I finally have the transit system here down (for my purposes anyway). You can get almost anywhere you want to go in Switzerland without a car. Your options are train, ferry, bus, and tram (above). Googlemaps- I have discovered- knows all of these options! I took the tram the wrong way a few times, but they literally come every five minutes so you just have to get off at the next station and get on going the opposite direction. What has really saved me Is that the trams have tv screens on every car with the current stop, the next three stops, and the end of the line. It is really efficient!
It does cost to ride, and it is based mostly on the honors system. You buy a ticket (or a monthly zone pass in my case) and then just get on the train/ferry/bus/tram. You have to be sure you have it with you though because apparently there are roaming ticket collectors who could ask to see it. If you don’t have it, I think it’s like 100 chf. I have never encountered one. There are still many cars on the road though, so it might be for situations where you have to carry your big screen TV home on the train. This looks pretty challenging.
As for the disposal system here: First of all, I haven’t figured it out completely yet. From what I understand though-for Zürich the canton (to Switzerland like a state is to the US)- you must buy special trash bags (Züri-bags) That are small and cost 2 Chf per bag (something like $2.20).
This is a really high price compared to the gigantic black ones we buy in the US for cents each. Unlike in the US, this is how they charge people for the pick up and encourage recycling (if you can recycle it you don’t have to pay for the Züri-bag space to throw it away). However, recycling is so complicated! There is a certain schedule you must follow that is different for each CITY. Unfortunately, all the city websites are in German. You have to stack up your paper no more than 6 inches thick, tie it with a special string (mentioned in the last post), and stick it on your steps on the correct day of the week. Compost goes in the green street bins on the two days per week it is collected. I have no idea what to do with cardboard. There are PET and aluminum disposal canisters all over the place (which is convenient). I have no idea what to do with plastics other than PET. I know that if any of the rules are not followed there are hefty fines. I think it will be pretty cool once I figure out this schedule, but right now I throw my compost away when no one is looking and collect my other recycling. I am also watching what other people do as always!
Source that helped me figure out this much: http://www.englishforum.ch/daily-life/197248-waste-disposal-recycling-zurich-2014-comprehensive-overview.html
P.S. Just found this right after this post in the front of a large Coop (grocery store):