Swiss Half Fare Card

Swiss Half Fare Card

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Posts: 20. This thread is closed.
agnes428
agnes428
11 posts
new member
Jan 7, 2011 - 10:11 PM
Hi,I found SBB 1 year Half Fare TravelCard on SBB website and Swiss Half Card for a month on this website,are the features on rail benefits similar?
We plan to travel in June from Zurich - Luzern(1nite) - Engelberg(1n) - Mt Titlis - Interlaken(3n) - Jungfraujoch - Bellinzona - Lugano(1n) - Milan - Tirano(1n) - St Moritz/Chur (Bernina Pass)(1n) - Zermatt (1n)(Glacier Express) - Montreux - Bern(1n)- Paris(4n), except for the 2 scenic trains that require reservations,do we need to reserve for the rest if we have a preferred timing to travel?
Does the train from Bern to Paris requires reservations? Will the half fare card be applicable?
Will 11 days in Switzerland be too rush to cover the areas mentioned above?
Thank you!
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 9, 2011 - 4:28 AM
Hi agnes428, and welcome! The SBB 1 year Half Fare Card offers the same discounts as the 1 month variant. This 1 month variant would apply to your journey, as you plan to stay only 11 days. Seeing your travel plans, you may want to consider purchasing a 15 day Swiss Saver Pass though. This might be cheaper than a Swiss Half Fare Card, and it's probably more comfortable. You plan to make quite some long and expensive train journeys, which are for free with a Swiss Saver Pass. Moreover, you won't have to buy regular (discounted) train tickets for each trip, which is required with a Swiss Half Fare Card.

You don't have to make seat reservations for regular trips within Switzerland. Only the Glacier Express and Bernina Express require seat reservations, as you already mentioned. The same goes for international train journeys, so your trip from Bern to Paris has to be reserved well in advance. Please take a look at the seat reservation page for detailed information.

You'll definitely get to see lots of Switzerland's highlights with this itinerary. But it's a very tight schedule indeed, which doesn't leave much room for simply strolling around and enjoying the views. Whether this appeals to you, depends on your personal travel preferences. If you don't mind travelling a lot each day, it's a fine itinerary. The Swiss timetable allows you to look up travelling times. This will give you a better impression of what your stay in Switzerland will look like.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:35 PM by Arno
agnes428
agnes428
11 posts
new member
Jan 9, 2011 - 10:02 AM
Hi,thank you so much for the tips.For the Swiss Saver Pass,can I get in Singapore from http://www.raileurope.com.sg?
Which location do you think we should give it a miss so that the schedule will not be so tight?
agnes428
agnes428
11 posts
new member
Jan 9, 2011 - 10:17 AM
With the Swiss Saver Pass,can it be use when we travel from Lugano to Milano and Bern to Paris?
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 9, 2011 - 1:48 PM
Hello agnes428. You can purchase your Swiss Saver Pass online through the Swiss Pass page. Please click 'Order your Swiss Saver Pass' here, select 'Click more countries' in the blue text below, and then click 'Singapore' from the list. This will get you to the right oder page.

Your Swiss Pass can also be used for the trips Lugano-Milano and Bern-Paris, but in both cases it will only be valid up the the Swiss-Italian and Swiss-French border station. For the trip from Lugano to Milano, Chiasso is the station up to which your Swiss Pass is valid. From there, you'll have to make use of a regular train ticket Chiasso-Milano. Prices can be found through the Swiss timetable. When travelling from Bern to Paris, the border station is either Basel or Geneva, depending on your train connection. So a regular ticket Basel-Paris or Geneva-Paris has to be bought too. You can arrange for this shortly before departure at a train station or order your tickets through the Swiss timetable.

It's hard to decide which part of your schedule could be missed out on. This depends on personal preferences, and we all may have different opinions. My personal advice would be to skip the Bellinzona-Tirano part of the journey, beautiful as it is though. Lucerne, Interlaken, St. Moritz, Zermatt, Montreux and Bern will show you many highlights of the Swiss Alps. Skipping this part of your itinerary will make your travel scheme more relaxed. It allows you to spend an extra day around Interlaken or St. Moritz, which has beautiful surroundings with stunning views as well. You could travel from Interlaken to St. Moritz via Zurich and Chur. Travel details can be found in the Swiss timetable. One more advice: when heading from Montreux to Bern, make sure to travel along the beautiful Golden Pass route via Gstaad, Zweisimmen and Spiez. This route will be displayed when entering 'Zweisimmen' as your via-station in the timetable.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:35 PM by Arno
agnes428
agnes428
11 posts
new member
Jan 10, 2011 - 7:30 AM
Thank you Annika! Does that mean we have to change to another train at Chiasso (to Milano) and Basel or Geneva (to Paris)?
For the route suggested,Lucerne, Interlaken, St. Moritz- Zermatt via Glacier Express, Montreux-Bern via Golden Pass route,thus giving the Bernina Pass a miss.
Does it makes any difference if we go Lucerne,St.Moritz,Zermatt,Montreux-Speiz via Golden Pass route,Interlaken then Bern? What's there at St.Moritz in June? Is there any difference if we board the GE from St Moritz or from Chur to Zermatt?
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 10, 2011 - 3:05 PM
You can stay seated during your trips to Milano and Paris. All you have to do is show your Swiss Pass when asked for during the Swiss part of the trip, and your French or Italian train ticket during the French or Italian part of the trip.

No, there's not much of a difference between the two variants of the itinerary you describe. Interlaken is rather close to both Lucerne and Bern, so it doesn't matter if you fit this in after to Lucerne of before Bern.

St. Moritz and its surroundings have lots to offer in June. There are several viewing points, to be reached by cable car or mountain trains, and easy walks can be made. Even the Bernina Express trip to Tirano and back can be made within one day from St. Moritz. So if you don't want to miss out on the Bernina Express, that's an option. You may want to take a look at our Graubünden day trip overview too.

The Glacier Express can be boarded in St. Moritz or in Chur. It's easiest to get in at St. Moritz though. Please note that the train ride between St. Moritz and Chur shouldn't be missed out on: it's a spectacular trip with lots of loops and viaducts.
agnes428
agnes428
11 posts
new member
Jan 12, 2011 - 9:35 AM
Thanx Annika,how about the 3hours Bernina bus ride from Lugano to Tirano,is it worth going for? So by ordering the Swiss Saver Pass,we will have it mail to us( Singapore)? How long in advance can we order the Swiss Saver Pass and have it send over? Like to also find out how does the pass work at the railway station,we can just board any train at any time except those scenic trains that require reservations?
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 13, 2011 - 10:52 AM
It won't be possible to get to Lugano and back again to St. Moritz on the same day, if you want to make use of the Bernina Express bus. The bus runs from April up to October and there's only one bus a day in each direction, the one from Tirano to Lugano leaving at 14.25pm and arriving in Lugano at 17.30pm. Please review the timetable and further details at the Bernina Express website. This may also help you decide whether this trip is worth the extra time and the night you may have to spend in or near Lugano.

Yes, the Swiss Pass will be sent to you by mail. The Swiss Pass must be validated within 6 months after purchase, you can order it about half a year in advance. With a valid Swiss Pass, you can board regular trains, buses and boats without additional tickets, so you don't have to purchase tickets at the railway station. Only mountain transportation requires additional discounted tickets, and special panoramic trains require a seat reservation. Which routes are for free and which are discounted, can be reviewed at the map we link to at the Swiss Pass page (under the header 'Swiss Pass features').
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:35 PM by Arno
agnes428
agnes428
11 posts
new member
Jan 15, 2011 - 11:48 AM
Hi,we are considering whether to proceed to Bern or Geneva instead to get to Paris,the timing i got from Swiss timetable from Geneva-Paris is 3hr:08min by TGV,is it correct? As it seems there's also station name called Geneve in Paris.
agnes428
agnes428
11 posts
new member
Jan 15, 2011 - 12:41 PM
Hi, how about this route: Luzern(1nite) - Engelberg/Mt Titlis (1n) - Interlaken/Jungfraujoch(3n) - Milan<half day trip>/Lugano(1n) - (Bernina Bus1000-1300)Tirano - St Moritz (Bernina Express1422-1639)(3n) - Zermatt (1n)(Glacier Express) - Montreux - Geneva(1n)- Paris(3n), is it less hectic than our initial plan? How different is Mt Pilatus and Mt Titlis,or is there nicer ones in the Lucern region,which do you recommend? Is there lockers available at or near train stations to keep our luggages if we reach the venue in the morning before we can check in?
agnes428
agnes428
11 posts
new member
Jan 16, 2011 - 12:49 AM
Hi,please ignore the previous post,our finalised route:Luzern/Mt Pilatus or Rigi(1nite) - Engelberg/Mt Titlis (1n) - Interlaken/Jungfraujoch(3n) - St. Moritz (3n) with day trip to Tirano via Bernina- Zermatt/Matterhorn (2n)(Glacier Express) - Montreux - Geneva(1n)- Paris(3n).
For this route,is the Swiss Saver Pass still a better option?
Does Mt. Pilatus/Mt. Rigi need full day or half day?
From Engelberg to Interlaken which station is the Golden pass route?

Thank you! :-)
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 16, 2011 - 4:36 AM
Yes, my advice would still be to make use of a Swiss Saver Pass. You'll be travelling quite a lot over long distances, which means that these expensive train journeys will be covered by your Swiss Saver Pass. Exact calculations would have to prove whether the Swiss Saver Pass is indeed cheaper than the Swiss Half Fare Card, but it's certainly the most comfortable way of travelling for your itinerary.

If you want to visit both Pilatus and Rigi, this takes about one day. Either Pilatus or Rigi can be visited in half a day from Lucerne. The timetable will provide you with more information on travelling times. The Pilatus and Rigi timetables may also be of help.

If you want to travel from Engelberg to Interlaken over the Golden Pass route, you have to switch trains in Lucerne, where the Golden Pass line begins. It'll cross the Brünig Pass, Meiringen and lake Brienz. You can either get on board of a regular train, or enter a special Golden Pass Panoramic train, which provides larger seats and larger windows with better views. Such a train requires seat reservation though.
Last modified on Dec 28, 2014 - 4:35 PM by Arno
agnes428
agnes428
11 posts
new member
Jan 17, 2011 - 7:32 AM
Hi,thanx! What about the private railway at Jungfrau,what type of tickets should we get?
Do we need to book the tickets in advance or purchase when we reach Interlaken? Should we take train to Interlaken OST or Interlaken west?
For journey that requires change of train,for example from Interlaken to St. Moritz,there will be sufficient time for us to go to the different platform?
So it's free seating with guaranteed seats when we board any regular train with Swiss Saver Pass?
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 19, 2011 - 2:41 PM
With a Swiss Saver Pass, the ride is for free up to Wengen/Grindelwald. From there, a 25% discount applies, so you have to purchase 25% discounted tickets. This can be done at a railway station, for example at Interlaken Ost (from where the trains in this direction leave). You don't have to book your tickets in advance, you can simply by them at the spot right before boarding the train. In most cases, there will be enough time to switch trains. The timetable I mentioned before shows how much time there's available for a change of trains.

The Swiss Saver Pass allows free travelling in regular trains, but no guaranteed seats. However, this won't be a problem. It's not necessary to make seat reservations, as enough seats are available in most cases. For many trains seat reservation isn't even possible. Only in rush hours it may be crowded on some routes, but this can't be prevented. As you'll be travelling in June, you won't have to deal with the tourist high season.
parmo1
parmo1
9 posts
new member
Jan 22, 2011 - 9:30 PM
When i joined this forum 6 weeks ago, the Monthly Half fare Card cost 99 CHF, it has now gone up to 110 CHF, more than 10% rise !!!!! This is at a time when Switzerland has a tiny inflation, and Swiss Bank interest rates are 0.3% WHY has it gone up so much ? The other passes have not increased by so much

I have a 3 year Half Tax Card which, unfortunately expires a few days before i will arrive in Switzerland
I will spend one month in Switzerland, mainly fairly short journeys, so a Swiss Pass will not be very interesting, i think. Can i get any discount for a 1 month Half Fare Card with my existing 3 year Half Fare Card , which will expire at the end of March, 5 days before i intend to buy a 1 month half fare card ?
Arno
Arno
7317 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 23, 2011 - 3:22 AM
Hi parmo1,

Yes, the increase is quite substantial. Most tickets have gone up about 3%. Prices are determined by the Swiss railways. I'm not sure what's the reason for this particular increase. I do know that it's price has been CHF 99 for a long time. It's still a good deal, but of course the break even point will shift a little. I don't know about discounts for the 1 month Swiss Half Fare Card. You might want the ask the Swiss railways.

Depending on your exact travel plans, you might want to look into local discount cards. The Zurich Card is just one example. Many towns also issue free guest cards that can be used for free or discounted transportation in the immediate surroundings. The Geneva Transport Card is such an example.

Either way, enjoy your stay!
Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Feb 26, 2011 - 9:24 PM
Hello,

We are a family of 6 (2 adults & 4 kids ages 15, 10, 7, 4) and we are planning a trip on the Bernina Express on May 27 from Tirano to St. Moritz and then taking the Glacier Express from St. Mortiz to Zermatt on May 28. I purchased the Swiss half fare card with the free family card.

I'm hoping this was the best choice for our family to save some money?

We're planning to travel from Zermatt to Milan on May 29 and I'm not sure what I should do about that journey? I've purchased reservations for the Bernina Express, but haven't been able to purchase reservations for the Glacier Express yet.....seems you can't reserve anything past May 22 right now? I'm not sure what to do about our journey from Zermatt to Milan? Should I wait and buy the tickets once we get to Zermatt or should I purchase them in advance now? I'm not sure how that leg of our journey would work with our half fare card going into Italy? Do I need to buy 2 different tickets? We fly out of Milan's Linate airport for home on May 30 @ 06:55 so I definitely don't want to risk not getting back to Milan on the 29th.

Any help or suggestions would be very appreciated. None of us have ever travel by train in Europe, so this will be a new experience for us. :-)
Annika
Annika
4355 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 27, 2011 - 1:55 PM
Hello gnjcampbell! When booking your Glacier Express seats through RailEurope, this can only be done about 60 days in advance. So if you try to order through this way, you can best wait a little and try again when booking for May 29 is possible. If you want to book earlier, you can follow the link 'Glacier Express' under the header 'Other ways to arrange for seat reservations' at our seat reservation page. This booking form of the Rhaetian Railways allows you to enter dates well past May 29.

You can purchase the 50% discounted tickets for the Swiss leg of the trip (Zermatt-Domodossola), at which the Swiss Half Fare Card is valid, in Zermatt before boarding the train. As long as your seat reservation is made in advance, the tickets themselves can be purchased right before the trip. For the Italian leg (Domodossola-Milano), full fare tickets must be purchased. These can probably be bought at Zermatt as well.

The Swiss timetable may also help you plan your trip.
Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Feb 27, 2011 - 2:54 PM
Thank you so much for the information. It has helped us a great deal and is very appreciated! :-)

I purchased our Swiss half fare card through the link you provided a few days ago and also made our seat reservations for the Bernina Express on May 27. I will try the other link you provided tomorrow to see if I can make seat reservations for the Glacier Express for May 28.

Thanks again,
Greg

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