How/where to purchase half-fare tickets?

How/where to purchase half-fare tickets?

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JenTay
JenTay
6 posts
new member
Mar 22, 2017 - 12:04 PM

Hi Everyone, I will be going to Switzerland at end of this year and doing some research on rail passes. I find that the Swiss Half Fare Card suits my itinerary the most. However what confused me is where or how to purchase the discounted tickets with the half fare card.

Is it possible to purchase the discounted tickets directly from SBB website? I saw a half fare travelcard option which applies 50% off the ticket price but can I use the swiss half fare card directly on SBB website too?

If it cannot be purchased directly from SBB, I saw some info on this website that points the online purchase to Happyrail. Supposedly I should be able to choose discounted card somewhere to apply the half price but I didnt see any such option after selecting the date/time. How do I actually apply the half fare card to an online purchase?

Finally, do I really need to purchase discounted tickets online beforehand or can I purchase the tickets when I reach Switzerland? My itinerary is Zurich / Lucerne / Interlaken / Bern / Zermatt / Zurich.

Thanks to all for your advices!

Lucas
Lucas
3460 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 22, 2017 - 2:39 PM in reply to JenTay

Hi JenTay and welcome to MySwissAlps!

Once you have bought the Swiss Half Fare Card you can then buy the train tickets online or at any ticket machine in Switzerland.

The Happyrail website does give you the option of choosing a discount card (where you select the ages of passengers for the route you are looking to buy a ticket for).

You don't have to / can't prove that you have the Swiss Half Fare Card when buying the ticket but the train conductor will ask to see both your ticket and the Swiss Half Fare Card on the train.

Regards,
Lucas

Last modified on Mar 22, 2017 - 3:46 PM by Lucas
JenTay
JenTay
6 posts
new member
Mar 22, 2017 - 2:58 PM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas

Thank you for your advice.

I read in some websites that advanced booking is not necessary. Trains are normally not filled and we can easily get on the next available train.

My concern is I will be travelling with my kids (toddlers) and I really do not want to hang around the train station for a few hours to wait for an empty train, or even worse, wait for a day for the next available train.

Would you recommend that I purchase the tickets in advance or it is impossible for the trains to sell out as the websites suggested?

Lucas
Lucas
3460 posts
expert &
moderator
Mar 22, 2017 - 3:54 PM in reply to JenTay

Oh my, no you will never miss a train due to it being too busy. They never sell out (except a few panoramic trains where reservations are mandatory).

You can always get on a train - and almost always, 97% of the time, get a seat.

As a first-time user of their machines (which can be displayed in English) you should give yourself 5 to 10 minutes to buy a ticket (or at the office in-person but wait times can be long).
Buying online is just much more convenient!

Check train schedules here, as you can see trains go very frequently in Switzerland to most any destination.

Lucas

JenTay
JenTay
6 posts
new member
Mar 22, 2017 - 4:24 PM in reply to Lucas

Thanks alot, Lucas. You have no idea how much you eased my mind. Cant wait to visit Switzerland!

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