How to use the Swiss Half Fare Card

How to use the Swiss Half Fare Card

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How does the Swiss Half Fare Card work?

With a Swiss Half Fare Card you are entitled to buy tickets at half the regular fare. Get such a ticket before each trip and then board with your Swiss Half Fare Card and the ticket at hand.

Card validation

This is mostly a thing of the past. In almost all cases, the Swiss Half Fare Card is ready for traveling when you receive it (or print it at home). You can verify that by checking if all information (start date, passenger names and passport numbers) is already printed on it, and there's nothing left to fill out.

In rare cases, one of the validation (or: activation) processes below applies:

  • You can validate the card yourself. This is the case if there is no area on the card that requires a stamp from the Swiss Railways, and if the start date of the pass is already printed on it. You will need to fill out a few details: usually the name and passport number of the traveler, and the country of residence;
  • Your card needs to be validated by railway personnel. This is the case if there is an area that requires a stamp from the Swiss Railways, and if the start date of the card is not filled out yet. You can have the card validated at a staffed Swiss station or by personnel on board international trains bound for Switzerland.

Period of validity

A Swiss Half Fare Card is valid for one month. If validity starts on July 15 it will end after August 14.

Tickets

You need to arrange for a discounted ticket before starting each trip. Tickets are available at manned rail stations during opening hours, from the ticketing machines at (rail) stations or online. You can only get discounted tickets for yourself, so every adult needs a Swiss Half Fare Card of his own.

Seat reservations

You do not need seat reservations for 99% of all trains and buses in Switzerland. You can just board with your Swiss Half Fare Card plus a ticket. Exceptions are some international trains and some panoramic trains like the Glacier Express and Bernina Express. If you need, or want, seat reservations, you need to arrange for them separately. Seat reservations are not included in the Swiss Half Fare Card.

About train seat reservations
About bus seat reservations

On board the train

Once you're on board, you will need to present your Swiss Half Fare Card plus your ticket to the ticket controllers upon request. The controller may want to check your passport as well, to make sure you're the owner of the presented card.

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