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SBB Half Fare Card and Bernese Oberland Pass


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Som o
Som o
5 posts
new member
Sep 2, 2022 - 9:37 AM

I'm planning my trip to Switzerland for 4 days in this coming September and I'm mostly going to be in Grindelwald, arriving in Bern first. Therefore, I'm thinking of buying the BO pass. In addition to the pass, I'm thinking of buying the SBB half fare card which will be valid for 1 year so I can buy the BO pass at discount price and can purchase other single tickets that are not included in BO pass with discount as well. www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-and-tickets/railpasses/half-fare-travelcard.html However, I'm still unsure about the card. Would greatly appreciate if any of you could clarify my concerns.

1. I read some articles and people said that the card can only be purchased by people residing in countries neighbouring Switzerland? I'm a masters student, aged 24, and this year I'll be studying in Germany, the Netherlands, and France. Does it mean that I am eligible to buy this pass as well? It will be super useful for me as I'm planning to go to Switzerland again in the other months in the year. Plus, I can still buy it at the Youth rate (under 25). Or do I have to have the citizenship of the neighbouring countries?

2.I want to make sure that the SBB half fare card can be used with all forms of transportation and with the regional passes like the Swiss half fare pass (for tourist, mostly valid for 30 days).

3.When is the latest I can buy the SBB half fare pass and the BO pass? This is because I prefer to use my maestro debit card (Dutch account) when purchasing them. However, it cannot be used to pay for these passes online. I'm wondering if I can purchase both SBB half fare pass and the BO pass on the 'first day of my journey' which starts in Bern and start to use it from that day on. If so, where can I buy them in Bern?

4.Additional question, what are the usual payment method in the SBB app? (to use when purchasing single tickets) Is there some kind of direct online transfer that I can use?. (eg. the Dutch iDeal)

Thank you so much in advance!!

Anna
Anna
4063 posts
expert &
moderator
Sep 2, 2022 - 10:17 AM in reply to Som o

Hi Som o,

1. As a student studying in Germany you probably are eligible to purchase the SBB Half-Fare Travelcard (https://www.myswissalps.com/swisshalffarecard/details). You can use your German address to purchase the pass.

2, You can purchase the Half-Fare Travelcard and the Regional Pass Bernese Oberland anytime, online or from a staffed counter at any SBB train station: https://www.myswissalps.com/regionalpassberneseoberland/price. If you are buying the Half-Fare Travelcard for the first time, it's best to purchase it directly at the station so you can do the identity check and verification on the spot. You would need to show your ID or passport and you might need a photo too.

3. When purchasing tickets through the SBB app, you can set up payment by credit card, debit card and TWINNT.

Let us know if you need further info.

Regards,

Anna

Last modified on Sep 3, 2022 - 7:35 AM by Arno
1960man
1960man
4584 posts
expert
Sep 2, 2022 - 3:50 PM in reply to Anna

Just a reminder that the annual Swiss half fare card can be purchased by anyone. I am not a Swiss national and have lived in London UK for the last 30 years, and have had an annual Swiss Half Fare Card for around 20 years. Likewise, my relative who lives in France (but near Geneva for work at UN) also had an Annual half fare card for many years (it was REALLY useful in the days when you could only get a Saver Day Pass if you had the half fare card.)

1960man
1960man
4584 posts
expert
Sep 2, 2022 - 3:53 PM in reply to Som o

Yes, the Annual Swiss half fare Card (ASHFC) is ideal if you are living not far from Switzerland and plan to visit Switzerland more than once in a one-year time span. I've been doing that (from a UK base) for many years. It is absolutely valid on all the main Swiss Travel System as it is a derivative of the Swiss 'General Season ticket' for all public transport.

I have benefitted in the past from the ASHFC discount on the Berner Oberland Pass

Som o
Som o
5 posts
new member
Sep 2, 2022 - 4:58 PM

Thank you so much, both Anna and 1960man! Hoping the coming trip will be unforgettable and I wouldn't have come this far (with the planning) without your insights.

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