Public transportation in Switzerland is generally considered to be good – you can get almost everywhere in the country without a car. What's more, trains and buses generally run on time.
Most of the rail infrastructure is maintained and operated by the state-owned SBB (in French: CFF; in Italian: FFS). Every medium-size town has an SBB railway station. Apart from the SBB, there are several private train operators (an SBB ticket is also valid).
Most communities offer some bus connections. A major state-owned provider of interurban bus transportation is the "PostBus". The cities of Zurich, Basel, Geneva and Bern have their own tramway system.
There are fleets on all big Swiss lakes. Most of the fleets are used for tourism. Many smaller lakes also have boats for the public. Have a look at the website of the Association of Swiss Navigation Companies.
Tickets are usually expensive. Depending on your needs, you might want to buy one of the following passes, which are all issued by the SBB. You can get them at most railway stations.
With the Half-Fare travelcard you travel half-price on all SBB routes and most other railways as well as on boats, buses and trams. If you are staying in Switzerland for several months and plan to travel longer distances by train from time to time, this card is highly recommend – it pays off very quickly. You have to buy it for a full year (CHF 185.- in 2020).
With a 1-day travelpass for the Half Fare travelcard, you can travel wherever you want to in Switzerland using public transport, as train, boat and on PostAuto, as well as tram and bus networks in most Swiss cities and agglomerations.
This card (add-on to the Half-Fare travelcard) allows you to travel for free after 7 pm. You can only buy this pass if you are between 15 and 25 (you have to buy it for a full year). With Track 7 you can travel very inexpensively, if you time your trips accordingly.
With this GA travelcard you can travel on SBB and most other public transportation networks in Switzerland (including lake boats, private railways, etc.) for free and receive discounts on many mountain railways, with a few minor exceptions. You have to buy it for a time period of at least four months. Many communities offer a limited amount of One-Day-GAs for the price of about CHF 40.00. The ticket is valid for one day and you can travel on Switzerland's entire public transportation network. Check www.tageskarte-gemeinde.ch to see online where and how many tickets are available.
You can buy a car in Switzerland from a Swiss dealership, a car importing company or privately. Dealerships will organize car registration. Import companies deal in cars from outside Switzerland and will handle the import process for you. If you prefer to buy privately, Comparis.ch has a car finder search.
Third part insurance is obligatory in Switzerland. This means that you are covered for injury and damage to others. You can extend the cover to be fully comprehensive, to include theft, damage while your car is parked and legal costs. To have an overview on car insurances have a look at Comparis.ch.
Each canton has an automobile service that conducts technical inspections and issues vehicle registrations. When moving within a canton, it is necessary to send your driver’s licence and vehicle registration papers to the automobile service for updating.
When moving to another canton, it is necessary to request a new licence from the automobile service of the new canton within 14 days of relocation. Licence plates must be registered at the road traffic office.
A range of car rental companies provide services, with major chains located in all main towns and cities.
Mobility is the Swiss car sharing system. You reserve one of the thousands of cars available in Switzerland for when you need one.