How does the Swiss Travel Pass Flex work?
You choose the free travel days yourself. On these days, you can travel as much as you like and you do not need tickets. Just board with your pass and enjoy the ride. In case of cable cars and most other mountain transport you need buy a discounted ticket.
This is mostly a thing of the past. In almost all cases, the Swiss Travel Pass Flex is ready for traveling when you receive it. 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 pass yourself. This is the case if there is no area on the pass 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 pass 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 pass is not filled out yet. You can have the pass validated at a staffed Swiss station or by personnel on board international trains bound for Switzerland.
Nearly all "print at home" passes do not need to be validated, as all information (start date, passenger names and passport numbers) is already on it.
Swiss Travel Pass Flex free travel days
Once your Swiss Travel Pass Flex is valid, you can use it for free traveling. The days may be consecutive or non-consecutive as long as they're used up within a month. You simply need to write down the date of the next free travel day in the designated area on the pass. Do so before you start traveling, not when you're already on board.
The start time of a free travel day is not relevant. There's no difference between July 15 at 8:00 AM or July 15 at 7:00 PM. July 15 still counts as a full free travel day, and the pass is basically valid from 0:00 that day. Say that your pass is valid from July 15, it will expire August 14 at the latest. Free travel days end on 5:00 AM of the following day, so that allows you to complete late night trips, even after midnight. In this example, validity of the pass ends on August 15, 5:00 AM, if you would choose August 14 as the last free travel day.
If you have a 4-day pass that is valid from July 15, you could use the free travel days on July 15, July 18, August 2 and August 15, for example. But you could also choose consecutive days like August 1, 2, 3 and 4.
There are two types of trips:
- Trips on routes that allow free traveling. On a free travel day, you can just board any train, bus, boat, etc. on such routes. You do not need a ticket;
- Trips on routes that allow discounted traveling. This applies to transportation into the mountains. You need to arrange for a discounted ticket. You can do so online or at the ticket office of the cable car. Present your pass to make sure you'll get the discount.
There are a few cable cars that allow free traveling. In such cases you may need to get a ticket as access gates require a specific ticket type. You can get a free ticket upon presenting your Swiss Travel Pass Flex.
Traveling on non-free travel days
If you want to travel on any of the days in between the free travel days, you will have to purchase a regular ticket. There are no discounts on such days. The Swiss Family Card is not valid either, so children from 6 to 15 would need a ticket, or a Junior travelcard.
Swiss Travel Pass Flex Combi
This option is available until December 31, 2016. You may save money by adding a Swiss Half Fare Card to your Swiss Travel Pass Flex. The Swiss Half Fare Card allows you to buy discounted tickets even on the non-free travel days. You will get a 50% discount on the Swiss Half Fare Card if you buy it as an add-on to your Swiss Travel Pass Flex; this combination is the Swiss Travel Pass Flex Combi. This also allows you to use the Swiss Family Card every day.
Important: the Swiss Half Fare Card is only valid between the first and last free travel day of your Swiss Travel Pass Flex. If that does not fit your plans you can best buy an additional regular Swiss Half Fare Card, rather than this "Combi".
You do not need seat reservations for 99% of all trains and buses in Switzerland. You can just board with your Swiss Travel Pass Flex. 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 pass.
About train seat reservations
About bus seat reservations
On board the train
Once you're on board, you will need to present your Swiss Travel Pass Flex to ticket controllers upon request. The controller may want to check your passport as well, to make sure you're the owner of the presented pass.
Traveling beyond the area covered by the pass
You may have planned a trip not completely covered by the pass. You can check the map to find which part of your trip is covered. You will have to buy a ticket for the part of the trip that is not covered.
Example: you intend to travel from Milan to Interlaken. As you can see on the map, Domodossola - Interlaken is covered by the Swiss Travel Pass Flex. So you need to buy a ticket Milan - Domodossola. You don't need to get off the train in Domodossola. You have paid for the entire trip by the ticket and pass, so you can stay seated.