Train trips -Swiss Travel Pass or Half Fare Card?

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Mel
Mel
11 posts
new member
May 27, 2018 - 4:24 PM

Hi!

Four of us will be in Switzerland for 6 days in April 2019. Below is our travel itinerary and I tried working our the costing to see whether it is worthwhile paying CHF120 for the Swiss Half Fare Card to get 50% off the travels.. I am not that sure if I managed to work out the fare correctly in the first place though, I used SBB timetable.

Would really appreciate it if you can check my calculation below,which indicates that i should utilize the Swiss Half Fare Card.

6 APRIL

  • Geneva to Zermatt - SBB [CHF51] (50% off with Swiss Half Fare/Free with Swiss Pass)

7 APRIL

  • Gornergrat Bahn [CHF76] (50% off with Swiss Half Fare & Swiss Pass)

8 APRIL

  • Zermatt to Chur - GEX [CHF119 <Ticket only>] (50% off with Swiss Half Fare/Free with Swiss Pass)
  • Chur to Luzern - SBB [CHF24-30] (50% off with Swiss Half Fare/Free with Swiss Pass)

9 APRIL

  • If weather permits we want to go to Mt Rigi whereby there is the "Tuesday is Rigi Day" where the trip on Rigi Bahnen is 40% off.
  • Boat trip [CHF46.60] (50% off with Swiss Half Fare/Free with Swiss Pass)

10 APRIL

  • If couldn't go on the 9th - Rigi Round Trip [CHF117] (50% off with Swiss Half Fare/Free with Swiss Pass)

11 APRIL

  • SBB from Luzern to Paris via Basel [CHF17 between Luzern & Basel]

**Then do I need to buy a different ticket from TGV-Lyria between Basel and Paris?

COSTING

CHF406 in total (Excluding Reservation of GEX seat at CHF33). Divide by half if we buy the CHF120 Swiss Half Fare Card = CHF203.

CHF 203 + 120 = CHF323. Thus, cheaper by CHF83 if we utilize the Swiss Half Fare Card.

QUESTIONS

  1. Do we take the SBB from Luzern to Basel then change at Basel to the TGV-Lyria between Basel and Paris?
  2. I read that we don't need to reserve any seats on the SBB except for the GEX. Thus, we just purchase the tickets at the ticket counters of the stations, except for GEX from Zermatt to Chur?
  3. To do online GEX seat reservation with the intention to use the Half Fare Card.. How does it work? I purchase the Half Fare Card online first then go to the GEX website to purchase both the tickets and the seat reservation? Or just do the seat reservation online and leave the ticket purchase until we get to the station?
  4. If this is the case, winter departure is quite early and I don't want to rush.. Can we buy the ticket a couple of days earlier (when we arrive at Zermatt)?
  5. What is Zermatt Station's ticketing office operating hours? We may get into Zermatt only in the evening on the 6th.

Thank in advance!

Mel

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
May 28, 2018 - 4:07 AM in reply to Mel

Hi Mel, and welcome to MySwissAlps!

>> Would really appreciate it if you can check my calculation below,which indicates that i should utilize the Swiss Half Fare Card.

I suggest you check them again. I checked a couple at random, and it seems you have not been consistent in using the full fare in your calculations.

>> 1.Do we take the SBB from Luzern to Basel then change at Basel to the TGV-Lyria between Basel and Paris?

Yes, that is the standard route. You can plan your connections using the Swiss Timetable. It will show you where you have to transfer. There are connections involving just one transfer at Basel. Other connections involve an additional transfer in Switzerland or France:

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

>> 2.I read that we don't need to reserve any seats on the SBB except for the GEX. Thus, we just purchase the tickets at the ticket counters of the stations, except for GEX from Zermatt to Chur?

That's right. Reservations are the exception rather than the rule in Switzerland. You can buy tickets at the ticket counters or at multilingual ticket machines. You can also buy your Glacier Express ticket (as opposed to reservation) at the station if you want to.

>> 3.To do online GEX seat reservation with the intention to use the Half Fare Card.. How does it work?

The seat reservation costs the same regardless of what sort of ticket or pass you will be using to cover the cost of the trip. In April the reservation will cost CHF 33 per seat.

You can book the reservation by itself, or the half-fare ticket plus the reservation. When you get to the screen where you have to provide the names of travellers, under Reduction choose either:

  • Own ticket - you will just pay CHF 33 for a reservation, and can buy your half-price ticket later at any station in Switzerland. You can make a reservation up to 3 months in advance of your travel date.
  • Half-fare Card - you will pay for both a ticket and a reservation, but will have to wait until 2 months in advance of your travel date, as tickets are not available any earlier than 2 months beforehand.

>> I purchase the Half Fare Card online first then go to the GEX website to purchase both the tickets and the seat reservation?

You don't have to buy the Swiss Half Fare Card before making a reservation, as long as you have it (plus your half-price ticket) when you board the train.

>> Or just do the seat reservation online and leave the ticket purchase until we get to the station?

Yes, you can do this.

>> 4.If this is the case, winter departure is quite early and I don't want to rush.. Can we buy the ticket a couple of days earlier (when we arrive at Zermatt)?

Yes.

>> 5.What is Zermatt Station's ticketing office operating hours? We may get into Zermatt only in the evening on the 6th.

The ticket office is open Mon–Sun 07:00-19:00.

www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/railway-stations/further-stations/station.1689. zermatt.html

You can buy the ticket at practically any station in Switzerland, not just Zermatt. When buying it, just make sure to choose Zermatt to Chur via Andermatt to get the correct route.

Alpenrose

Last modified on May 28, 2018 - 4:18 AM by Removed user
Mel
Mel
11 posts
new member
May 28, 2018 - 5:16 AM in reply to Removed user

Thanks Alpenrose. Will check the pricing again..

rockoyster
rockoyster
4066 posts
expert
May 28, 2018 - 5:39 AM in reply to Mel

Hi Mel,

I'd say that in a few cases you are using the half-fare price instead of the full fare in your calculations. When you look up prices on the SBB timetable it tends to assume you will be travelling with a half-fare card because nearly every Swiss resident does.

Mel
Mel
11 posts
new member
May 28, 2018 - 5:42 AM in reply to Removed user

Since ticket sale opens 2 month ahead of travel date while seat reservation opens 3 months ahead...

Can I do the seat reservation online first as well as purchase online the Swiss Half Fare Card, then next month go online to purchase the tickets, using the Half Fare Card? You mentioned "You don't have to buy the Swiss Half Fare Card before making a reservation, as long as you have it (plus your half-price ticket) when you board the train." How about if we were to buy the tickets online, do we need to have the Half Fare Card for that?

i just want to do the seat reservation ASAP as our plan to go to Switzerland stemmed from the desire to go on the GEX!

Then, as for still wanting to buy the tickets online rather than at the station is so that we don't waste too much time in the queue.

Tq, Mel

rockoyster
rockoyster
4066 posts
expert
May 28, 2018 - 5:49 AM in reply to Mel

You can do reservations with out any tickets, pass or Swiss Half-fare Card. You can buy tickets before you have the Swiss Half-fare Card. Ticket sales are normally only 30 days in advance. Tickets don't sell out.

Mel
Mel
11 posts
new member
May 28, 2018 - 10:57 AM

OIC!!! So below is the adjusted fares after the 50% off:

6 APRIL

Geneva Airport to Zermatt - SBB [CHF51] (After 50% off with Swiss Half Fare/Free with Swiss Pass)

7 APRIL

Gornergrat Bahn [CHF76] (50% off with Swiss Half Fare & Swiss Pass) - 50% = CHF38

8 APRIL

Zermatt to Chur - GEX [CHF119 <Ticket only>] (50% off with Swiss Half Fare/Free with Swiss Pass) - 50% = CHF59.50

Chur to Luzern - SBB [CHF24-30] (After 50% off with Swiss Half Fare/Free with Swiss Pass)

9 APRIL

If weather permits we want to go to Mt Rigi whereby there is the "Tuesday is Rigi Day" where the trip on Rigi Bahnen is 40% off. However, I don't know how much is it.. Perhaps CHF43.20 (Full amt)? or CHF21.60 (after 50% off with Swiss Half Fare)? I see from this link: www.rigi.ch/en/Media/s pecial-experiences/Tuesday-is-Rigi-Day

Boat trip [CHF46.60] (50% off with Swiss Half Fare/Free with Swiss Pass) - 50% = CHF23.30 + CHF21.60 = CHF44.80

10 APRIL

If couldn't go on the 9th - Rigi Round Trip [CHF58.50] (After 50% off with Swiss Half Fare/Free with Swiss Pass)

11 APRIL

SBB from Luzern to Paris via Basel [CHF17 between Luzern & Basel] (After 50% off with Swiss Half Fare/Free with Swiss Pass)

COSTING

  • Full Fare - CHF498
  • With Swiss Half Fare Card - CHF224 + 120 = CHF344
  • With 4 Days Swiss Travel Pass Flex CHF310 - To cover April 6, 7, 8 & 10 - CHF310 + CHF38 [Gornergrat Bahn (After 50% off with Swiss Pass)] + CHF34 [Luzern > Basel (No disc)] = CHF382

Thus, if my calculation is correct, using the Swiss Half Fare Card is still the most economical..?

Tq, Mel

Lucas
Lucas
9817 posts
expert &
moderator
May 28, 2018 - 11:15 AM in reply to Mel

Hi Mel,

Looks like the Swiss Half Fare Card is the cheapest option yes. I would also take into account the ease of buying the Swiss Travel Pass as for most trips you just hop on the train and go (no need to buy tickets for each trip). Also note that the 8 day Swiss Travel Pass (consecutive) is 398.00 chf. Which will cover every day of your trip (still 50% off Gornergrat though & the reservation for the Glacier Express).

Still more expensive but it is more convenient too.

https://www.myswissalp s.com/swisstravelpass/ price

Last modified on May 28, 2018 - 11:15 AM by Lucas
Mel
Mel
11 posts
new member
May 28, 2018 - 11:22 AM

Thanks Lucas..

Will think about it..

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