Half Fare Card or Swiss Pass?

May 29th, 2008, 07:00 AM
  #1  
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Half Fare Card or Swiss Pass?

Four of us will be traveling taking the Golden Pass to Montreux from Interlaken then continuing on toEvian (via boat). We have purchased the VIP supplements and know that we must still purchase tickets. Prior to this we will be in Wengen for 3 nights and want to use all of the mountain trains and lifts. My question is would we be better off with a Half Fare card or a Swiss Flexi Pass? I have been told different things about which mountain trains are included with the half fare. Would the Swiss Pass totally cover all mountain trains or only those to Wengen? Is the Jungfrau train included in the discount option of the Half Fare Card? I have been to many official sites and some seem say different things! Thanks for any help.
ccb3001 is offline  
May 29th, 2008, 07:26 AM
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If you are taking a train to Interlaken from Zurich or other airport and then onto Montreux and presumably from there to some airport then the Swiss Pass, as i have shown in previous posts, is the better option over the Half-Fare Card

but what are your exact rail trips - if just Interlaken-Montreux perhaps Half-Fare Card better.

Swiss Pass 100% to Wengen, Murren, Gimmelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Gimmelwald - above Wengen and Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg 50% - Kl Sch-Jungfrau 25%

Half-Fare Card gets 50% off all these things and pretty much every train, boat and bus in Switzerland

A Swiss Flexipass Pass - say 3 days out of one month gives you three 100% covered travel days (good on boats too to Evian) and in between the 1st and 3rd flexi day gives you, like the Half-Fare Card 50% everything (exc Jungfrau is 25%)

so go to www.sbb.ch and check regular fares that the pass would cover in full for those 3 flexi days and then take 50% of them for what you'd pay on those days in no pass with Half-Fare card and add $105 (CHF 99) for the cost of the Half-Fare Card and see which is cheaper - the other days both gives 50% off practically everything

Swiss Pass also gives free entry to over 400 museums and castles, etc but only on 100% travel days - Half-Fare Card none.

Swiss Passes are sold in Switzerland but currently at a significant higher price than in the U.S. due to rise of Swiss Franc in recent weeks so save by buying here IMO - two sources of great info on Swiss trains and Swiss passes: www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com - both sites have lots of useful info as opposed to the usual pass prices and "click here to add to cart button". www.swisstravelsystem.com is a site representing lots of Swiss scenic trains, like Golden Pass, lake boats, postal buses, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
May 29th, 2008, 09:53 AM
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I should have added that Half-Fare cards are only sold in Switzerland i think - at most train stations. Not sure if photo is required?
PalenQ is offline  
May 29th, 2008, 10:12 AM
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No photo is required for either the Swiss Card or the Half fare card.
Your passport is normally inspected to make sure you are eligible.

In years when I bought the Swiss Card, I had to do so before I got to Switzerland. The card had my name and my passport number printed on it.

I bought a HALF FARE card last year and I cannot remember if I had to write my name on it or not. How's that for a flagging memory?

One thing I might add is that the Swiss Card is good for the included ride from your entry point to your first night's destination, assuming you go there directly. It also includes a trip to your exit point.

The two points need NOT be the same. Three years ago I entered by train at Basel and exited at the Geneva Airport to the UK.

In other years I have entered by train from Munich and exited from the airport in Zürich. And I have done the reverse!

YES the Jungfraujoch is included in the half fare card and the Swiss Pass. I have found only two cable car rides in the Berner Oberland where I did not receive a 50% discount: the Grindelwald Pfingstegg Luftseilbahn and the
one from Isenfluh to Sulwald. Both are short trips.

Other than that I used the discount at the Klein Matterhorn ticket booth and for various rides near Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, in particular the Männlichenbahn and the First Gondalbahn.

As far as I know there is only ONE official site for the Swiss Card and that is the sbb.ch site.

Here are some quotes from the Swiss site. I would phrase it a little differently and say "inward" where the official word says outward.

Swiss Card

The "Swiss Card" is ideal for holidays within a certain region. It allows:

* an outward journey on your day of arrival from a border or airport train station in Switzerland to your destination station.
* for one month from your day of arrival (but at the longest until the day of the homeward trip), the purchase of tickets* for half or discounted price on the Half-Fare routes.
* a return journey on the day of departure from where you are staying in Switzerland to a border or airport train station.

The outward and return journey on your day of arrival/departure must be made using the most direct method possible, using only the train, lakeboat and bus routes marked red in the "Swiss Travel System Area of Validity"PDF (Adobe Reader), 0.82 MB, new Window.

Period of validity
The "Swiss Card" is valid for one month from the date of arrival. Before the outward or return journey, the Card holder must enter the journey date in the relevant box.

With the "Swiss Card", as well as your outward and return journey between the Swiss border or airport and your destination, you also receive a 50 percent discount on all train, postbus and boat journeys, and on most mountain railways. (Maximum validity of the "Swiss Card": 1 month.) Please note the special purchase conditions! Click on "i" for more information.
This article is delivered to you by mail within three days (delivery within Switzerland).
bob_brown is offline  
May 29th, 2008, 11:35 AM
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Hi ccb3001,

You can buy the HFC outside of Switzerland. You can buy it (for one place) at:

www.swisstravelsystem.com

Have fun!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
May 29th, 2008, 07:24 PM
  #6  
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Swandav2000,

Thanks for the info. I was told by BudgetEuropeTravel that the half fare card could only be purchased in Switzerland! The we could go ahead and purchase our tickets for the Golden Pass. (we have our VIP supplements already) We will be leaving the 13th of June - do you think we would get them in time?
ccb3001 is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 01:35 AM
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Hi again,

I don't know if you could get the Half Fare Card in time -- I don't know which vendor you'll use, which shipping service they'll use, or where you live. I would contact some of the vendors whose sites you have -- ask!

Good luck!

s
swandav2000 is online now  
May 30th, 2008, 06:05 AM
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What am i missing - you can buy the Half-Fare Card at any Swiss train station for CHF 99 - why buy ahead?

what am i missing here?
PalenQ is offline  
May 30th, 2008, 09:09 AM
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Pal, I've seen long lines of people wanting to buy Swiss passes at the Zürich airport train station. The lines at the Zürich Hauptbahnhof seem to be shorter.

By the way, many locals don't buy half fare cards anymore. They use Gemeinde Tageskarte, available in their towns. Many Gemeindes offer 3 Tageskarte per day at prices between SFr. 28 and 41. It's a first come first serve situation and you need to reserve ahead.

I've found a website that shows places where you can reserve them on-line. None of the Gemeindes in my area are on the list, which shows that these are just a few of the places that offer these cards throughout Switzerland.

Some Gemeindes only allow local residents to buy the cards, others don't care.

http://www.tageskarte-gemeinde.ch/
kleeblatt is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 03:48 PM
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Thanks everyone. We will be arriving in Interlaken by car and taking train to Wengen. It seems that is when we should by the 1/2 fare card as I have been told there is a 40ch shipping fee. Will that be too late to buy our needed tickets to Montreux (on the Golden Pass) that go with our VIP seat supplement? Thanks.
ccb3001 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2008, 03:55 PM
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No you just need a ticket for Interlaken-Spiez-Monreux - a ticket that can be used on any train, including the Golden Pass.

Takes just a few minutes at Interlaken IME to buy tickets IME
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 06:12 AM
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<By the way, many locals don't buy half fare cards anymore. They use Gemeinde Tageskarte, available in their towns. Many Gemeindes offer 3 Tageskarte per day at prices between SFr. 28 and 41. It's a first come first serve situation and you need to reserve ahead.>

Schuler - please elaborate on this - the site seems all in German

you talk about these Day Cards - and why folks are not buying Half-Fare Cards - these are strictly local, very local passes, i presume and thus if someone were staying all in one place it would, if they cover things in full, be better than the 1/2 Fare Card.

So i assume these TagesKartes cover everything locally in full - lifts, buses, trains, funiculars, etc.

thanks
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2008, 07:02 AM
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Hi Pal,

The Tageskarte are for residents of each community listed. If the Tageskarten are not reserved 5 days before the valid date, non-community residents are also eligible for purchase.

The prices vary from Gemeinde to Gemeinde.

Looking through the fine print, I haven't seen anywhere that this is non valid to non-Swiss citizens.

The Tageskarte are valid for the same transport systems as the Half fare cards.
kleeblatt is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 12:35 PM
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Schuler posted the following as a separate thread today:

SFr. 59 Half Fare Card for Switzerland and Austria: valid June 08 only

The SBB train service is offering a half-fare card for SFr. 59.--, valid for the whole month of June.

It's good for Switzerland AND Austria.

http://mct.sbb.ch/mct/en/euro08/euro...08-halbtax.htm

Author: schuler
Date: 06/03/2008, 07:10 am

Or take a look at these cost saving offers that might better fit your needs:

http://mct.sbb.ch/mct/en/euro08/euro...-interrail.htm
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2008, 01:42 PM
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Thanks PalenQ for the info. I went to the site and it looks to me as if I can purchase the 59ch half fare pass online and print it out before I leave next week. Am I correct? Is this the same half fare card that I would normally purchase at a train station? I'll take a 40ch saving anyday!
ccb3001 is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 06:40 AM
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the text on the first link Schuler provided says it is good on everything that the half-fare card would be

so it looks the same and was meant to help travelers i guess during the soccer cup being held in Austria and Switzerland i believe - a one-time special apparently

don't thank me thank Schuler!
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 06:50 AM
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Bitte schön.
kleeblatt is offline  
Jun 4th, 2008, 06:55 AM
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For those who are going to Switzerland and would like to be informed about the monthly SBB special offers, I would suggest signing up for the free on-line monthly SBB newsletter, available in English.

Link: http://mct.sbb.ch/mct/en/reisezeit/n...newsletter.htm
kleeblatt is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 08:39 AM
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Thanks Schuler - have signed up!
PalenQ is offline  
Jun 12th, 2008, 11:39 AM
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www.swiss-pass.ch - Swiss Railways prices of Swiss Passes sold at stations in Switzerland shows to me an incredible difference in price between passes bought in U.S. with $s and those in Switzerland at stations - in CHF and seemingly much much more expensive than ones sold abroad.

can't quite figure out why but will re-check my initial comparisons.
PalenQ is offline  

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