Car or train in Switzerland with elderly parents

Car or train in Switzerland with elderly parents

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Ivana s
Ivana s
5 posts
new member
May 16, 2018 - 5:52 AM

Hi, I will be going to Switzerland with my family (2 elderly, 5 adult) on 10 june - 19 june. We still confuse about which is better to travel because we will go with my parents (75 years old and 66 years old), they can walk but not for a long time and can't climb stairs too much, considering this condition, is it better if we use a rental car or use swiss pass and use train. Our itinerary:

10 june arrive at Geneva and travel around then continue to Lausanne and stay there

11 june explore Montreux and going back to stay in Lausanne

12 june continue to Zermatt and spend a night there

13 june go to Interlaken stay in Wilderswill

14 june visit Jungfraujoch stay in Wilderswill

15 june depart to Lucerne and stay there

16 june go to Mt. Titlis and still stay in Lucerne

17-19 june Zurich and fly back to Indonesia

Based on our itinerary, could you suggest the best way for us to travel in Switzerland? Does train station in Switzerland friendly with elderly user, no steep stairs?

rockoyster
rockoyster
3397 posts
expert
May 16, 2018 - 6:28 AM in reply to Ivana s

Hello Ivana s and Welcome to MySwissAlps,

Most train stations have ramps or lifts to access platforms. There are some places you mention which are not accessible by car anyway. (eg Zermatt and Jungfraujoch). So if you can get accommodation near train stations I would use the wonderful Swiss public transport network.

Before you decide you should read www.myswissalps.com/ca rversustrain.

If you decide on trains then you should use the SBB Timetable (www.myswissalps.com/ti metable) to plan your travel. If you are not familiar with using the timetable it will pay to first read the instructions on that page.

You should also read “How to choose the best travel pass” (www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass).

Peterli
Peterli
401 posts
top member
May 16, 2018 - 10:14 AM in reply to Ivana s

Hello Ivana,

You have a very interesting itinerary. I would like to know how many people are in your group. Are you five adults including two elderly or are you a total of seven ? If you are seven in all, and assuming that you will have some luggage, you will need to have a large vehicle if you decide to rent a car. Alternatively, you could hire two cars. You will have to weigh the cost advantages of train versus car. If you go by train, then you will have to multiply the cost of tickets or passes by seven. With a car rental, the cost can be divided by the number of people who will be using that vehicle. With a car rental, you have greater flexibility about where you can go and where you can stop, but then you must find places to park, and parking is not always free or convenient. With a car rental, there will be less hassles with handling luggage. Rockoyster has pointed out that you can't drive your car up to the Jungfraujoch, and you should also note that there is a discount on the fare if you are traveling with a train pass. I should also ask if there are people in your group who are comfortable driving on the right side of the road. Swiss roads are very safe and signage is very good, but this is an extra factor that people coming from countries where they drive on the left side of the road, including your Indonesia and Rockoyster's Australia, should consider. So, to finish for now, are you seven or five in your group ?

Ivana s
Ivana s
5 posts
new member
May 16, 2018 - 10:58 PM in reply to Peterli

Hi Peterli, thank you for your explanation, to answer your question:

We are 7 people with 4 luggages, yes we will need a bigger vehicle to accomodate all of us and luggages, we think to rent Citroen Spacetourer, do you think this car is big enough for us? Do you know car rental website which offer bigger vehicle with reasonable price?

If we rent a car, we will park our car in Tasch and then continue to Zermatt by train then get back to pick up the car the next day. When we are going to Jungfraujoch, we will leave the car at the hotel and walk to Wilderswill station to get on the train to Jungfraujoch, our hotel is located about 300 meters from Wilderswill Station.

My big brother can drive on the right side of the road (he drove a car when visit Scandinavia a year ago). But somehow I read many people warn about driving in Switzerland can be tricky, there are some roads that forbidden during the day and open at night, is there a clear sign to tell us about this, we can understand only English, what language does the road sign use? Is it really difficult to find a parking place everywhere or only in the city? If only in the city maybe we will use tram to explore the city and use car when we go out of the city.

Sorry, I came up with more question when answered your question.

Ivana s
Ivana s
5 posts
new member
May 17, 2018 - 12:41 AM in reply to rockoyster

Hi Rockoyster, thank you for you suggestion and link, we can learn more about swiss pass.

Lucas
Lucas
5628 posts
expert &
moderator
May 17, 2018 - 1:09 AM in reply to Ivana s

Hi Ivana,

I know Peter will jump in as well but I'll try and answer a couple questions.

I haven't heard of any roads closed during the day but open at night.Some roads are closed entirely in the winter. road signs will be in the local language - but the signs/signals are international so you should be fine. Swiss roads can be tricky as far as some go up over the mountains and can be very windy/twisty and you have to pay attention.

Read more about driving in Switzerland here.

I would avoid driving in larger cities - leave it at hotel and use local buses, trams or trains. Parking can be limited and expensive.

Peterli
Peterli
401 posts
top member
May 17, 2018 - 6:15 AM in reply to Ivana s

Hello Ivana,

I did a bit of digging and found that the car rental company called SIXT has the Citroën Spacetourer 7. The vehicle has AC and unlimited kilometres, an automatic transmission and supposedly has room for 7 people and 2 pieces of luggage. They also have the Opel Vivaro, also with AC and unlimited kilometres, but a manual transmission, and supposedly having room for 9 people and 2 bags. I put in your dates (June 10 and June 19) with pickup at the Geneva airport and drop off at the Zurich airport. The base rate is 69.17 CHF per day, which along with a road tax of 4.26 CHF per day, comes to 660.84 CHF for 9 days. However, to this you must add a premium location fee (airports are premium locations) of 125.55 CHF and taxes of 60.55 CHF. This brings you to a total of 846.94 CHF. This seems to be plenty of money, but when you divide the total by seven, the number of people in your group, it's pretty reasonable considering it is for nine days. Most vehicles have a built-in GPS and all of those rented in Switzerland are supposed to have a vignette, which allows you to travel freely on all of the autoroutes. If you do decide to rent, check to see if your credit card provider gives you free collision insurance if you pay in full with their credit card. If so, you can skip the CDW (collision or loss damage waiver) which otherwise will cost 25.06 CHF per day. If not, you should give serious consideration to this additional charge. There is also extra insurance available for personal accident protection (7.42 CHF per day), tire and glass protection (5.67 CHF per day), and roadside protection (5.09 CHF per day) which would undoubtedly give you greater peace of mind. These amounts, if you divide each by 7 (the number of people in your group) are fairly minimal. I also looked at the Citroën Spacetourer and its total cost would be about 70 CHF less. I also saw a photo (see attached image) of the rear end of the Citroën and it looked like there were more than two pieces of luggage in it, with room to spare.

The figures above are from the SIXT rental agency. You may do some comparisons of rates by checking autoeurope.com.

Lucas has given excellent advice about driving and parking in the larger cities. It's best to find a place to park in Lausanne, Lucerne, and Zurich (hopefully at a centrally-located hotel) and just rely on the excellent public transportation systems in these places. You might even consider taking a lake boat to go from Lausanne to Montreux (perhaps Chillon) and back.

Regarding signage, I would not worry at all. Roads and direction indicators are well marked, and all the symbols are international, as Lucas has already stated. One thing you should notice, when a traffic light goes from red to green, there is short yellow light between the red and then the green.

If you decide to go the rental route, be sure to pick up a blue disk which is to be used when parking in blue zones. The rental people will explain this to you.

Last modified on May 17, 2018 - 6:35 AM by Peterli
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Ivana s
Ivana s
5 posts
new member
May 17, 2018 - 8:29 AM in reply to Peterli

Thank you so much Peterli, you did extra effort for me with my rental car, yes we will rent it from sixt because it gives cheaper price and we also add insurance and protection too. Hope all the best for you.

Ivana s
Ivana s
5 posts
new member
May 17, 2018 - 8:32 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas, thank you for your explanation and driving information in Switzerland, we will rent a car for our trip. Hope for the best for you.

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