Need suggestions: Swiss Half Fare & car

Need suggestions: Swiss Half Fare & car

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DenitaP
DenitaP
5 posts
new member
Jan 8, 2017 - 2:54 PM

Hello My Swiss Alps community,

My name is Denita and I'll be visiting Switzerland for 6days in end of March 2017. The cities will be:

  • Lucerne (1day),
  • Interlaken (3days including Lauterbrunnen-Mürren-Kleine Scheidegg-Jungfraujoch),
  • Lausanne (2days),
  • and flying back from Geneva.

I've been doing some research and my husband and I are planning to rent a car for our entire journey.. We are still wondering though, do we need Swiss Half Fare Card? Been reading about the card and it says it gives 50% discounts for most trains and other public transports. I haven't got too much details though on what the card covers or maybe we can also get some discounts on famous landmarks around Switzerland, especially the cities we're visiting.

We would also like to hear about some suggestions on driving around Switzerland, about the parking or any other things that we should anticipate regarding the time or area :)

Thank you so much in advance for any suggestions from you, I believe we can gain many insights from the community thus we can plan our trip better.

Best,

Denita

Lucas
Lucas
8909 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 8, 2017 - 3:23 PM in reply to DenitaP

Hi Denita and welcome to MySwissAlps!

The Swiss Half-Fare Card may be worth it for you if you plan to use frequent public transportation. In this case it may not be worth while for you. I typically recommend anyone visiting Switzerland to take advantage of the amazing train network - there really is no need to rent a car within this country!

Any particular reason you have chosen to rent a car? Take a look at our train tickets and rail pass page for further information on the Swiss half-fare card and other promotions and our travelling in Switzerland page so you can read more about travelling by train and/or car.

I've lived in Switzerland for about a year and a half and have yet to rent a car to travel anywhere in this country.

Regards,
Lucas

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5007 posts
expert
Jan 9, 2017 - 2:23 AM in reply to DenitaP

Hi Denita-

These links may help your planning:

map.search.ch/

www.myswissalps.com/ti metable

With only two people, you may find that using the trains is a better option, without much added expense, and a lot more access to car-free areas:

www.myswissalps.com/ca rversustrain

Slowpoke

DenitaP
DenitaP
5 posts
new member
Jan 9, 2017 - 3:23 AM in reply to Lucas

Hello Lucas,

Thanks for the reply! We were planning to rent a car because we are hopping from one place to another (especially in Lucerne and we live quite far from the centre <Merlischachen>) and we're worried about our luggages (we travel with 2 big luggages). I read from the SBB website about the luggage lockers fee and I think it'll be expensive for us (link to information: www.sbb.ch/content/sbb shop/en/luzern/05_eg_o st_schliessfaecher.htm l).

Am I getting the right info that it costs CHF 1.19/minute?

Other than that, I think we'll be considering the option of train too :)

Hello Slowpoke,

Thank you for your reply and link info :)

It really helps with the Car or Train webpage. Will consider soon & choose which is better! I do think train will gives us a different experience especially with Switzerland's beautiful sceneries.

Have a great day guys!

Best,

Denita

Lucas
Lucas
8909 posts
expert &
moderator
Jan 9, 2017 - 8:37 AM in reply to DenitaP

Hi Denita,

No, CHF 1.19/minute is for calling the customer service line. :)
Here's a better link with prices. Make sure Luzern is in the search box and then click on the equipment tag to see prices. It currently shows CHF 6 - 9 /24hr for small to large lockers.

Regards,
Lucas

Last modified on Jan 9, 2017 - 8:37 AM by Lucas
Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5007 posts
expert
Jan 9, 2017 - 8:43 AM in reply to DenitaP

Hi Denita-

<<"Am I getting the right info that it costs CHF 1.19/minute?">>

That is the cost of telephoning the information telephone number.

In addition to the Left Luggage Office, lockers in Luzern are some distance out on the platform by track number 1.

These links tell you how many lockers, what size, and cost.

For opening hours of the Left Luggage Office-

For what lockers are available and cost, look under the equipment tab:

www.sbb.ch/en/station-services/am-bahnhof/railway-stations/bahnhof-finden.posid.5000.html

The costs listed are for the coins required to lock the door on the locker after you put your luggage in and must be paid to turn the key and remove it. There are only 24 of the largest size.

There are many more lockers, including many more large ones, at Zürich main station, if you happen to use their lockers.

After a certain number of days....perhaps 3 days.... the luggage is removed transferred to the left luggage office and begins to accrue a daily fee.

I do not see the cost for Left Luggage. I recall something on the order of 10 CHF per day for each piece, but that is not a very precise memory or number. ;-(

Slowpoke

DenitaP
DenitaP
5 posts
new member
Jan 9, 2017 - 9:17 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Dear Lucas and Slowpoke,

Oopsie my bad not paying enough attention! Thank you for the kind revision and further suggestions. Thank you for the complete explanations too for the lockers in Lucerne, Slowpoke :) We'll go directly to Interlaken after Lucerne so we can't possibly go to Zürich..

This will surely help us on deciding, which I believe we will go via train instead, considering renting a car may not be as flexible as we wish to be.

Thanks again for the kind opinions and have a great week ahead Lucas & Slowpoke!

Best,

Denita

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5007 posts
expert
Jan 9, 2017 - 10:04 AM in reply to DenitaP

Hi Denita-

Each has advantages and disadvantages, as you know. Parking can be expensive in the cities, too.

In the Jungfrau region, you must park your car to go further than Lauterbrunnen, Stechelberg or Grindelwald.

You will be traveling inn March. In March, it is still winter in most of Switzerland, although the lowest altitudes, especially with sunny western and sothern facing spes will be well into Spring. Examples are Lausanne, Montreux, Weggis,.

If you are not used to driving in Winter conditions, that could be an issue, at least in early March. In the high Alps, mountain pass roads are blocked by snow until approximately the first week of June. Probably, that would not be a concern for you,but simply shows the effect of altitude on weather conditions.

Slowpoke

DenitaP
DenitaP
5 posts
new member
Jan 9, 2017 - 1:53 PM in reply to Slowpoke

Dear Slowpoke,

Well noted.. Thank you for your kind explanations :) It's gonna be my first time in Switzerland and I better to not risk it. I should buy a Swiss Half Fare Card soon then..

One more question though, I've been reading on how easy and convenient the Switzerland train system, does this mean it doesn't require advanced booking, for let's say going to Jungfrau or Lauterbrunnen? Even when I plan to go to the alps (Jungraujoch / Schlithorn)? (I notice how I need to change between trains and etc).

Thanks Slowpoke :)

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5007 posts
expert
Jan 9, 2017 - 3:29 PM in reply to DenitaP

Hi Denita-

<<"does this mean it doesn't require advanced booking, for let's say going

to Jungfrau or Lauterbrunnen? Even when I plan to go to the alps

(Jungraujoch / Schlithorn)? (I notice how I need to change between

trains and etc).">>

Reservations are not required on any regular or routine public transport Swiss train inside Switzerland. That pretty much means trains between population centers. International trains require them outside the Swiss borders. An example - travel to Italy from Zürich only requires them after you cross the border..

When you buy a ticket fromZürich to Interlaken, as an example, the ticket is good for any train on that route for the day of ticket validity. If you buy from a machine, you are given the choice of "today" or "future date."

The "future date" used to be good for a month...useful for round trips. Have not gotten one recently to check. I travel with a half-fare card and buy my tickets just before I get on the train. If I am catching a very early train in the morning, I buy my ticket for the correct day on the night before.

Certain special panoramic trains require reservations, even though they go from city to city. . Glacier Express comes to mind. Also, the special seating panoramic cars on the MOB portion of the Golden pass Route that runs down to Montreux require reservations.

www.irtsociety.com/tra in/golden-pass-panoramic-express/

www.myswissalps.com/ac tivities/scenictrips/t rain

Some will not run until late May.

However, even when there are special or named trains on routes that run on regular tracks between population centers, regular trains also run frequently and do not need reservations. You can tell from the timetable. Even the back cars of the Golden Pass Panoramic don't usually require reservations, although they do no harm. A ticket for a journey from....for example, Zürich to Lauterbrunnen or Wengen does not require reservations. Even the excursion train from Wengen up to Kleine Scheidegg (continuing from Wengen) which is a privately run excursion railroad, does not. To go from Kleine Scheidegg to Jungfraujoch does require that you book seats. Unless the crowds are very heavy ( not likely in March) you can buy the tickets right at Kleine Scheidegg.

It is best not to book to Jungfraujoch too far in advance. The weather in the mountains changes rapidly, and forecasts are not good for more than 24 hours in advance. The Alps make their own weather. You do not want to pay the expensive price for the Jungfraujoch train, only to find that the only sights are the inside of a cloud. Boring and expensive. However, the weather come sin layers. it may be clear up top and foggy down below. Ask at the manned stations nearby ( they may have a webcam) or your hotel, or the tourist office.

No reservations needed for Schilthorn, no matter which route you take. Most of that route is by cableways,

Slowpoke

DenitaP
DenitaP
5 posts
new member
Jan 11, 2017 - 2:18 AM in reply to Slowpoke

Dear Slowpoke,

Wow thank you so much for the detailed explanations! Now I can have better knowhow on Switzerland train and things make more sense now. Noted to all then, I'd rather see how the weather will be for Jungfraujoch, hopefully it's gonna be good!

I'll do better research on the train timetable too then..

Thanks again Slowpoke & wish you to have a great day!

Best,

Denita

Slowpoke
Slowpoke
5007 posts
expert
Jan 11, 2017 - 3:07 AM in reply to DenitaP

Hi Denita-

Glad to help.

Often, more than one person reads theposts, so I try to give broadly useful answers.

if you have more questions, and the patience to read long answers ;-), keep the questions coming.

Slowpoke

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