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Swiss Travel Pass vs Swiss Half Fare Card question

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6 posts
new member
May 6, 2016 - 5:35 PM

We will enter Geneva, Switzerland from Paris via a ticket bought in France, stay 2 nights in Geneva then taking the Golden Pass Scenic Rail from Montreux to Lucerne on Thursday, September 8th, understanding we must go Geneva to Montreux first. Two nights in Lucerne; planning on taking the Pilatus excursion (Golden round trip 2nd class Luzern to Luzern) on Friday, September 9th while staying in Lucerne. On Saturday September 10th Lucerne to Zurich on the train, flying back to the states on Monday, September 12 from Zurich. 4 seniors; 66 - 71 years of age, 2nd class travel. Question - is the 3 day Swiss travel pass my best option for this itinerary? It appears the 3 day pass is 210 CHF per person.

  1. Does the clock begin to run at 1201 AM on the 3 day pass or the 1st time used that 1st day? If I use the pass the 1st time at 1500 hours on day 1 (Monday) then 72 hours later would be 1500 on (Thursday)
  2. What can I expect to pay out of pocket for the above itinerary that is not covered by the pass, e.g. seat reservation fees; part of the Mt. Pilatus Golden round trip cost?
  3. It appears the 3 day pass will cover our main travel needs, Geneva to Zurich, once in Zurich we can buy city tickets as needed. for getting around in Zurich, these 3 days will constitute the bulk of our train travel expense.
  4. Would the 1/2 fare card be better though more complicated, if we do just the items above at 120 CHF each?
  5. Is there any advantage to me purchasing the pass in the US before leaving vs. waiting to buy it at the train station in Geneva since I won't be using the pass until leaving Geneva on Thursday, September 8.

Thank you for your assistance. Nathan

7151 posts
expert &
May 7, 2016 - 12:08 PM

Hi Nathan,

1. The Swiss Travel Pass validity is measured in dates, not in 24 hour periods. So it doesn't matter at what time you first your use pass. That day will just count as your first free travel day. So if you start using your pass on Monday, it will be valid on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (up to 05h00 in the early morning of Thursday). It's explained here too.

2./3. Your trips in/from Geneva and Zurich won't be covered by a 3 day Swiss Travel Pass, so these may require additional tickets. You can use local passes as explained here and here though. Apart from that, you'll have to pay for the rides Alpnachstad-Pilatus and Pilatus-Kriens indeed. The boat part of the Golden Round trip will be covered by your Swiss Travel Pass. Seat reservations aren't required for your plans.

4. Whether a Swiss Half Fare Card is more economical should be calculated. Apart from prices, you'll also have to take convenience into account. If you don't mind buying additional discounted tickets for each trip, a Swiss Half Fare Card may work. If you prefer the convenience of free ticketless traveling, and the flexibility to change or extend any of your plans, the 3 day Swiss Travel Pass is better.

5. It's easier to buy in advance. Purchase options are listed here and here. If you pick www.swissrailways.com/ en, you'll receive online print at home passes without any additional shipping or handling fees. You won't have to spend time buying your passes at the Geneva railway station this way.

Last modified on May 17, 2018 - 11:42 AM by Arno


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