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Half Fare or Swiss Card Worth it with Tell-Pass?

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5 posts
new member
Aug 2, 2012 - 11:40 AM

Apologies in advance for how long and complicated this question is, but I want to ask the experts here if I'm missing something.

And a quick question at the beginning: are fares for children under 6 always free? Including local/mountain rail (e.g. Rigi bahn) and Boat (SGV)?

Now the longer, complicated part!

We've bought the Tell-Pass for 7-10 day trips to the Luzern area and it has really worked out well for trips where we only stayed in the Luzern area (Weggis). The 5/15 pass works out great for a 7 day trip with a lot of mountain rail and boat usage on 5 of the days and hikes on the other two.

This trip, we're flying into Geneva and staying near Lausanne for a few days before heading to Luzern/Weggis.

I was looking at the Swiss Card and the Half Fare card, and it doesn't seem like it will be worth it for this trip for two adults, one child (4 years).

Per Adult:
Half fare cards are CHF 110, Swiss Cards CHF 186
Trip from GVA to where we're staying near Lausanne CHF 15 (free with Swiss Card)
Trip from there to Luzern CHF 35 (1/2 with either STS card)
Trip from Luzern to ZRH by taxi (no rail savings).

Tell Pass CHF 50 discount with STS card

Total discounts:
15+17+50 = CHF 82 vs 186 Swiss Card
7+17+50 = CHF 74 vs 110 half fare card Card

So unless we plan to spend a ton on local travel in two-three days around Lausanne, the STS cards don't seem worth it. And if we do that, we'd be better off getting the Geneva regional pass at around CHF 99 (but it would take a LOT of local travel to make that worth it).

Am I missing something?

Thanks so much in advance for reading, and for any advice!

7112 posts
expert &
Aug 3, 2012 - 6:45 AM

Welcome Carl! You're doing a good job making such calculations. I found different fares though though: CHF 25.00 from GVA to Lausanne (but I don't know the exact town near Lausanne you're staying in) and CHF 61.00 from Lausanne to Lucerne. I'm not sure which website you used for these prices, but the SBB timetable is the most reliable one. You have to be aware that half fare prices are displayed here by default, and you'll only get to see regular full fare prices if you untick the 'half-fare' box. This means you'll save about CHF 43.00 on these two trips + CHF 50.00 on your Tell Pass = CHF 93.00 with a Swiss Half Fare Card. So only a few local trips from Geneva and Lausanne could easily make the Swiss Half Fare Card an economical option.

Yes, children under 6 travel for free as long as they're accompanied by an adult.

By the way, are you aware of the 2 for 1 offer on the Tell Pass for traveling in September-November?

I hope this helps you out!

Last modified on Dec 24, 2021 - 8:24 AM by Arno
5 posts
new member
Aug 3, 2012 - 10:30 AM
> You have to be aware that half fare prices are displayed here by default,

That is VERY useful information! I had not noticed that when calculating the fares. It looks like it is pretty close in terms of savings, and if for example we were to go 1st class from Lausanne (actually St. Saphorin) to Luzern, the savings are definitely worth it.

I saw the 2-for-1 deal on the Tell Pass, but unfortunately we're going in August (next week!). Actually, not 'unfortunately' because anytime I get to go to Switzerland that's great!

Thanks for your help!


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