Family train to BO, arriving separately. Passes?

Family train to BO, arriving separately. Passes?

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Posts: 14. This thread is closed.
scatter
scatter
8 posts
new member
Apr 4, 2014 - 4:00 AM

If you kind people can stand to help one more confused traveler trying to make the best of a short vacation we will dance at your wedding, via video maybe.

3 adults train Paris to Bern-already booked in that feeding frenzy that opened this morning. Bern to Wengen for July 4-12. The 12th will be travel day to Zurich for overnight then to airport on 13th for early flight.

One young adult, my 25 yo son on his 1st trip aboard. Arrives Zurich on 4th then train directly to Wengen. Will return with us on 12th to Zurich for flight on 13th.

While in Wengen a proposed itinerary.

Day 1-Recuperate:Day 2-Wengen to Lauterbrunnen, Murren and possibly small walk or on to Grutschalp- Schilthorn, return to Wengen; Day 3- Wengen to Mannlichen, Kleine Scheidegg, possibly walk to Alpiglen, return to Wengen; Day 4- Wengen to Lauterbrunnen for our sons to do early morning paraglide then probably walk or bus to Stechelberg and also take in Trummelbach, return to Wengen; Day 5- Wengen, Grindelwald, First, may take advantage of a tobaggan ride or zipline on one of these trips; Day 6-open (of course any of these days could change in order, weather dependent) Possibility of a rain day roundtrip to Bern for city tour; Day 7-Wengen to Interlaken early for sons to go on a 6 hour "canyoning" adventure while Mom and Day take a Lake Brienz (hear should opt for 1st class) and enjoy a cog ride up to Giessbach Falls for lunch or up the Rothorn (ideas?); Day 8- OMG sleep in! Leave the day to the fates; Day 9- Early am Wengen to Zurich HB for day of exploring and overnight in hotel to make our way for early flight on Day 10 out of Zurich.

Ambitious, YES and we may not fit it all in but want to consider all options when choosing a Pass.

1. Half fare pass. Seems less confusing. I have figured all the prices for all 4 of us including arrival and departure, possible cruises, ziplines, tobaggan, trains, cogs, lifts. Too confusing to list all the possiblities here. Just didn't include the paragliding and the canyoning as those are through private outfits. Full price give or take but hedging to the pricier sided to prevent surprises is 878CHF! That's each.So half fare is 439CHF. Cost of Pass is 133CHF so total is 572CHF

2. Swiss Card. If i understand correctly this would cover total cost of Basel to Wengen to Zurich and from Zurich to Wengen to Zurich for my son. That cost rounded is 85CHF at half fare. Cost of card is 199CHF so total cost is 114CHF. and if (bear with me and my fuzzy math) I deduct the R/T train fare from all other expenditures 439-85=354 half fare for rest of adventures and add the 114 for reduced cost of card total is 468CHF. Can you feel how confused I am? But if it is true the Pass will pay the round trip cost (even if we only go to Zurich HBB and not airport) plus act as a half fare card for everything else I save 104CHF which adds up when multiplied by 4. We may be able to afford and ice cream.

3. BO Pass which i can get for 25% off with either of the above cards. But they make it crazy difficult by having to use CONSECUTIVE DAYS. Even if just a 4 day and pray for good weather at 175CHF I'm not feeling this is a good idea but then I'm so confused maybe someone can set me straight.

I'll sign off with my chosen name for this site, Scatter, as in brained.

May someone brave come forward.

scatter
scatter
8 posts
new member
Apr 4, 2014 - 4:08 AM in reply to scatter

I see in Option 2 deducted the 85 CHF twice so actual cost is 553. Dang!

Arno
Arno
7317 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 4, 2014 - 6:44 AM

Hi scatter,

That's certainly an offer I can't refuse :-) I feel your pain. Many travelers have been through calculations like that. That's why we have this page; you've probably read it already.

Without checking all the prices you mentioned, your methodology seems to be alright. Indeed there shouldn't be much of a price difference between the Swiss Half Fare Card and Swiss Card in this case. I don't understand why you say that the Swiss Card covers Basel to Wengen under point 2. It does cover that, but you already have a ticket to Bern, so you don't need the Swiss Card until there. Anyway, that's just a detail.

Actually I feel that the Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland is the best option for you, without any other pass. I would get the 10-day pass for CHF 370. That's less than the other amounts you came up with, and you only need a few additional tickets:

  • A reduced ticket to the Schilthorn;
  • A single ticket from Zurich to Bern for your son. The pass will cover the rest of the trip;
  • For the return trip to Zurich I would recommend the scenic route via Meiringen - Lucerne (Golden Pass). That's free until Lucerne, you just need a single ticket from there to Zurich.

This option should cost you the same or less than the other ones, and it's much more convenient as you can board just about anything without getting tickets. You could do a free boat trip on day 8 if you would feel like it. Or just go up a mountain, sit down and enjoy the view. All pass information is here. The pass will be available online here from mid-April.

Further tips:

  • You'd best do the Brienzer Rothorn. That's a 'real' mountain offering a great view, and included for free in the Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland. If you have time left you can include the Giessbach Falls on your way back by boat. The ride up there is tiny and you can walk that in 10 minutes or so. There is no view like on the Rothorn as it's all close to the valley floor;
  • Hotel suggestions for Zurich are here, and airport hotels with free transfers to the airport are here.

Do not skip the ice cream by any means! In Summer there are usually Mövenpick ice stands in Interlaken, Kleine Scheidegg and other places. It's not cheap but it's good value.

Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 1:05 PM by Arno
scatter
scatter
8 posts
new member
Apr 4, 2014 - 6:59 PM in reply to Arno

Arno, I hope you're getting married soon because it is likely you will win the dubious prize of dancing Louisiana style! I would have NEVER thought of this scenario. A couple of clarifications if you will.

1. First on my part an error, the 3 of us traveling Paris on Lyria do arrive in Basel and not Bern as I stated. I hope this doesn't change everything. I see on the BO map Basel is not included so I would have to figure that part of the route at full fare for 3. Though the train does take us through Bern. Perhaps we pay full fare point to point Basel to Bern and then have conductor validate? That's an additional 39 CHF each for three tickets=117CHF. I saw you do not need to leave the train to get validated or is that only right on crossing the border? Could we book straight through Basel to Wengen and then just get validated at beginning of trip for free portion?

2. I keep reading about consecutive "free" travel days and if you don't travel on that day it counts anyway. Then other days are 50%. The how to use tutorial is a little vague but maybe the guidelines have changed and it is free travel for the duration of the pass as it implies. I've seen other comments that imply purchasing a 7 day pass that included 3 free days and they had to be consecutive regardless of weather or even mood. If we purchase the 10 day how do I know which days are free? Do I need to figure which would be my most expensive days and plan to do them consecutively. I'm wearing out my calculator! For instance would I even bother using our entry as a travel day? If conductor validated would we then be in a frenzy to use our free days? And how many free days are with the 10 day pass?

3. I also came across on the BeoAbo site a pass that requires figuring zones you will travel to and price based on that configuration. I'm going to hope that is only for Swiss citizens!

4. Son arriving Zurich could pick up his pass and purchase his Zurich to Lucerne? Can he purchase the pass in Zurich Airport train station or if I order it can he pick it up in Zurich or have to get off in Lucerne. Or do I open the wallet again to pay for pass mailed to USA? Well I guess I should have all 4 passes mailed.

5. Thank you for pointing out the free boat ride and the Rothorn recommendation which is also free!

I'm uncertain how many miracles it takes reach sainthood but I think you're on your way. If ever you decide to visit Louisiana, and there are many reason, get in touch and I'll be your guide.

We will eat ice cream. Even if we have to share a cone!

scatter(feeling much less so)

Arno
Arno
7317 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 4, 2014 - 8:05 PM

I'm glad I can help! As for your questions:

1. Arriving in Basel makes sense. You need a point to point ticket from Basel to Bern (CHF 39 per person) and start using your regional pass from there. If you buy the pass via the Swiss Railways site you can validate it yourself so you can just stay seated in the train and no conductor is needed. A direct link to the pass will be available on the price page once the pass is available online around mid-April. You don't need to book seats in Switzerland (see here). In your case you need the ticket for the first leg and the pass for the second leg, and they're valid in all trains.

2. I'm not sure where you are reading that; it's outdated information. Our regional pass page is up to date and I think it covers all you need to know. If not, let me know and I'll look into it. The travels days are consecutive and it's up to you if and how you make use of that. You're allowed to never board a train or to sit in trains all day long for the 10 days. What matters is that your total travel expenses are less than what you'd pay with standard point to point tickets. And convenience matters as well: you're flexible to go wherever you want, and in most cases even without getting tickets.

3. This is a season ticket for commuters. No need to look into that.

4. If you order through the mentioned site you can either have the passes shipped to the US, have them ready for you at the airport, or have them shipped to an address in Switzerland. As said before, you can validate the passes yourself and just start traveling right away. You can get them at regional rail stations as well, but Zurich and Basel are not in the Bernese Oberland. In your case I guess shipping them to your home is most convenient. I think shipping is around CHF 20 currently. In total, not per pass.

5. You're welcome!

Hopefully you're ready to change your nickname now! The dance sounds very attractive, but if you're willing to post a trip report instead, I would be very happy with that as well. Other travelers like such practical experience too.

scatter
scatter
8 posts
new member
Apr 23, 2014 - 1:10 PM in reply to Arno

Arno,

Today is April 23 and I still cannot find site to actually purchase Berner-Oberland Pass. Details please?

Merci

Arno
Arno
7317 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 23, 2014 - 1:37 PM

Hi scatter,

I just heard from the Swiss Railways that they expect the pass to be available later this week. Unfortunately this is not in our hands; but I can keep you informed. I will post here as soon as it is available.

scatter
scatter
8 posts
new member
Apr 23, 2014 - 1:40 PM in reply to Arno

Awesome response as usual!

Arno
Arno
7317 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 24, 2014 - 9:57 AM

Thanks scatter! The latest I got from them is that they will launch their webshop page for this pass early next week. In any case I'll drop a message here once it's available.

Arno
Arno
7317 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 30, 2014 - 11:17 AM

Hi there,

The Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland is now available online through www.swissrailways.com/en/products/regionalberneseoberlandpass. This option has also been added to the price overview here.

Last modified on Apr 30, 2014 - 11:17 AM by Arno
scatter
scatter
8 posts
new member
May 4, 2014 - 9:23 PM in reply to Arno

Whoopee!!!!

We are purchasing the 10 day BO as per your suggestion. Now I have another question about the feasibility of also purchasing a Swiss Half Fare Card. Here are the maths I as see it. Since with the BO we will be paying Basel to Bern and on return Bern to Zurich. Then the small Zurich HB to Zurich Airport on day of departure. The half-fare card is 120 CHF.

Basel to Bern is 39 but if I used half fare it would be 19.50 a savings of 19.50.

Bern to Zurich is 49 again using half fare would save 24.50.

BO pass is 370 with half fare card it's 280 for a saving of 90.

So using a half fare card saves me 134 and the cost of the card is 120. I know it's only 14.00 but times 2 people that's 56 CHF and we can afford the ice cream!

Is my math correct and can you think of any other advantages of having the half fare card with the BO, particularly looking at any mountain peak visits so Jungfraujoch or Shilthorn.

Can I purchase online the 1/2 fare and the BO at the same time and get the BO discount or do I need to have the number on the 1/2 fare to complete the BO transaction.

Anticipate your reply and many regards for your advice.

scatter
scatter
8 posts
new member
May 4, 2014 - 9:24 PM in reply to scatter

The savings are for four people not 2. My brain is not at fast as my fingers.

Arno
Arno
7317 posts
expert &
moderator
May 5, 2014 - 8:06 AM

Hi scatter,

The math looks fine. However, if you travel back to Zurich via the more scenic Golden Pass route like suggested in my first post, the Regional Pass covers free traveling to Lucerne. Then you need a ticket to Zurich which is only CHF 24, so CHF 12 as a potential saving. All in all you'll end up saving CHF 2 per person. Still good money of course :-)

I don't know of any regional trips that would have better coverage with the Swiss Half Fare Card than the Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland. You can compare the pass maps for details. However, if for some reason you would decide to do a trip beyond the Regional Pass area, a Swiss Half Fare Card saves you money. In case of bad weather you may consider such a trip. So it would not hurt you to get the Swiss Half Fare Card as well. In the worst case there won't be much of a difference price wise.

You can get both the Swiss Half Fare Card and the discounted Regional-Pass Bernese Oberland through the link I gave.

Arno
Arno
7317 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 25, 2014 - 6:20 PM

Hi scatter,

I hope you enjoyed your time in Switzerland. How did you like using the Regional-Pass and traveling in the Swiss Alps? If you like, you can post a trip report about your travels, and have a chance the win a hotel voucher. Details are here.

Last modified on Jul 25, 2014 - 6:21 PM by Arno

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