Swiss Half Fare Card and ID? Must be passport?

Swiss Half Fare Card and ID? Must be passport?

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JohnT
JohnT
4 posts
new member
Jun 5, 2017 - 3:40 AM

Hello,

We will be travelling to Switzerland on vacation mid-June for 10 days from Canada. We'd like to buy the Swiss Half Fare Card CHF 120.00 and print it at home. However there is a disclaimer that we need to carry our passports when we travel . We are concerned that there is a little risk that we may lose the passports or damage them, especially in the mountains.

Is there another way to buy the Swiss Half Fare Card that would require showing the passport only once and not all the times? If we have the tickets shipped to us (extra cost) -do we still need to show it every time ? or can we buy it at the Zurich airport and show the passport only once when we buy it ?

Can we perhaps use our drivers' license as Id instead? or a passport photocopy?

Thanks.

Lucas
Lucas
5659 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 5, 2017 - 9:26 AM in reply to JohnT

Hi John and welcome to MySwissAlps!

I understand your concerns, but unfortunately the train employees will randomly ask you to show your passport when they check your tickets as well. They do need to see the original passport as well. Where you buy the passport doesn't affect this - it is on the train where they may ask to confirm your identity along with your valid Swiss Half fare Card and ticket.

I would still buy the Swiss Half Fare Card online and print at home (easiest option). I'm not sure what you are planning to do in the mountains - but keeping the passport in an inside zippered coat pocket or backpack should be ok? Losing a passport is something that can happen anywhere unfortunately.

Lucas

Last modified on Jun 5, 2017 - 9:27 AM by Lucas
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Jun 5, 2017 - 10:39 PM in reply to JohnT

Hi JohnT -

Lucas is correct. Although it has not happened frequently, I have been asked to show my passport during random checks of rail passes on Swiss trains. I'd not take the chance of traveling without it.

Slowpoke

JohnT
JohnT
4 posts
new member
Jun 6, 2017 - 1:12 AM

Thanks for your quick replies Lucas and Slowpoke.

Our main concern is not so much the train where we'll have the passports on us anyway, but using it for the cable car (50% discount with the Swiss half price card sounds interesting) and then hiking. In the past in other mountains, we got caught by torrential rain several times during longer day hikes and got soaked. A passport would have been damaged, luckily we left in the car or hotel, never hiked with it. We'd like to enjoy our trip free of worries as much as possible.

On the same topic: can we buy the Swiss half price card at the Zurich airport when we land ? Is it more advantageous ?

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
4489 posts
expert
Jun 6, 2017 - 1:22 AM in reply to JohnT

Hi John-

I carry my passport in a small plastic bag with a closure.

As far as purchasing goes, I believe that you can purchase the half-farepass when you land. I did it for my grandson a few years ago.

Arno, et al., are better able to answer the more detailed question-n "advantageous?"

I suspect that you might have to do a few calculations, unless you place a high value on not buying a ticket for every journey.

That has not been a problem for me in 30 + years. I use half fare cards for m travel patterns.

Slowpoke

Arno
Arno
10361 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 6, 2017 - 9:29 AM

Hi everybody,

I've been traveling and hiking in Switzerland with my original passport on me for years and haven't lost or damaged it yet, even while it was raining or snowing. I've kept it well protected from the elements and pickpockets. Make sure you have a copy somewhere just in case, but be sure to keep that safe too as a stolen copy can cause trouble as well.

As for where/how to buy the Swiss Half Fare Card (or other passes): print at home is the quickest option as you can skip the staffed ticket desk, which can be crowded especially at the airport. Also it's the safer option if you're concerned about lost or theft: you'll receive a PDF file to print, and you can print it again if needed. So unlike a hard copy purchase locally, it would be very hard to lose your pass if you buy it online and print it. Lucas already shared the link with purchase options. Most buy through the tourist web shop of the Swiss Railway: www.swissrailways.com/ en. Pick "Online Ticket" when asked for the delivery option. You'll receive it in 1 to 3 business days, but usually in 1 business day.

Last modified on May 17, 2018 - 11:50 AM by Arno
JohnT
JohnT
4 posts
new member
Jun 9, 2017 - 3:52 PM

Thanks for all the info. We purchased the pass and printed it at home, the email back came the same day.

Do we need to validate it ? I just found the link with the 3 good pdf's from Kim (www.myswissalps.com/fo rum/topic/tips-about-wengen-and-the-jungfrau-region-by-kim) ,

and in the 2nd pdf it says: "buy and/or have your discount travel card validated at any ticket window. (This is important – if you board the train without having your card validated at the window you can be subject to a 180 Euro fine.)". The pdf is from 2015 I think- is this still the case in 2017 ?

Lucas
Lucas
5659 posts
expert &
moderator
Jun 9, 2017 - 4:34 PM in reply to JohnT

Hi John,

Usually you do not need to validate a Swiss Travel Pass anymore - read our how to use the Swiss Travel Pass here . If all details are already filled in on the pass then you are good to go (Passport #, names, start date etc.)

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