Aug 10, 2015 - 7:12 PM
Welcome to MySwissAlps, CharlesW!
Don't fear asking 'dumb' questions. Swiss rail passes are rather complex and we're glad to help. The Regional Pass Lake Geneva-Alps works exactly like you described. On free travel days, when using covered routes, you don't have to buy a ticket and you can simply board trains, buses or boats and show your pass when asked for. Mind that even on free travel days, there are a few routes that do require discounted tickets. You can check the exact validity overview at www.myswissalps.com/re gionalpasslakegeneva/v alidity. There's a downloadable map and an explanation of how to interpret it.
As for additional discounted tickets: on non-free travel days (or on discounted routes on free travel days), you'll have to buy a 50% discounted ticket before boarding. You can do so at railway stations, either at a manned desk or at ticketing machines. These have clear instructions in English. 50% discounted tickets are very common in Switzerland and you can easily select the "1/2" variant. If you need tickets for a boat trip or cable car, you buy them before boarding too. Just show your Regional Pass and you'll get a discounted ticket. If an officer checks your tickets along the way, show both your Regional Pass and the additional ticket.
Purchase options are listed at www.myswissalps.com/re gionalpasslakegeneva/p rice.