Most Swiss Passes can indeed be purchased at Swiss rail stations, but it's not necessarily the best or most convenient choice for everyone. It's actually a bit more complex than what's explained in the post you referred to. I'll try to explain it:
Most passes can be purchased both in advance and at Swiss rail stations. The Swiss Transfer Ticket
is not for sale in Switzerland, and the Swiss Card
is only for sale at a few locations where people enter the country. Some promoted passes are not being sold in Switzerland either; they have to be ordered online. Please note that the post you're referring to is about standard passes, not about promoted passes. For example: the current promotion
on Swiss regional passes can't be purchased in Switzerland. The 2-for-1 promotion
for Swiss Saver (Flexi) Passes we're talking about here turns out to be a special case. The same promotion has been available before, but strictly online. I recently heard from another traveler that it should be for sale in Switzerland as well, and I was able to get a confirmation from the Swiss railways on that yesterday. However, it can't be purchased from just any station. Only larger stations from the rail company SBB sell it. Smaller stations and stations owned by other rail companies do not sell it. Sales outlets in other countries who may sell regular Swiss Passes do not sell this promotion either. Anyway, we'll add this purchase option to our website today.
As for prices: looking back over the last years, it's cheaper to buy in advance in most cases. That's caused by exchange rates, online promotions, and being able to pay in your own currency through a local online reseller, usually resulting in less bank transfer fees. The resellers available to a specific traveler depend on his/her country of residence, which may even cause that someone from India better buys in Switzerland while someone from the US may get a better deal online. A few months later, that may be the other way around. This year buying in Switzerland is cheaper more often than over the past years, mostly due to exchange rates. But even this year, there are exceptions as resellers continue to change their prices and offer additional discounts. One of the Rail Europe promotions expired a couple of days ago: a promo code
allowed extra discounts on larger orders, resulting in lower prices than the Swiss prices. Another promotion
is still active.
As for convenience: pass validation at a Swiss rail station is not always necessary. There are resellers who prepare passes in such a way that you can validate them yourself. That allows people to board their first train right away without loosing time. A "quick transfer" from plane or inbound train so to speak. Even if a pass requires validation from a railway official, people entering Switzerland by train won't loose time either, as the personnel on board such trains can take care of it. Buying at a Swiss rail station is not very complex for people who can fit that into their itinerary. It doesn't take too much time (unless you're a large group), but you do need to visit a manned rail station during opening hours, and bring all travelers' passports. For people arriving very late, very early, or in a small town without a manned rail station, it's more convenient to just buy in advance. Another reason to buy in advance might be the other options that online resellers provide: they can take care of pass insurance (lost or stolen passes can optionally be covered), seat reservations and additional (international) tickets along with the pass. Good reasons to buy in Switzerland is when you don't know whether you'll need a pass at all until the last minute, price (as explained above), or if you're short of time such as yourself.
To summarize: it's quite complex but it's worth to take a look at the options at a case by case basis. To make things easy, we have a detailed overview of all purchase options at any of our rail pass pages
. That includes both online resellers and buying in Switzerland (if applicable). Shipping and other fees are included, as well as discounts (if available) and current exchange rates. The "quick transfer" option I mentioned is listed there as well. The overview is a quick way to see what deal suits best in a specific situation.
I hope this explains things. Have a beautiful stay in Switzerland!