzerland. You have to register your car within 12 months of arrival if it was imported as part of your personal effects. You have to register it within 1 month if it was imported as new. Crown Relocations can gladly assist you with this process. ↑ Top What side of the road do people drive on? People in Switzerland drive on the right hand side of the road. ↑ Top Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city. Buses and trams run between 5 a.m. and midnight. Once stamped, your ticket is valid for an hour or so for transfer on another bus or tram. Apart from M1, the new metro line (M2) is now crossing the city from the north (Place de L'Ours/Tribunal Fédéral) to the south (Ouchy) of Lausanne. ↑ Top Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options. Yes. Information on Swiss railway system and the public transport network of Geneva can be found online. ↑ Top In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of? The buses do not stop automatically at each station; you need to push one of the buttons to ask the driver to stop at the next station. Some driving tips are: 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 (tyres) need to be changed each season. You must carry a red breakdown triangle. It is prohibited for children under 12 years old to sit in the front 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 similar drink driving laws to the UK, only allowing 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per liter of blood. Seat belts front and rear 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. Approved child seats are compulsory for children up to the age of 12 and measuring less than 150 cms. Speed limits Motorway Open Road Town Alcohol % in blood Switzerland 120 km/h 80 km/h 50 km/h 0.05 It’s a good idea to invest in some 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: Entrée - entrance Sortie - exit Essence - gasoline Sens Unique - one-way Police - Police ↑ Top Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation? You can buy tickets at the machine by each bus and train station or at the Geneva tourist office. Monthly or annual tickets can be purchased only at certain stations. Train passes—“carte multi-courses”—can be purchased at any train station (and machines as well). ↑ Top IMPORTANT NOTE: 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.