Zürich : city transport
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One of the great advantages of Zürich is that you can enjoy all the buzz of big city life in a compact setting that’s no larger than a single arrondissement of Paris: covering the city on foot is perfectly feasible, even pleasurable. The main Bahnhofstrasse, from the station to Bürkliplatz, is only a bit over 1km long. Nonetheless, Zürich’s city transport system is legendary for its efficiency, punctuality and convenience, with the city centre and surrounding suburbs linked by a cat’s cradle of bus, tram and S-Bahn routes joining every point of interest to just about every other with minimum hassle. You could even take advantage of the city’s free bike-rental scheme. Taxis, in a place where even millionaire bankers use the tram, are an extravagance; aside from the numerous public ranks, you can hail a cab in the street, or order one from Züri Taxi (01/222 22 22), Taxi 2000 (01/444 44 44), or Taxis for the Disabled (01/272 42 42).

Trams, buses and trains
After a referendum in the 1970s, in which Zürchers rejected a proposal to build an underground metro system, the city has focused on its eco-friendly and ubiquitous trams, while easing most cars off the city-centre streets. A dozen tram lines weave through the centre, and dozens of bus routes fan out from suburban termini to outlying districts. S-Bahn suburban trains, most originating from or passing through the main station, add a third dimension, linking to Zug and Einsiedeln in the south and Winterthur, Schaffhausen and Stein-am-Rhein in the north, as well as serving the nearby Uetliberg summit. Boats are covered in the box opposite. All public transport operates daily from around 5.30am to after midnight.

Ticketing is organized by zone, with the city centre (but not Uetliberg or the airport) covered by Zone 10. Tickets bought from the machines at all stops can be used for all transport – both land- and water-based – within each zone, with unlimited changes permitted. The most useful Zone 10 ticket is the Fr.7.20 Tageskarte (press the green button), valid for 24 hours; the blue “Stadt Zürich” button gives a Zone 10 ticket valid for an hour (Fr.3.60); while the yellow “Kurzstrecke” button gives a short-hop one-way ticket (Fr.2.10) good for up to five stops – the black panel lists the stations for which it is valid. Swiss Pass holders travel free, but Eurailers and InterRailers must pay full price.

On Friday and Saturday nights only (roughly 1–2.30am), a handful of night buses depart from Bellevue for various suburban destinations, for a flat Fr.5 – other tickets and passes are not valid.

Bikes, mopeds and motorbikes
The station has the usual bike-rental facilities (daily 6am–10.50pm), but, if there is high demand, you might have to resort to the other SBB rental facility at Oerlikon station, in a northern suburb. Zürich is also one of the cities offering free bikes for a Fr.20 returnable deposit on production of ID. There are six locations dotted throughout the city (all daily 7.30am–9.30pm): the main one is on Zollstrasse next to platform 18 of the station (open year-round), and the most accessible others are at the Globus department store on Usteristrasse, at Theaterplatz, and outside Bahnhof Enge (all May–Oct only).

Erne’s Euromotos, Sihlquai 67 (01/272 77 72) can rent you motorized two-wheel transport – anything from a 50cc scooter (Fr.50/day) to a monster 955cc Triumph Daytona (Fr.170/day). Staff speak English, and offer weekend discounts.

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