Is Swiss Half Fare Card really a good deal?

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Drsjw
Drsjw
14 posts
new member
Apr 4, 2018 - 3:29 AM

after doing much calculating and timetable checking, I am thoroughly confused about the rail passes. I have been advised that the half fare card is usually the best deal, but I am not seeing a big savings.

We are 2 adults traveling with an 18 yr old.

Day 1. Arriving Zurich and taking the train directly to Lucern.

Day 2. Sightseeing around Lucerne

Day 3 train to Wengen with a stop around Bierz See/Interlaken

Day 4 Wengen to Mt first, lauterbrunnen, etc...

Day 5 Jungfraujoch?

Day 6 train to Bern, then on to Zurich

Day 7 day trip to Rhine falls/ Stein am Rhein etc...

Day 8 flight home.

According to my calculations, the major travel days will cost as much full fare as the cost of the 1/2 price tickets and the cost of the half fare pass itself. Am I wrong? I have not been able to figure out the cost of any of the bus/gondola trips we will be taking...but am not really seeing much savings here. (Maybe because I can’t find the other fare costs). Does anyone have any suggestions/comments/help?

Lucas
Lucas
9613 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 4, 2018 - 6:04 AM in reply to Drsjw

Hi drsjw,

It is quite possible that the Swiss Half Fare Card isn't the best option for your itinerary - it can't be the best for everyone; as everyone's itineraries are different.

You are correct that you have to spend a fair bit to start seeing savings with the Swiss Half Fare Card - 240chf essentially is when you break even. While you may not save a lot, you may save a little -which is always good. Have you looked at the 8 day Swiss Travel Pass as an option to look at as well?

You should be able to find prices for any and all routes in the Swiss railways timetable.

I'll add our link for our page on choosing the best rail pass but you may already have seen it and used the spreadsheet? https://www.myswissalp s.com/train/ticketspas ses/practical/choosera ilpass

munichmaria1
munichmaria1
12 posts
new member
Apr 4, 2018 - 11:44 AM in reply to Lucas

Hello, I too have been calculating for weeks the different costs associated with the travel passes. To say it is confusing is an understatement. I have an itinerary similar to yours but with Montreaux thrown in the mix. Anyway my spreadsheet has different columns for each category. It takes diligence but you can get there.

I agree the half fare card may end up being a push but where it pays for itself is at the jungfraujoch . That cost is over $209 presently. my situation ended up at $518 for half fare card and the Swiss Flex was $515 and the Swiss Rail Pass $490 (all first class) so all very close. The tipping point comes when you throw in the Jungfraujoch. For that trip alone the half fare card is worth it. Plus throw in the other Peak trips like Pilatus, Titlis, etc you can see how that is where the savings is. I plan on calling SBB directly to get the questions I have answered and will post what I find out. This is an awesome forum.

Drsjw
Drsjw
14 posts
new member
Apr 4, 2018 - 12:15 PM in reply to Lucas

I have not been able to see any fares for the bus portion of my trips. (Interlaken to Wengen). I can see the time table but no fares are shown.

The swiss pass is significantly more expensive and the only benefit I can see is not having to stop to buy tickets. I don’t know if that is worth spending several hundred dollars more (according to my calculations.)

Lucas
Lucas
9613 posts
expert &
moderator
Apr 4, 2018 - 1:57 PM in reply to Drsjw

Hi drsjw,

There are no buses between those towns - you would be taking a train.

Either way perhaps the dates are too far ahead to see prices? Check prices for this week (it won't change). It is about 14/15chf one-way for regular fares.

kim11
kim11
433 posts
top member
Apr 5, 2018 - 4:20 AM

All I can add is that after 20 trips to the Luzern and Jungfrau Region I have done the maths many times and the Half Fare Card has always been the best value. Save yourselves from any further brain twisters. Just sayin'. And just my opinion

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Apr 5, 2018 - 11:39 AM

I agree Half Fare Card seems best choice but then u have to buy tickets for every journey and that's waste of time. I feel its better to spend a bit more and go for Swiss travel pass.

Drsjw
Drsjw
14 posts
new member
Apr 5, 2018 - 12:07 PM in reply to kim11

Thank you Kim11! Half fare card it is!

Rubmat
Rubmat
12 posts
new member
Apr 7, 2018 - 7:42 PM

Hi to everyone

As you are looking for Half-fare card, i would like to inform you that i have got vouchers that you can redeem it and get a half fare card that is valid for 2 month for only Fr.33, in my opinion that's the best option for visitors in Switzerland

Drsjw
Drsjw
14 posts
new member
Apr 7, 2018 - 8:13 PM

Rubmat,

Do you mean Fr 133? And what do you mean by a voucher? A discount?The cheapest I have seen is $130 for a half fare card.

rockoyster
rockoyster
4027 posts
expert
Apr 7, 2018 - 10:43 PM in reply to Drsjw

I believe that is an offer for the domestic Half-fare Card which is (theoretically) not available to tourists. The vouchers come from motoring clubs and such.

The visitor-oriented Swiss Half Fard Card costs CHF120.

Enjoysgolf
Enjoysgolf
4 posts
new member
Apr 9, 2018 - 3:00 AM in reply to munichmaria1

Hello!

I am new to this forum. I plan on traveling with my 19 year old daughter this June to Switzerland and Austria. We would like to visit Interlaken and Luzern, Swiss alps with all the same places mentioned by Drsjw. We are flying into Milan and spend couple of nights there then plan on renting a car to Switzerland then Austria and return back to Milan. Based on munichmaria's comment, it seems the fares for railway pass cost more than renting a car... For two weeks, economy with automatic transmission will be less than US$600. Is there a hidden fees that I am missing out? Is driving the best way to travel through Switzerland?

Your expert advice will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,

Ling

rockoyster
rockoyster
4027 posts
expert
Apr 9, 2018 - 3:10 AM in reply to Enjoysgolf

Hello Ling and Welcome to MySwissAlps,

You really should start a new thread to get answers to your specific questions but in the meantime have a look at www.myswissalps.com/ca rversustrain.

If you still feel like renting a car, read it again.

The read “How to choose the best travel pass” (www.myswissalps.com/tr ain/ticketspasses/prac tical/chooserailpass), download the handy spreadsheet calculator and do the math.

Enjoysgolf
Enjoysgolf
4 posts
new member
Apr 9, 2018 - 4:08 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thank you for your prompt reply rockoyster! Your attached sites really helps and I will take the advice of trying the railway in Switzerland:-) It will be a great experience for both my daughter and myself.

rockoyster
rockoyster
4027 posts
expert
Apr 9, 2018 - 6:11 AM in reply to Enjoysgolf

Good choice - you won't regret it.

When you come up with a rough itinerary be sure to post it here and you'll be sure to get some good advice as to how to refine it.

Happy travels

Enjoysgolf
Enjoysgolf
4 posts
new member
Apr 9, 2018 - 6:22 AM in reply to rockoyster

Thank you rockoyster!

I will work on my itinerary for Switzerland, and I will definitely seek your expert advice!!

Thank you again!

Ling

philwalk
philwalk
2 posts
new member
Apr 9, 2018 - 2:51 PM

Hello all,

After doing some research and downloading the Excel spreadsheet, I can see that I have some homework to do before we begin our trip in mid-May! We are hiring a car in Munich and spending a few days in Germany & Northern Italy during our trip. My wife likes to do photography, so having the car gives us flexibility that we may not have using the fine Swiss train system. Here's the itinerary in Switzerland in May, beginning 14 May:

Montreux - 2 nights (might want to take a boat on Lake Geneva - East)

Beatenberg / Berner Oberlein - 3 nights (Schilthorn / Jung-Fraujoch are definitely in our plans, and maybe a trip on Lake Thun)

Vitznau / Lake Luzern - 2 nights

Zermatt - 1 night (Plan to visit late afternoon / early morning, weather permitting. We hope the weather is favorable! )

Based on this, I suspect that the half-fare card would be favorable to using the Swiss travel pass. We don't have plans to visit museums, and we were able to secure a car for a favorable price.

What are your recommendations?

Thank you!

Phil

Chantal
Chantal
944 posts
top member
Apr 9, 2018 - 3:03 PM in reply to philwalk

Hi philwalk and welcome to MySwissAlps,

If you've done your homework already the Excel spreadsheet should have told you which pass (if any) is best for your trip. Usually when you travel by car the Swiss Half Fare Card is your best option so you get your discount on your boat trips, the Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn.

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5164 posts
expert
Apr 9, 2018 - 3:07 PM in reply to rockoyster

<<"I believe that is an offer for the domestic Half-fare Card which is (theoretically) not available to tourists. The vouchers come from motoring clubs and such.">>

Hi Rockoyster. Basically, that is correct.

You must have a Swiss mailing address at a residence, not a hotel, as far as i can tell.

Slowpoke

Rubmat
Rubmat
12 posts
new member
Apr 9, 2018 - 3:09 PM

Hi to everyone

The price for the Half-fare card (halbtax) with the voucher is only Fr.33, its valid for 2 month, valid for tourists from anywhere (not only for swiss residents), it's the best and the best option for visitors

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