Swiss card

Swiss card

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aruls
aruls
7 posts
new member
May 18, 2010 - 1:16 PM
I am travelling from India to Switzerland on 22.05.10. Stay at Zurich on 22; Stay at Lucerne on 23, 24; Stay at Interlaken on 25, 26. Leave Interlaken on onward to paris on reserved train (SNCF)with change of train at Basel.
My travel agent gave me Swiss card -Jungfrau/Titlis (5 days-one month validity). Inspite of my repeated questioning, he is notable to explain the swiss card details to me properly.
Our group consist of 10 people including 2 children (less than 10 years). Children haven't been charged for the card. I have a list of questions. Hope some one can have the patience to go thru and clarify.
1) The card includes trips to Jungfrau and Titlis. Can the children travel free to Junfrau/Titlis as well?
2) The travel is from from a)Zurich- Lucerne;b) Lucerne -Interlaken; From Interlaken on wards I have reserved ticket to Paris as already explained above. Since I am using only on two sectors apart from Mt Titlis and Jungfrau, why the need for 5 days card?
3) I have also been told to validate the card on the first day. Can I get it done at Zurich station?
I tried the official website. Not much info is available on swiss cards. Hope some one can clarify.
Thanks in advance.

Aruls
Arno
Arno
7311 posts
expert &
moderator
May 18, 2010 - 2:35 PM
Hello Aruls,

A Swiss Card has a standard validity of up to one month. It can be used for 5 days (for example), but that's usually not printed on the ticket. Are you sure it is a Swiss Card? It might be a 5-day Swiss Flexi Pass. Is it possible for you to scan your ticket and post it as an attachment in this forum? That might help me to find out what ticket you have and how it can be used. If you don't want to post your ticket in a public forum, please feel free to e-mail it to us. I will take a look at it and reply to you in the forum. Thanks!
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:34 PM by Arno
aruls
aruls
7 posts
new member
May 18, 2010 - 6:52 PM
I really appreciate your prompt reply.
I have attached scanned copy of the swiss card (2 pages). Considering the itinerary I posted earlier how best the card can be utilized?

Thanks, Again
Aruls
Please login to see the attached documents
IMNiles
IMNiles
6 posts
new member
May 19, 2010 - 9:39 AM
They don't do a very good job at explaining the rules at RailEurope, do they? The moderators here are great, so I'm sure they'll be able to help you out.

Just as a point of reference, I also just bought a Swiss Card from RailEurope, and mine doesn't look like yours - it's printed on the same stock but it does not have the 5 dates (or the jungfrau/titlis) - only the spots for the first and last day and validation stamp. Mine also says "includes half fare card" on the bottom. This pass seems like some kind of weird hybrid. My understanding of the family card is that it entitles children under 15 to travel with you for free.

To make things more confusing, I asked the same validation questions, and got two different answers- RailEurope said I must find a conductor to validate and stamp my pass. sbb (the swiss railway) said I could just write in the dates myself. Guess I'll just have to play dumb tourist when I get there, and thank goodness for this forum to help us sort it out ahead of time!

Do enjoy your trip - Switzerland is really incredibly beautiful. I was last there 10 years ago and I am very much looking forward to my return. Please do report back here with your experiences so that future travelers can benefit.

Happy Travels!
Arno
Arno
7311 posts
expert &
moderator
May 19, 2010 - 2:55 PM
Hi Aruls,

Thanks for posting your pass. I can understand your confusion. Several rail pass distibutors issue different variations of the same passes. The Swiss Card as explained on this website is the "standard" version as it is sold in Switzerland and to people in Europe. It includes a free return trip from the border or airport to any Swiss town, plus a 50% discount on further trips during your stay. It does not require validation by railway personnel; you can validate it yourself by entering the dates of the inbound and outbound trips. The SBB is selling this version as well, so that's why IMNiles got that answer from them. However, he apparently received a slightly different version that requires a validation stamp. You received yet another, more customized, version.

It's hard for us (or the SBB) to know exactly which version people received, so I'm glad you managed to post your pass here. This is what I make of it:
  • The pass includes 5 free travel days for trains, buses and boats. Trains, buses and boats included can be found on the map we link to on the page of the standard Swiss Card.
  • The pass also includes a free trip up the Titlis and the Jungfrau on any of those free travel days.
  • The pass includes 50% discounts on further trips, besides those 5 travel days. However, you will only be using the pass for 5 days, so that's not relevant for you.
I'm not completely sure of two things:
  • Whether the Swiss Travel System Family Card is already included. If not, you can get it for free by presenting your Swiss Card to a railway official when you are validating it. Once you have the Swiss Travel System Family Card, the children travel along for free on all trips, including the Titlis and Jungfrau.
  • Whether this Swiss Card consists of an inbound and outbound trip plus 5 free travel days (option 1), OR: just 5 free travel days (option 2). I assume option 2 is correct, but I'm not sure since you can fill out 7 days in total. Either way, it will be enough to complete all of your traveling, but in case of option 1, it would include more than you actually need, and that may be of influence on the price you paid.
Assuming it includes 5 days of free traveling in total, this is how you can use those days:
  • Day 1/May 22: Zürich Airport - Zürich main station
  • Day 2/May 23: Zürich main station - Lucerne
  • Day 3/May 24: Lucerne - Titlis - Lucerne - Interlaken
  • Day 4/May 25: Interlaken - Jungfrau - Interlaken
  • Day 5/May 26: Interlaken - Basel (your ticket to Paris probably starts in Basel, as the trip Interlaken - Basel can be completed using the Swiss Card).
As for your other questions:
Question 2) You will be traveling in Switzerland on 5 days. The free trips up the Titlis and Jungfrau only include transportation from the valley station. Getting there requires traveling as well (e.g. you need to travel from Lucerne to Engelberg, where the cable car to the Titlis starts. Your travel agent probably concluded that 5 days of traveling would require 5 days of free traveling on your Swiss Card. Whether that's the most economical option depends on what you paid for it.
Question 3) You can have your Swiss Card validated at the rail station of Zürich Airport, so that you can start using it immediately.

As you see, I'm not 100% sure on all details, as I have not seen this variation of the Swiss Card before. When validating it, I would suggest to ask the railway official whether my assumptions are correct, and get the free Swiss Travel System Family Card if it is not already included.

It's indeed a bit complicated, but I'm sure your trip will be beautiful! Let me know if you have any further questions.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:31 PM by Arno
aruls
aruls
7 posts
new member
May 19, 2010 - 8:20 PM
Hi Arno.
Your reply has been the only comprehensive one I received on this card issue. My agent could never give me a convincing explanation.

1)Trips on buses and boats:- The agent told me that this swiss card can not be used for buses/trams/boats. Hence I was planning for All day pass/Zurich card for my airport /Railway station transfers from/to Hotel and for local sight seeings. On seeing your reply, I revisited the card. Yes. The card says it must be validated b4 boarding bus/boat/train. I guess I can use it for buses/boats/trams as well.

2)Family card:- Family card is already made. I could not upload it due to file size limitations.

3)I will be starting to use it on 23/5 only as on 22/5 I will be staying at Zurich and will be using local transport for airport and station transfers. And the most stupid part, the agent has booked confimed train ticket from Interlaken to Basel on the way to Paris on 27th. It seems, I will really be using this card only for 4 days.
day 1 (23.5.10)------------- Zurich to Lucerne
day2-------------------------Lucerne to Mt.Titlis and back
day3-------------------------Lucerne to Interlaken
day4------------------------Interlaken to Mt. Jungfrau and back
day5----------------------- No use.
I paid the agent for a comprehensive package including travel and hotels. I dont intend to seek modification in the card from my agent at this stage as it will only confuse him AND ME further.
And thanks once again for a wonderful reply. I just came across this forum while googling. It has been a great boon especially for first time travellers like me. I will definitely post my experiences after my trip to your fabulous country.

Aruls
Arno
Arno
7311 posts
expert &
moderator
May 20, 2010 - 1:32 AM
The regular Swiss Card includes trains, (post)buses and boats (as indicated on the map I referred to), but not urban transportation like local trams and city buses. You could ask the railway personnel whether that goes for your version as well. In either case, if you do not use the 5th day on your Swiss Card, you might as well use it for the train from Zurich Airport to the main station. That section is definitely included. If your hotel is close to the main station, that would save you some money. It's good to know that some hotels offer a free shuttle bus service that might be convenient for you. Also, many attractions in Zürich are within walking distance, so you don't need urban transportation in many cases.

As for your ticket Interlaken - Paris: International train tickets mostly consist of two parts: a seat reservation and a transportation fee (the most expensive part). It is possible that your agent got you a ticket that includes seat reservations for the whole trip and a transportation fee for Basel - Paris only. The Swiss Card would then include the transportation fee for the section Interlaken - Basel. That's not an unusual construction for people who will be using any of the Swiss rail passes. If this is the case for you as well, your ticket to Paris should of course be cheaper than a regular ticket covering the transportation fee for the whole trip. I would suggest to sort this out at the Zürich Airport rail station when validating the Swiss Card. If this is the case, you need that 5th day for this transfer.

It would be great to hear about your experiences afterwards. Enjoy your stay!
aruls
aruls
7 posts
new member
Jun 4, 2010 - 2:28 AM
Dear all,
I have completed my Euro trip and returned back to India on 31st May. I spent five fabulous days in Swiss. I had a fortunate weather window during my stay in Swiss between 22nd and 27th May. The heavy warm clothing for the Alps visits was not really needed.Spent a day each in Titlis (Base Lucerne), Jungfrau (Base Interlaken), Zurich, Lucerne and Interlaken.
Fortunately the days at Titlis and Jungfrau were sunny. I do not need to describe further my stay there to the experienced forum members.
For the new members; Select a sunny day for your Mt. trips. Just go and enjoy; Dont miss any activity.
What impressed me most in Switzerland was the public transport system . Punctual, convenient and courteous conductors. One could plan transfers to the minute with out any margin for delayed arrival.
One suggestion for the new forummer; He can base himself at one point, preferably near Lauterbrunnen/Grindelwald and spend more time in the mountains. other locations could be easily accessed by train if needed.plenty of Apartments on weekly basis are available on rent. They are located at some of the most picturesqe locations.They are also more comfortable and cheaper than 3 star hotels. One can also cook his own dinner. It would avoid frequent transfers .(I stayed at Zurich, Lucerne and Interlaken hotels)
The Swiss card mystery was finally solved. For all practical purposes It's like a Swiss pass but cannot be used for other public transport; but discounts for mountain trips like Pilatus is more in Swiss card(50 %). It needs to be validated before first use.
new forummers to note:- Do not forget to enter date of travel on your ticket before embarking on journey. You could be fined if you dont.
Let me once again thank the Forum Moderator and other members for their valuable support.

Aruls
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 4, 2010 - 12:41 PM
Hi Aruls! Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay in Switzerland and that the weather allowed you to visit Jungfau and Mt. Pilatus according to your plans. Both are absolutely beautiful and visiting them in clear weather is a fantastic experience. I can imagine that you advise others to choose one or two bases per holiday instead of travelling to another village each day. Although such round trips are great as well, travelling from and returning to one base allows you to explore one region more thorougly. And indeed, the public transportation system in Switzerland works great. Apparently your travel agent arranged some kind of special Swiss Card for you that did fit your needs. Did you end up validating it yourself by writing down the date or did you have to ask a railway official to stamp your pass?
aruls
aruls
7 posts
new member
Jun 4, 2010 - 3:17 PM
I got it validated at Zurich Rly station. Passport is also required by Rly persons for verification of details before validation.
aruls
aruls
7 posts
new member
Jun 4, 2010 - 3:18 PM
I needed to fill up dates before proceeding on each day as well.
kannanr
kannanr
1 post
new member
Jul 13, 2010 - 8:32 AM
Thanks Arul for sharing your experience.

I am planning to travel to Switzerland with my family during July 24th to 28th and I have the exact same Swiss card that you have scanned below from my travel agent. I am also planning to visit Titlis (Base Lucerne - 2 nights), Jungfrau (Base Interlaken - 2 nights) and Zurich (1 night). So I am planning to use Swiss card as below, please confirm if this makes sense.
  • Day 1/July 24: Zürich Airport - Lucerne
  • Day 2/July 25: Lucerne - Titlis - Lucerne
  • Day 3/July 26: Lucerne - Interlaken
  • Day 4/July 27: Interlaken - Jungfrau - Interlaken
  • Day 5/July 28: Interlaken - Zurich Main Station
I have few additional questions:
1. Do we have to reserve a seat in advance against this Swiss card? If yes, how do we go about doing this?
2. It appears to me that we will get 50% discount against this Swiss card for Mt. Titlis and Mt. Jungfrau visits. I am not sure what is the total cost and from where we get these tickets?
3. Last night I will staying in Zurich, so is there any recommended day pass / rail / metro card that I can use? Can the same be used to get from Zurich Main Station to Zurich Airport?

Thanks,
Kannan
Olga
Olga
460 posts
top member
Jul 13, 2010 - 12:57 PM
Hello Kannan,

1 - No, you don't have to make reservations for the tracks you mentioned, although it never hurts to check. If you want to travel from Lucerne to Interlaken by the Golden Pass Line, reservations may be necessary, depending on how crowded the train will be. You can check this through the SBB Time Table by filling out where you want to go and how. Or: Generally spoken reservations, if necessary, can be made by going to a (larger)Railway Station; they just will fix it for you if there is place enough.

2 - A Swiss Card will give you a 50% discount when visiting Mt. Titlis and a 50% discount to Jungfraujoch as well. Information can be found on the Jungfraubahnen Service Customer Services, so you can check for yourself if you like.
I also refer to the Railway FAQ!

3 – You can use your Swiss Card travelling from Zürich to Zürich Airport, if this is your last Railway trip you will travel for free.


I hope this was helpful!


Olga
aruls
aruls
7 posts
new member
Jul 14, 2010 - 1:11 AM
Hi Kannan,
My ticket included visits to Jungfrau and Titlis. Please check for the same in your ticket. If so, you need not pay anything extra.I dont remember the exact cost for Jungfrau/Titlis trips.In case these places are not included in your ticket you can get 50% discount on you fare (approximately 100 Swiss francs after discount). Your swiss card will also get you 50% on lake trips at Interlaken and Lucerne.
At Zurich, you can buy a day ticket for local trip which includes trams and buses. if your hotel is located near Rly station, you may not need any ticket at all. It is a small city and most of the places can be covered by walk.
Before using your Swiss card you need to spend some time at Airport Rly station and validate them. You can get the discount details of your card from them.

Have a pleasant lourney.

Aruls
baijei
baijei
3 posts
new member
Mar 18, 2011 - 4:33 PM
Hi,

My friends and I plan to visit Switzerland in early May. We plan to get Swiss card.
Here's our travel plan:
Day 1 - arrive zurich airport, take train to Interlaken
Day 2 - Interlaken Ost - Jungfraujoch Excursion
Day 3 - Golden Pass panoramic train Interlaken Ost -> Lucerne
Day 4 - Golden pass Mt Pilatus round trip
Day 5 - Lucerne to geneva airport

The raileurope site is difficult to navigate. After trying for a couple of days, here's the price we got
Swiss Card $202
Interlaken Ost - JungFraujoch Excursion/swiss card $101
Golden pass Panoramic train $46
Mount Pilatus round trip $60

Here are a few questions:
1. From other discussion, I understand that the inbound and outbound journey should be covered (Free?) by the Swiss Card. and
we don't need to book those in advance?
2. the golden pass Panoramic train booking did not have an option with swiss card. Did the price look right?
3. How to book Mt Pilatus round trip on the raileurope site? I found it under the 'Activities' tab. Unfortunately the links seemed to be
broken as nothing happened when click on it.

Thanks in advance!

bai
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 19, 2011 - 4:52 AM
Hello baijei, and welcome to the forum! As for your questions: yes, your inbound and outbound trips are for free with a Swiss Card. Seat reservation is only required for special panoramic trains (such as the Golden Pass) and trains crossing the border to neighbouring countries. Our seat reservation page provides you with more information on this subject.

The Golden Pass leg between Interlaken Ost and Lucerne is the only one of your trips requiring seat reservation. Just a tip: you don't have to purchase the other tickets in advance, if you don't want to, as these trips don't have to be reserved in advance. You may also choose to buy your 50% discounted tickets on the spot before boarding the train/boat/cable car. An advantage of this option is that it allows you to change your travel plans and adapt them to weather circumstances.

As for the Golden Pass reservation: as far as I know, RailEurope doesn't offer the option to purchase 50% discounted train tickets. What you can do is arrange for your seat reservation only and purchase your 50% discounted train ticket on the spot, for example at the railway station of Interlaken Ost.

I'm not sure why the Pilatus booking doesn't work. RailEurope has many different websites, depending on the country of residence of the travellers. Where are you from, or at which RailEurope site did you search for you tickets?
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:31 PM by Arno
baijei
baijei
3 posts
new member
Mar 20, 2011 - 1:36 PM
Hi Annika,

Thank you very much for your reply. It is very helpful. We're from Canada.
We'll take your advice to get most of the tickets at the station. As far as the
trip to Mt Pilatus from Lucerne goes, we plan to do the following

Lucerne - > Kriens station Linde. ( bus No 1 )
Kriens -> Frankmuntegg (gondola)
Frankmuntegg -> Pilatus Kulm (Cable car)
Walk around; Pilatus Seilpark; DrachenMoor; other attractions
Make your way down
Pilatus Kulm -> Alpnach (Cogwheel 48degree!)
Alpnach -> Lucerne ( boat on Lake Lucerne, or train)

Does it look reasonable? Do we need to get anything booked in advance or
just buy the ticket on the day of? any other suggestion?

Thank you again!

Bai
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 21, 2011 - 5:21 AM
Hello Bai! Yes, the Pilatus roundtrip is very reasonable, and it's a wonderful tour. No part of it has to be booked in advance. You can simply buy your ticket(s) at the railway station of Lucerne and/or at the valley station of the Pilatus cable car.

I've checked the RailEurope Canada website and there seems to be some technical error on this page, as no details or booking options occur when clicking on the Mt. Pilatus tour. If you'd still want to book this trip in advance, you can best contact RailEurope and ask for help.
baijei
baijei
3 posts
new member
Mar 22, 2011 - 10:23 PM
Really appreciate your help!

Thanks for info.
pateluresh
pateluresh
4 posts
new member
Mar 29, 2011 - 11:19 PM
I am confused. Where on this website does it say that swiss card covers the trip to jangfrau. There is four (2 adults, one 10 year old, one 16 year old) of us traveling from paris to lauterbraunnen. We will be spending only two full days in switzerland. Then on the fourth day comeback to paris via train. What is the cheapest way to do this. None of the sites book train travel out in july when we are traveling so it is very hard to find fairs for trains. We want to go to jangfrau, and gimmelwald. No idea what we are going to do on the 2nd full day. From what I have found Jangfrau trip will take up half a day and gimmelwald half day. Please help. thanks.

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