Beyond rail; riding other Swiss public transport

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Gunzel
Gunzel
150 posts
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Jun 4, 2018 - 2:39 AM

I appreciate this forum is about railways but, with the wonderful Swiss Public Transport system that combines all modes, I wondered how common is is to stick to "rail only" when visiting Switzerland or if people are happy about using other forms of public transport?

My plans are usually focussed on rail travel but happy to switch between modes as appropriate.

Some places (those accessed by cable car) are simply not able to be "done" by rail.

And the lovely boat trips on lakes are a joy to themselves.

Plus some incredible bus trips; one of the highlights of my most recent visit was the Post Bus from Brienz to Axalp. Took a little planning because it doesn't run too often but what an amazing trip!

One thing I haven't mentioned is the tram and trolley bus systems in many Swiss cities and towns. Nothing more enjoyable than a ride to "the end of the line" and stopping at a local bakery/cafe or bar (depending on the time of the day!) to enjoy some local "ambience".

I've often wondered how common this style of travel may be.

Arno
Arno
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Jun 4, 2018 - 5:21 AM in reply to Gunzel

Hi Gunzel,

That travel style is very common I think. This forum is about all modes of public transport, see the forum title and description here: www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/rail. Many people are focused on the trains though. That's the mode of transport being used most. In Switzerland you normally don't get to choose the mode of transport as it is route dependent. There's no bus if there's a train and vice versa. I agree with you that it's a joy to ride not only trains but also buses, boats, funiculars, cable cars, etc.

Last modified on Jun 4, 2018 - 9:22 AM by Arno
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Jun 4, 2018 - 9:28 AM in reply to Gunzel

Hi Gunzel,

I love travelling on the PostBuses, and have done some wonderful trips on them. I have written trip reports about some I did in 2016, but there are many, many more I would like to do if I ever get the time.

If you are interested, you can read my PostBus trip reports (with photos) here:

  • Trip report late August to mid-October 2016 (Saas Valley, Simplon Pass, Palm Express)

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/trip-report-late-august-to-mid-october-2016

  • PostBus over the Flüela Pass

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/trip-report-postbus-over-the-fluela-pass

  • Lower Engadin – Ftan

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/trip-report-lower-engadin-ftan

  • PostBus through four passes of the Central Alps

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/postbus-through-four-passes-of-the-central-alps

  • Bregaglia Valley - Soglio

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/trip-report-bregaglia-valley-soglio

  • Grindelwald - Over the Grosse Scheidegg by bus

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/trip-report-over-the-grosse-scheidegg-by-bus

  • Ilanz to Chur via Laax and Flims

My post of Jun 6, 2017 - 4:54 AM on the following page:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/5-days-starting-from-geneva-planning

  • Bellinzona to Thusis via the San Bernardino Pass (but unfortunately through the tunnel instead of over the pass as I was expecting)

My post of Aug 11, 2017 - 1:55 AM on the following page:

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/rhb-lugano-to-tirano

Other PostBus trips I have enjoyed, but not written about, include:

  • Zernez to Scuol via the Val Müstair, Swiss National Park, Mals (in Italy), Nauders (Austria), and finally from Martina to Scuol.
  • Scuol to Samnaun - wonderful road through the mountains

The main thing to keep in mind with PostBus routes is that many of them, especially those on the most scenic routes, travel to high altitudes and are seasonal.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jun 4, 2018 - 9:33 AM by Removed user
Arno
Arno
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moderator
Jun 4, 2018 - 9:59 AM

Many post bus rides are indeed wonderful for the ride itself, not just for getting from A to B. In that respect this travel style might be less common especially to first time visitors. Such trips often just don't fit into the list of plans.

Gunzel
Gunzel
150 posts
active member
Jun 4, 2018 - 7:52 PM in reply to Removed user

I will read your reports with great interest Alpenrose666.

In 2013, I spent a wonderful day "doing" the minor train lines around St Gallen and worked out a convoluted itinerary that used post buses to link them together.

I did wonder at the time how many "international" tourists would do that sort of trip.

And even when visiting the Rhein Falls, I took a local bus to link up a couple of the train lines - to add variety - and it was so pleasant wandering down country lanes (as distinct from mountain roads) passing several small villages.

pvonk
pvonk
60 posts
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Jun 5, 2018 - 1:44 AM

For these other modes of travel, does the STP generally work (I’m thinking of bus between towns and inter-city trams and local buses?

When my son and I were in Zurich last year, we walked all over town, but I sure would have preferred taking a city tram for some of the routes. I made great use of this site to plan out train travel between cities but didn’t think of researching local town/city travel. I assumed walking would suffice (and it did in places like Wengen, even Interlaken, but not so much in Lausanne). When in Zurich, I couldn’t find info on where to buy tickets or whether our STPes were accepted.

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Jun 5, 2018 - 3:04 AM in reply to pvonk

>> For these other modes of travel, does the STP generally work (I’m thinking of bus between towns and inter-city trams and local buses?

Yes, it is valid on buses between localities, and local transport in many cities, towns and villages.

In the legend on the top right-hand side of the PDF map showing where the Swiss Travel Pass is valid, there is a red-and-white symbol that looks like a target, with the explanation "Also valid for local public transport". So, where you see that symbol on the map, local public transport is free with the Swiss Travel Pass.

www.myswissalps.com/sw isstravelpass/validity

>> When my son and I were in Zurich last year, we walked all over town, but I sure would have preferred taking a city tram for some of the routes ... When in Zurich, I couldn’t find info on where to buy tickets or whether our STPes were accepted.

You can indeed get free travel on local trains, trams, funiculars, buses and boats within Zürich, but unless you are also doing longer day trips on the same day, it's not cost-effective to use the Swiss Travel Pass just within Zürich.

There are a variety of ticket options for Zürich, depending on how far afield you want to travel. The main thing is to work out how many zones you are likely to travel in or through within a day, so your ticket or pass covers the correct number of zones.

The zone that covers central Zürich (Zone 110) counts as two zones. There are zone maps at tram and bus stops.

You can also use the online timetable to check which zones your intended trips will cover.

online.fahrplan.zvv.ch /bin/query.exe/en

At the top of ZVV timetable page is a map. On the right hand side of the map are zoom symbols (plus and minus signs). Immediately above the plus sign is a symbol like a stack of papers. When you have searched for and selected a connection, clicking on this symbol and ticking the box for "Fare zones" will overlay the zone map onto your trip, so you can see what zones your trip will cover. Adjust the zoom to get a suitable view.

Ticket options are described here:

www.zvv.ch/zvv/en/trav elcards-and-tickets/tickets.html

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jun 5, 2018 - 3:12 AM by Removed user
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Jun 5, 2018 - 5:45 AM in reply to Gunzel

>> I did wonder at the time how many "international" tourists would do that sort of trip.

Not many, I would imagine. Are you a regular visitor to Switzerland?

Alpenrose

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Jun 5, 2018 - 6:15 AM in reply to Gunzel

>> One thing I haven't mentioned is the tram and trolley bus systems in many Swiss cities and towns.

Have you tried the Seilbahn Rigiblick, the Dolderbahn and the Polybahn in Zürich? None of their routes are very long, but each provides a fun ride with a nice view at the top!

Alpenrose

maggiehorswell
maggiehorswell
623 posts
top member
Jun 6, 2018 - 9:58 PM in reply to Gunzel

Hi Gunzel

Like Alpenrose we are great fans of buses as well as trains and use as many forms of transport as possible when in Switzerland! We have also done the Brienz to Axalp trip twice and think it is a great ride. Have you done the Schnitzerweg (carving trail) up there?

I frequently search for alternative routes between places so we can go one way and return another - often going by rail and returning with a combination of different modes of travel. Possibly this is partly because we are frequent visitors to Switzerland so are more aware of the variety on offer.

Maggie

Gunzel
Gunzel
150 posts
active member
Jun 6, 2018 - 10:07 PM in reply to Removed user

I rode the Dolderbahn in 1974 then walked to the terminus of tram route 6 so a "round trip" of the style mentioned!

And of course have seen the Polybahn on several tram "excursions" around Zurich but not yet ridden on it.

Similarly, I recall seeing the Seilbahn Rigiblick when riding a trolley bus in Zurich.

All these get added to my "bucket list".

Twice I've ridden the bus to the end of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and returned to the cableway to Murren. Little extras like that not often "done" by international tourists are fascinating. I remember the bus driver at the end of the Lauterbrunnen Valley being quite "chuffed" by two Australian tourists consciously taking the ride rather than missing their stop! (How could anyone miss the stop at the falls).

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Jun 7, 2018 - 1:51 AM in reply to Gunzel

>> have seen the Polybahn on several tram "excursions" around Zurich but not yet ridden on it.

It only lasts a minute of course, but is fun! I wrote a bit about it in my post of Mar 12, 2018 - 3:27 AM towards the bottom of the following page. There are also some photos of it attached a bit further down the page.

www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/need-help-in-deciding-no-of-days-of-stp

>> Twice I've ridden the bus to the end of the Lauterbrunnen Valley

The hotel at the end of the line at Stechelberg apparently serves great food, according to our Wengen expert, Kim.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Jun 7, 2018 - 1:53 AM by Removed user

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