Swiss rail passses and senior discounts

Swiss rail passses and senior discounts

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Rioesmarex
Rioesmarex
3 posts
new member
Jul 17, 2017 - 5:13 PM

Traveling on a budget, we find Swiss rail fares to be quite expensive compared to other European and U.S. rail fares so we are looking for the best deals possible. The Swiss Rail Pass is completely out of our budget so the next best thing is the 1/2 price rail card but the details are not so clear.

1) If you buy the 1/2 price rail card on-line the price appears to be $123 U.S but it goes on to say this card can be bought as an e-ticket and printed at home. If this is the case, why is there a shipping fee, or is that eliminated if you print it at home as an e-ticket ?

2) As an alternative, if you buy individual tickets at rail stations ( instead of buying a 1/2 price pass ) does Swiss Rail offer a discount for seniors ? If they do, what is the % discount on regular 2nd class fares. Trying to compare the discount this way, vs. 1/2 price fares card + 1/2 price tickets at the station.

3) Considering the Glacier Express, but cost being a factor, are we really missing anything by only going to Chun instead of to St.Moritz. Is the scenery between Chun and St.Moritz really worth the extra cost ... not to mention St. Moritz being a really expensive city.

4) Tickets bought through Euro Rail seem to be more expensive than though Swiss Rail but can't seem to find a website with good itineraries/timetables/prices for the Swiss Rail system .... any suggestions

Any comments are appreciated .... David

Lucas
Lucas
5655 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 17, 2017 - 6:56 PM in reply to Rioesmarex

Hi Rioesmarex and welcome to MySwissAlps!

Yes, unfortunately, Switzerland is a very expensive country so keeping costs down here can be quite tricky. We do have a web page to help you travel in Switzerland on a budget that hopefully can help you.

  1. Yes, if you order the Swiss Half Fare Card as an E-ticket to print at home there won't be any shipping charges
  2. There are no senior discounts unfortunately. Please note that you still have to buy point to point tickets with the Swiss Half fare Card - you just get to buy them at 50% off.
  3. There are certainly some nice views between Chur and St. Moritz but I don't think it is the end of the world not to go all the way to St. Moritz. Note that you can take regional trains on the same route as the Glacier Express (you don't have to pay the mandatory reservation fees but you don't get the larger panoramic windows).
  4. Prices should be fairly similar between the two sites, but yes they can differ a little - always good to cross-shop! For train schedules use the Swiss railways timetable here. You can also get an idea of the regular and 1/2 price fares using the timetable as well after searching for each route.

In the end, depending on how much travel you do here with boats, buses, trains, gondolas etc. you may actually save money with the Swiss Travel Pass over the Swiss Half Fare Card, even though the initial cost is higher.

You need to do the math with all your planned trips during your visit here and compare the rail pass purchase price and then the fares you may or may not have to pay for individual tickets. We have a web page on How to Choose the best rail pass here, and there is an Excel sheet to help you do the math - to be sure. :)

Lucas

Last modified on Jul 17, 2017 - 6:57 PM by Lucas
Rioesmarex
Rioesmarex
3 posts
new member
Jul 17, 2017 - 7:04 PM

Many thanks for a very informative answer

Arno
Arno
10361 posts
expert &
moderator
Jul 17, 2017 - 7:08 PM

Hi David,

One more thing regarding your first question: the Swiss Half Fare Card can be printed at home, but not all retailers offer that option. You'll find a list of retailers through the link Lucas gave you.

If you buy the card through www.raileurope.com/act ivities/swiss-half-fare-card/index.html, for example, you'll pay USD 129 and physical shipping applies. This is today's price. Amounts vary along with exchange rates. They waive the shipping fee for orders from $399. You can also buy from the Swiss Railways webshop at www.swissrailways.com/ en. for CHF 120. After filling out your address, they will show the delivery options. Pick "Online Ticket" from the bottom of the list. They will e-mail the card within 1-3 business days (no delivery fees), so you can print it at home.

Last modified on May 17, 2018 - 11:50 AM by Arno
Rioesmarex
Rioesmarex
3 posts
new member
Jul 18, 2017 - 12:23 AM

Thanks again,

One more addition to my questions.

I can't seem to find a link to the site that shows the " regular fares " between Zermatt or Visp or Brig to Chur. For example the fare between Zermatt and Visp is $45 and from Visp to Chur is $115 ... total $160' but the Iceberg Express fare from Zermatt to Chur is $199. O.K. so that appears to be a savings of $39 ( excluding the reservation and surcharge ) but the timetables are the same.

Does this mean that they just hook a regular train wagon onto the Iceberg Express for a cheaper price but the same timetable ?

Thanks again

Alpenrose666
Alpenrose666
2137 posts
top member
Jul 18, 2017 - 2:43 AM in reply to Rioesmarex

>> I can't seem to find a link to the site that shows the " regular fares " between Zermatt or Visp or Brig to Chur.

Use the Swiss Timetable at the link Lucas has already given you, but be certain to use the full-fare rates and not the from CHF ##.## rates, which are half-fare rates.

>> For example the fare between Zermatt and Visp is $45 and from Visp to Chur is $115 ... total $160' but the Iceberg Express fare from Zermatt to Chur is $199. O.K. so that appears to be a savings of $39 ( excluding the reservation and surcharge )

If you are travelling from Zermatt to Chur in one day, you calculate the fare for the whole trip, rather than each separate sector.

The fare from Zermatt to Chur via Andermatt is CHF 119.00, whether you travel on the Glacier Express or normal trains. However, reservations are compulsory on the Glacier Express, and from Zermatt to Chur that costs CHF 33, bringing the total cost to travel on the Glacier Express to CHF 152.

>> but the timetables are the same. Does this mean that they just hook a regular train wagon onto the Iceberg Express for a cheaper price but the same timetable ?

Sometimes they do, yes. But there are never more than 3 departures per day for the Glacier Express (sometimes less, depending on the time of year). Normal trains run hourly throughout the day until mid-afternoon.

Alpenrose

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