Pass Options - confirm plan for group of 10

Pass Options - confirm plan for group of 10

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Posts: 4. This thread is closed.
LivingBigMC
LivingBigMC
2 posts
new member
May 27, 2014 - 6:33 PM

Hello! This forum has already been incredibly helpful! I went through the great guide to reviewing pass options and want to confirm what I believe is the best bet for my trip. I'm planning a trip for 10 women!

  • Arrive in Zurich and spend two nights (so one airport transfer and intercity traveling)
  • We will be leaving Zurich and heading to Appenzell, stopping for lunch, then heading to Wasserauen to catch the Ebenalp lift. Staying one night here.
  • Taking the Ebenalp lift back down to Wasserauen and then heading to Mürren. Staying in Mürren for a few nights. No plans to take other major lifts while in the area, just hiking in the area.
  • After a few nights in Mürren we will head back to Zurich to stay one night before transferring back to the airport.

My point to point costs per person are about 280 CHF.
The Swiss pass, for 15 days (8 days wouldn't be enough) is 476 CHF
The 3-day Swiss Flexi pass is 260 CHF. I'd use the free days on the Zurich to Appenzell day, the Appenzell to Mürren day and the Mürren to Zurich day. But I would still have to pay 50% of the lift costs at Ebenalp as well as the lift/rail combo from Lauterbrunnen to Mürren, correct? And then I'd have to buy the airport to Zurich passes.
I could get a Half Price Card for 120 CHF. Assuming point to point tickets are 280 CHF a person, with the Half Price Card that works out to 260 CHF a person assuming I could use this pass on all legs of the trip, which I think I can.

I'm leaning towards buying a Half Price Card for each passenger. How does this pass work? Do I buy the pass and all point to point tickets at the same time? What is the best way/place to buy rail tickets for a group?

Thank you!

Mary

Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
May 27, 2014 - 8:13 PM in reply to LivingBigMC

Hello Marry,

Thank you for sharing your compliments about our site here! I am glad the select your pass guide has been helpful. You have done your homework so well. The passes you are considering are the same ones I would have picked.

Ebenalp is indeed 50% off with all the passes. I would prefer the Swiss Saver Flexi Pass for several reasons:

  • The actual price is 10% less than what you quoted, because as a group you can buy the Saver variant;
  • You don't need tickets on 3 of the days. You could even add an extra (boat) trip if you feel like it, at no additional cost;
  • The entire trip to Mürren is free on a free travel day. Those lifts are included;
  • You get an additional $50 discount per order if you purchase before June 6, so that makes it even cheaper than buying it in Switzerland. See here for details. There is a forum discussion about it as well.

The transfer from the airport to Zurich on day 1 would not be included in the pass, but a ticket is only CHF 6.60. Alternatively you could buy Zurich Cards which you may want for the rest of your stay in town anyway, and that includes this ride as well. More info and links are here.

More pass information is here, including a map of what's included: www.myswissalps.com/swissflexipass

As for where to buy: I would buy the pass online and additional tickets as you go. There is no need to book tickets in advance, as seat reservations are not required or even common on most routes. Also, there is no way of knowing in advance which of your plans can actually be carried out, as high altitude hiking is not an option if the weather is bad, and viewing points wouldn't be worth it either. You can just board any train with your Swiss Pass, or your Swiss Flexi Pass on a free travel day. With the Swiss Half Fare Card, or the non-free travel days of the Swiss Flexi Pass, you would buy a half fare ticket from the machine or the ticket office and then board.

For your last day, an airport hotel with a free transfer to the airport may come in handy.

Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 12:58 PM by Arno
LivingBigMC
LivingBigMC
2 posts
new member
May 28, 2014 - 2:42 AM in reply to Annika

Hello! Thank you for this very thorough reply. I really appreciate it. May I ask a few follow-up questions?

Is a Swiss Saver Flexi Pass the same as a Swiss Saver Pass? I don't understand your comment, "You don't need tickets on 3 of the days." But isn't that precisely what I need - a pass for three days of unlimited travel?

So if I go with the Swiss Saver Flexi pass I'll spend 2,340 on 10 people (260 CHF per person less 10% of the total price) and still need to buy the Ebenalp tickets (but at a 50% off rate) plus airport to Zurich city transfers. Correct? The trip I'm planning is for June 2015, so the $50 discount would not apply.

Where would you recommend I buy the passes online? SBB? EuroRail?

And once I have the pass, and when I'm ready to use one of my "free days" how do I activate the card? And since I don't need a seat reservation, do I just show-up on the train I want to take and show the operator my pass?

THANK YOU!

Mary

Annika
Annika
4418 posts
expert &
moderator
May 28, 2014 - 5:32 AM in reply to LivingBigMC

Hi Mary,

Sure you may ask more!

1) A Swiss Saver Pass allows free traveling on continuous days, the Swiss Saver Flexi Pass allows that on selected days only, and discounts on the days in between. See the linked pages for how they work. Regarding my comment about not needing tickets: I didn't mean you don't travel on 3 days. I meant that the suggested pass allows free unlimited traveling on those days, so you don't need to go to a ticket office to buy tickets. You can just board the trains.

2) The $50 discount indeed does not apply for June next year. You can buy passes up to 6 months before traveling. So there's plenty of time to see if other promotions come along. The promotion pages of the passes always show the current discounts, and be sure to sign up for our forum update emails and newsletter to be informed.

3) Any of the resellers listed in the price section of the pass page is fine. Since you live in the US, the page I already linked to would make sense as they allow payment in US$ and ship the passes for free: www.raileurope.com/rail-tickets-passes/swiss-pass/index.html. The price section shows the other options and will always be updated by us, so check back there too as your travel date is nearing.

4) You need to write down the date in the designated area on the pass. Then board the train, sit down, and show your pass when requested.

Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 12:59 PM by Arno

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