Oct 9, 2019 - 7:28 AM
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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.