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Swiss Half Fare Card vs Swiss Travel Pass Flex


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Swede4life
Swede4life
61 posts
active member
Feb 17, 2021 - 2:21 PM

Hello, we are planning a trip to Switzerland this July for 17 travel days (15 days in Switzerland). Right now we plan to visit Appenzell, Zermatt, Wengen, Murren and Lucerne. We also plan to see the major sites; e.g. Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn, The Gornergrat Railway and other notable viewing sights. We plan also to use the Gotthard Panorama Express (boat also) and the Glacier Express between Appenzell and Zermatt.

Therefore, is the Half Fare Card or Swiss Travel Pass Flex the most cost effective. On the surface, it appears the Half Fare card would be the most cost effective but...am not exactly sure. Can you advise on your thoughts? Thanks.

Ildiko
Ildiko
1345 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 18, 2021 - 10:07 AM in reply to Swede4life

Hi Swede4life,

It is a bit difficult to choose the best rail pass for a Swiss trip without any calculations. So my advice is: Have a look at our calculation spreadsheet, which helps you to choose your rail pass in 5 steps at www.myswissalps.com/train/ticketspasses/practical/chooserailpass.

The downloadable spreadsheet also includes links to the “Where it's valid" page for all available passes, be sure to study it carefully.

Both passes can be good so better if you do the math with the spreadsheet, to make sure you choose the best pass for your trip.

If you would like to read more about the passes:

I hope this helps, please let me know if you have any questions about the calculation spreadsheet or anything other

Ildiko

Swede4life
Swede4life
61 posts
active member
Feb 18, 2021 - 12:07 PM in reply to Ildiko

Thank you. I will do the comparison. I work with excel spreadsheets all the time. Appreciate your response.

hockeyfan
hockeyfan
79 posts
active member
Feb 18, 2021 - 3:23 PM in reply to Swede4life

  • I have used this work sheet many times. It is a wonderful tool. We have been to Switzerland many times and I always had the same question about travel passes. Every single time the Swiss Half Fare Card was the best option for us. You need to remember with the Swiss Travel Pass Flex, on the days it is not active, you do not have a discount for gondolas, cable cars, or boats, or other things you might want to do on a "day off". Have a wonderful trip. Believe it or not, planning is half the fun.

LeVoyageur
LeVoyageur
50 posts
active member
Feb 18, 2021 - 3:30 PM in reply to Swede4life

Keep in mind that having a pass that doesn't require you to pay something before boarding makes it easier to use (you just jump in!) and also, makes spur of the moment decisions much easier! Jumping on a bus, a boat, a train, selected mountain transport and even some attractions that were unplanned is very easy. It gives you lots of freedom without considering the cost each time. During our last visit, we managed to actually double the value of our passes during our 24 day trip! Many of the things we have done were not planned before our trip!

Last modified on Feb 18, 2021 - 3:32 PM by LeVoyageur
Swede4life
Swede4life
61 posts
active member
Feb 18, 2021 - 4:45 PM in reply to hockeyfan

Hockeyfan thank you. Good information to know.

LeVoyageur thank you as well. More good information to consider.

Swede4life
Swede4life
61 posts
active member
Feb 18, 2021 - 4:59 PM in reply to hockeyfan

Hockeyfan, I am confused by viewing the Swiss Rail Pass Overview sheet (See enclosed). Did I understand you to say for example that if I plan to take the The Gornergrat Railway on Day 6 of our trip and we do not use the SSB train with the Swiss Travel Pass Flex, we would NOT receive any discounts for that day? There is also an "X" in the Swiss Half Fare card box which implies no discounts either. Reading about both passes doesn't seem to clarify it. Thanks.

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Ildiko
Ildiko
1345 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 18, 2021 - 6:08 PM in reply to Swede4life

Hi Swede4life,

you can use your Swiss Travel Pass Flex on the Gornergrat Express even if you haven't used any "normal" SBB train on that day. There is no connection between using SBB trains and the validity of the Swiss Travel Pass Flex. You have to choose on which days you are going to use your Swiss Travel Pass Flex and on those days you can use everywhere where it is valid. You can see the validity map and a list at www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpassflex/validity.

At www.myswissalps.com/swisstravelpassflex/howtouse it is also explained how to use the Swiss Travel Pass Flex. Make sure to check it.

I hope this helps,

Ildiko

Swede4life
Swede4life
61 posts
active member
Feb 18, 2021 - 6:22 PM in reply to Ildiko

Thanks for a prompt reply. We will use the 15 day flex pass and be on the rails at different times from Zurich to Appenzell first day. Appenzell to Zermatt via the Gotthard Panorama Express and Glacier Express day 4. Zermatt to Wengen day 8. Wengen to Murren day 12. Murren to Zurich day 15. Are you saying I have to "formerly" declare what days I will use the flex pass? What if stay longer or shorter at a site? Thought I could go or come anywhere in that 15 day window. Please explain. Thanks.

hockeyfan
hockeyfan
79 posts
active member
Feb 18, 2021 - 9:56 PM in reply to Swede4life

No you do not have to formally delclare usage days ahead of time. You will just want to use the 15 days for your longest or most expensive travel days. And yes, you do not destingush betwee SBB and any other train or type of travel. When you do the excel spreadsheet, be sure to include as many of the smaller side trips, boats, cable cars, and other, as you think you might consider. For our excel spread sheet, I did one column for no pass, one for 1/2 fare card, and one for flex. The comment about the ease of having a pass to make last minute decisions is valid. Buying tickets has gotten easier over the years with the ticket machines at each stop/station. Not to muddy the water, but there are also saver day passes and super saver tickets. Take a look as to how they might fit into your schedule. We used super saver several times during out last trip to upgrade to 1st class for the same price as 2nd.

Last modified on Feb 18, 2021 - 9:59 PM by hockeyfan
Arno
Arno
14620 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 19, 2021 - 7:04 AM

In my case, almost every day is a "travel day" when I'm in Switzerland. It's not only the town to town transfers that must be considered as travel when selecting a pass, it's all movements, including the spontaneous ones that can't be planned for in advance. There are very few days we don't go anywhere. That's why I very much prefer the Swiss Travel Pass over options where one has to buy tickets for each trip. Unless it's for sure going to be much more expensive of course. We've used most passes over the years, with the Swiss Travel Pass being the favorite one.

Swede4life
Swede4life
61 posts
active member
Feb 19, 2021 - 12:24 PM in reply to Arno

Thank you. Your comments are helpful. We plan to use transport of some kind; cable car, bus, gondola, train, etc. nearly every day.

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