Buying swiss pass + tickets, but not much $ differ

  • nevinleiby
    2 posts
    25 June 2010 at 11:09:07 #803878

    Great forum, but I have a silly question:
    My wife (2 adults, 2nd class) and I will be traveling from:
    day 1) Bern -> Wenger
    day 1-2-3) Hiking as much as I can fit into the schedule
    day 2-3) Interested in the Schilthorn / Piz Gloria trip (via Lauterbrunnen -> Murren?)
    Lauterbrunnen shopping
    day 4) Wenger -> Venice (understandably, not much difference because international travel)

    day 5-9) Travel to Rome (considering renting a car from Venice -> Rome. I don’t think that a trip to Switzerland/Italy is complete without Venice + Rome =)
    But when I fill out the forms for the swiss pass and buying the tickets (click off “rail pass” on SBB’s page), I don’t see that much of a price difference.
    Is there something that I’m not doing right? Or does the Swiss pass only provide a discount for these trips? I was expecting to see a much greater price difference with the purchase of a Swiss Pass.

  • nevinleiby
    2 posts
    25 June 2010 at 17:11:51 #831452

    (Followup question):

    if I buy the Swiss Pass or 1/2 rate pass, but make a mistake when I purchase a ticket (eg, I don’t select the appropriate box), can I get refunded the cost if the existing Swiss Pass was not applied to the purchase?

    7004 posts
    26 June 2010 at 6:15:27 #831453

    Hello nevinleiby! Don’t mind asking your questions here, they’re not stupid! When ordering tickets for international trips through the SBB website (for example from Wengen to Venice), you can indeed select whether you have a valid Swiss rail pass. If you own a Swiss Saver Pass, you can select ‘GA 2.Kl’ in this drop-down list, which means ‘General Abonnement (= pass/season ticket) 2nd class’. This offers the same discounts and free travel options as the Swiss Pass. In your case, it would mean that the Swiss part of your journey, being from Wengen to the Swiss border station of Domodossola, is for free, as this is covered by your Swiss Saver Pass. The Italian part of the trip has no discounts at all. I tried a sample connection on Wednesday June 30th, which costs CHF 151.00 without a valid Swiss rail pass and CHF 76.00 with a Swiss rail pass. Is this what you mean?

    Ordering tickets in advance for the other train trips within Switzerland isn’t necessary. Reservations aren’t required here, they only are in case of your outbound trip to Venice. If you have a Swiss Saver Pass, you’d only have to purchase tickets for the Italian leg of the trip. Train, bus and boat trips within Switzerland are for free, cable cars and mountain trains are discounted. Please review the synoptic map through the link ‘Overview of the network on which the Swiss Pass is valid’ at the Swiss Pass page; this indicates where free travelling and discounts apply. If you choose to buy a Swiss Half Fare Card, then you need to purchase discounted tickets for each trip. But it’s easiest to do this at the spot. You can use ticketing machines at the railway stations, available in English as well and allowing you to purchase half-priced tickets very easily. I don’t know if refunds are possible if you buy the wrong ticket. It’s best to contact the SBB with this question.

    You seem to doubt whether a Swiss Saver Pass or Swiss Half Fare Card is the best option. Ultimately, this depends on your exact travel plans, including your trips on day 2 and 3. Calculations can be made following the advice in our rail FAQ. But to help you out a bit: the general costs of the trip you plan are as follows (per person and in 2nd class):

    • Bern-Wengen: CHF 39.20
    • return trip Wengen-Mürren, via Lauterbrunnen and Grütschalp: CHF 32.80
    • return trip Mürren-Schilthorn: CHF 71.40
    • Wengen-Domodossola: CHF 64.20

    This makes a total of CHF 207.60. A Swiss Saver Pass costs CHF 221.00 per person, but the discounted ticket for the trip Mürren-Schilthorn should be added to this, making a total of CHF 256.70. A Swiss Half Fare Card costs CHF 99.00 and allows tickets discounted by 50%, which makes a total of CHF 99.00 + CHF 103.80 = CHF 202.80. So the Swiss Half Fare Card is cheaper, but if you plan to make some longer train or bus journeys on day 2 and 3, the Swiss Saver Pass may be cost effective as well.

    I hope this helps you out!

    2 posts
    27 June 2010 at 8:06:14 #831454

    Perfect. I was leaning toward getting the 1/2 rate pass – I think that will be more cost-effective. Hopefully we can return in a few years and get the traditional swiss pass =)


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