Printing e-tickets from Basel SBB to Colmar

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rockoyster
rockoyster
7583 posts
expert
Sep 27, 2019 - 5:22 AM

Hi Team,

Currently well into our second week of our 2019 Swiss sojourn and enjoying it greatly. Montreux this week forecast plenty of rain but it never really eventuated.

In a week we are making a trip to Colmar. The cheapest tickets I can find are the ones bought through The SBB on-line ticket shop.

Question : Do I need to print these out or can the on-line ticket be scanned on a French train in the same way the ticket inspectors scan on-line tickets in Switzerland. Or would it be safer just to buy a ticket from an SBB station so I have a hard copy.

Anna
Anna
214 posts
active member &
moderator
Sep 27, 2019 - 8:48 AM

Hi Rockoyster,

If you purchased the tickets from the Internet and have access to a printer, it's a good idea to print them out. Or you can request for a print out at the station. There might be charges for that however. In which case, it's probably better to buy them from the ticket station after all.

If you purchased the tickets from the mobile app, you just need to show them to the conductor upon request. Most Swiss/French trains allow Internet connections, so make sure your smartphone is connected. As a backup, you can take a screenshot of your tickets.

Be sure to check these:

www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/practical
www.myswissalps.com/tr aintickets/france

Enjoy the rest of your journey!

Anna

Last modified on Sep 27, 2019 - 6:11 PM by Anna
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6864 posts
expert
Sep 27, 2019 - 11:51 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rocky-

<<"Question : Do I need to print these out or can the on-line ticket be scanned on a French train in the same way the ticket inspectors scan on-line tickets in Switzerland. Or would it be safer just to buy a ticket from an SBB station so I have a hard copy.">>

You answered your own question.

It may not be high-tech, but a printed ticket is the surest option for avoiding complexities.

Slowpoke

rockoyster
rockoyster
7583 posts
expert
Sep 28, 2019 - 5:42 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Thanks Anna And Slowpoke.

I have yet to try out the mysteries of the SBB ticket machines. Would they sell tickets Basel to Colmar?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6864 posts
expert
Sep 28, 2019 - 7:11 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster -

<<"Would they sell tickets Basel to Colmar?">>

Hmnn.Whenever I have used the SBB for travels to other countries, such as Austria, I contacted the ticket office on the internet and worked with them. I did those bookings from at home, before I left the USA.

So, even though I have bought similar tickets, I don't know if the machines will do it, too.

www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/services/cust omerdialogue.html

However, since you are in Switzerland, you are rarely far from an SBB ticket machine, and they'll run their routine all the way to the step where you can choose to pay...or not. They do German, French, Italian and English.

Not sure about 'Strine. ;-)

Slowpoke

rockoyster
rockoyster
7583 posts
expert
Sep 28, 2019 - 1:23 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Hi Slowpoke

The ticket machines speak a pretty good form of English but declined to sell me a ticket from Basel to Colmar. I shall visit a staffed office at a low activity moment.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6864 posts
expert
Sep 28, 2019 - 2:03 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster.

<<"The ticket machines speak a pretty good form of English but declined to sell me a ticket from Basel to Colmar.">>

Pleased to hear that they can communicate with you, but sorry that they refuse to sell you a ticket to a foreign country.

I note that at major stations there is an SBB Travel Buro, usually next to the ticket counters. That is where I would go if I were in a major station. Take a number.

Don't know about the smaller stations, but I suspect that the agents are trained for that process.

Slowpoke

Last modified on Sep 28, 2019 - 2:23 PM by Slowpoke
Dym1581
Dym1581
2 posts
new member
Sep 29, 2019 - 5:23 PM in reply to rockoyster

Hi,

We’ve been traveling around Switzerland for the last nine days and only purchase train tickets using the SBB Mobile App. So convenient! I downloaded the app and set up an account. You can check train schedule and book through the app. Once you book, SBB will send e-mail to confirm your booking with your digital tickets attached. The conductor can scan these digital tickets.

Also, when looking at the train schedule, often times there’re some discount travel time. Since we were traveling one way from Zurich, Luzern, Lauterbrunnen, Bern, Montreux, Vevey, Lausanne and last stop Geneva. Highly recommend getting the SBB mobile app for your Switzerland travels!

Have fun and good luck with your travels!

rockoyster
rockoyster
7583 posts
expert
Sep 29, 2019 - 6:00 PM in reply to Dym1581

Thanks Dym. I would never leave home without my trusty SBB app but unfortunately it doesn’t sell you tickets in France. 😎

Dym1581
Dym1581
2 posts
new member
Sep 29, 2019 - 8:53 PM in reply to rockoyster

You can easily buy your tickets when you’re in Switzerland. We bought tickets as close as less than an hour before the train we want to take. Or if we see discount fare, we just spend more time sightseeing before heading to the train station. Leave our luggage’s in the locker at the station. Traveled through Switzerland for 9 days without any pre-booked train tickets.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6864 posts
expert
Sep 29, 2019 - 10:07 PM in reply to Dym1581

Hi Dym1581 -

<<"Traveled through Switzerland for 9 days without any pre-booked train tickets.">>

That is the norm for travel in Switzerland. I've never been on a mainline Swiss train since 1980 where I could not simply board and get a seat. Rush hours near big cities may be different, but I've not had trouble then, personally.

Different story for trains to other countries; typically, they will have reserved seats

Slowpoke

rockoyster
rockoyster
7583 posts
expert
Sep 30, 2019 - 5:06 AM in reply to Dym1581

I’m well aware of that Dym but I think you may have missed the actual point of this thread which is about tickets on FRENCH trains.

Steph
Steph
1979 posts
top member &
moderator
Sep 30, 2019 - 5:57 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster mate,

I was beginning to miss you here on the forum, nice to read something written by you! :)

For tickets to France I would also not rely on the ticketing machine but rather approach a ticketing office, which I believe you've already done.

Enjoy your time here and be good. :)

Cheers,
Steph

rockoyster
rockoyster
7583 posts
expert
Sep 30, 2019 - 7:07 AM in reply to Steph

Hiya Steph,

Thanks for the greetings.

Too busy enjoying ourselves to spend much time on the forum.

l am being really, really good . . . honest. 😉

Steph
Steph
1979 posts
top member &
moderator
Sep 30, 2019 - 7:09 AM in reply to rockoyster

Course, the only right thing to do, ENJOY travelling!!!! :)

wasn't complaining, just glad to hear from you..

Have fun..

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6864 posts
expert
Sep 30, 2019 - 7:20 AM in reply to rockoyster

<<"l am being really, really good . . . honest. 😉">>

To paraphrase the bard...

<<The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.">>

[Hamlet, act 3, scene 3].

Slowpoke

Last modified on Sep 30, 2019 - 7:41 AM by Slowpoke
rockoyster
rockoyster
7583 posts
expert
Oct 9, 2019 - 7:28 AM

Well that was fun.

Access to the SNFC station at Basel SBB used to be via a passageway/food hall to the left of the main doors as you head out.

Currently the “passageway” is a construction area and the only access to the French platforms 31-35 is to go out into the street, turn left and walk about 100 meters.

Once there you will find a single ticket machine (there is no staffed ticket office). You can choose English as your language of choice but that only stretches to navigational instructions. All the description of ticket choices is still in French!

Once you have printed your ticket you will see a small yellow device labelled “composter” at the entrance to the platforms. You must validate your ticket using this device before catching the train. (compost translates to punch)

If you just stick the ticket in the device it is not guaranteed that anything will happen. You have to put the ticket into the slot bar code first and on the top. Fair enough. But what isn’t apparent is that you MUST put the ticket in the slot so the ticket touches the left-hand side of the slot. When you do that the machine whirs and clanks and prints a date and time on the ticket.

If it was not for the arrival of a charming Swiss gentleman with perfect English we would still have been attempting to purchase and compost our tickets.

After all that it appears that you can use the OUI.SNCF app to buy “mobile” tickets in much the same way you might use the SBB app. See attached translated from www.ter.sncf.com/grand -est/questions-reponses.

One upside to the SNCF trains is that they offer a seniors discount for folks over 60.

Non of the fore-going is strictly relevant to this forum but I’m sure many visitors to Switzerland and especially Basel would consider a day trip to Colmar. It’s awfully cute, especially early morning and in the evenings when the tourist convoys dissipate.

Please login to see the attached documents
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
6864 posts
expert
Oct 9, 2019 - 7:42 AM in reply to rockoyster

H Rockoyster -

Thanks for the heads up on the SNCF ticket fun.

It is always helpful, if painful, to be reminded by contrast how well the Swiss manage things like that.

Slowpoke

rockoyster
rockoyster
7583 posts
expert
Oct 9, 2019 - 8:30 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Indeed.

By contrast to Basel the Colmar station has a well staffed-ticket sales office and there are multiple ticket machines in the main hall.

Annika
Annika
6100 posts
expert &
moderator
Oct 10, 2019 - 8:17 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thanks for your update, Rockoyster! Glad to hear you managed to end up with the right ticket after all, and that you got to enjoy your day in Colmar :-).

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