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Help Budman Decide -- 8-Day Swiss Pass or Half-Fare Card

Help Budman Decide -- 8-Day Swiss Pass or Half-Fare Card

Feb 7th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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Help Budman Decide -- 8-Day Swiss Pass or Half-Fare Card

Got lots of great info on the "What to Wear" thread, including some great advice on cuddle duds.

With 6 days in the Grindelwald area and 2 days in the Luzern area, which pass should I go for? Since I will have a car, I won't be taking many trains -- only gondolas, cogs, and boats.

8-day Swiss Pass costs 308 SFr each traveling as a couple.

Half-Fare Card costs 99 SFr each.

I'm guessing I would have to use well over 400 SFr in total rides with the 1/2 fare card to make the Swiss Pass the better buy. (200 + 99)

Will I use this much on fares in 8 days? Any experiences with either of these in the area?

Budman is offline  
Feb 7th, 2006, 10:19 AM
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oops, that decision needs a lot of calculation. Please let us know which excursions you plan to take.

Maybe you saw my recent thread about the news on Swiss Rail Passes where I mentioned that the Swiss Pass offers new 50% reduction (in spite of old 25%) on fares of cable cars/gondolas etc. The mountain railways and gondolas etc. in the Jungfrau area are quite expensive compared to Graubünden e.g.

I guess the Half Fare Card is the better deal, though. But let's calculate
Ingo is online now  
Feb 7th, 2006, 12:00 PM
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Ingo, that's where I'm confused. My understanding is with the Swiss Pass you travel for free on all rail, buses, boats, funiculars, cogs, gondolas, and cable cars, and on certain routes you travel 1/2 price (i.e. up to Jungfraujoch).

With the 1/2 Card, that's exactly what it means -- 1/2 the regular fare on all the routes/lines.

This is the map/guide that I'm looking at.

Is that correct? If that's the case, I would think the 1/2 Card would be the one.
Budman is offline  
Feb 7th, 2006, 12:58 PM
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You should also investigate the Jungfrau Railways pass that covers everything i think or the Berner Oberland regional pass which covers everything in a wide region, including i think almost to lucerne.
If thinking Swiss Pass instead of an 8-day pass think of a short one - such as a 3-day flexi in one month - $150 US each on a saver pass in 2nd class and then for the whole month you can use it for 50% off everything that moves (except cows) in Switzerland - including trams in cities, buses, boats, trains, Jungfrau top, etc) - use the travel days to come from the airport to Grindelwald and back, or to Lucerne. Last year with a Swiss Pass you'd only get the 25% discounts (now 50% this year) on days you pass was actually valid - just the three days on a flexi not for the whole month validity period as you do now.
PalQ is offline  
Feb 7th, 2006, 01:10 PM
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with Swiss Pass you travel free on the regular railways, buses, boats - but not on the mountain railways. Correct.

In the Jungfrau region you travel free with the Swiss Pass up to Grindelwald, Wengen, Mürren - for the mountain railways above the villages you only get a reduction.

Since you will have a car you don't need the Swiss Pass for Luzern - Grindelwald, and I am convinced the Half Fare Card is by far the better option.

Beside that you might have a look at the Jungfraubahnenpass. Maybe it is yet cheaper for you to buy this one - if you don't want to visit the Schilthorn, and if you don't want to go up to Mt. Pilatus or Rigi or so you don't need the Half Fare Card. The advantage of the Jungfraubahnenpass is that it offers unlimited free travel for 6 days on the mountain railways/gondolas in the Jungfrau region - but, as said, except the Schilthorn side of the Lauterbrunnen valley - and only 50% reduction on the leg Eigergletscher - Jungfraujoch. The cost is 190 Sfr.

I think you'll find this sort of pass on the www.jungfraubahnen.ch website.
Ingo is online now  
Feb 7th, 2006, 03:09 PM
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I agree the decision is difficult and I have figured it and posted it on this forum several times in the past. At the moment, I don't feel like redoing my calculations because of the time required to do it precisely. My old calculations are out of date anyhow because the Swiss Pass now yields 50% off the list price of tickets in the Berner Oberland.

If I go to Lauterbrunnen this year, which is doubtful right now, I will do a new set prior to departure.

Basically you have to look for the breakeven point. Where do you save enough with a pass to amortize its cost?

To do that accurately you must forecast exactly which trips you will take and weigh the costs with and without the pass.

Essentially you have 4 major options if you are spending much time in the Jungfrau Region.

1. The Swiss half fare card, 99 chf.
As the name says, it yields 50% off just about everything. (There are two short cable car rides that I know of where the discount is only 25%.)

2. The Swiss Card, 178 chf, which yields 50% off plus a free trip from the border to your first night's lodging and then a free trip out of the country. The outgoing trip can be different from the incoming trip. (Example, last year I came in via Schaffhausen from Stuttgart to Lauterbrunnen and exited from Lauterbrunnen to the Geneva airport.)
3. The Jungfraubahn Pass, 190 chf or 140 chf for holders of a valid Swiss Card or pass. Valid from May 1 thru October 31, this pass is good for 6 days and yields free rides in the Jungfrau Region with two exceptions:
the Schilthorn is not included and, as is is true of ALL passes, the last leg of the Jungfraujoch trip is discounted 50%; it is never free. (From the Eigergletscher station to the top, the undiscounted cost is 96.60 chf. With a card or pass, the holder pays 50% of the cost.)

4. The Berner Oberland Regional Pass.
220 chf for adults, 176 chf for holders of a valid Pass or Card, and 110 for dogs.

The website is

This pass too is good only from 1 May thru 31 Oct.

Of the 4, I have normally opted for the Swiss Card. However the new, higher discounts for holders of the Swiss Pass make it much more attractive.

For the Jungfrau Region, you can get exact prices on point to point tickets from this web site:

For the Swiss national system, the SBB in the German abbreviation, you can get exact pricing from www.sbb.ch. You will have to click on the link for buying the ticket. You of course stop short of actual purchase.

My first recommendation for Budman is to grow a lot of hair, make a few alterations to the cuddle duds, let his companion lead him on a leash while walking on all fours and making doggy noises, postures, and motions, and purchase the BOB Pass for dogs. (No passport required for dogs.) It entitles the dog to 3 days of free travel on selected routes within the Jungfrau region, and 4 days of half fare travel in a very wide area. And it only costs half of the human fare. Besides some of those Bernese Mountain Dogs are very beautiful.

I have met several I would like to have taken home with me. Particularly the big guy in the baggage car of the Grindelwald - Interlaken train. He wanted to make friends with everybody.

If the dog pass is not a viable option, then I think a great deal of detailed calculation is in view, unless you just want to say to heck with it, not worry about whether or not the pass costs or saves money, and just muddle through. The Swiss will gladly take you money any way you elect to do it.

Besides, you cannot predict accurately all the time anyhow. No real reason that I know of to go to the Jungfraujoch when it is socked in and all you can see are clouds and mist.
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley.
bob_brown is offline  
Feb 7th, 2006, 05:57 PM
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I'm getting dizzy going from website to website looking at prices, what costs what, yada, yada, yada.

I might just sit on a porch, sip wine, drink some beer, and take in the ambiance -- some of the time.

I think I'm going to opt for the 1/2 fare card and let the chips fall where they may.

Bob, the dog thing probably won't work, but thank for the idea.

Appreciate all the input -- I still have 3 months to change my mind.

Budman is offline  
Feb 7th, 2006, 06:17 PM
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I think Ms. Budman would love you on a leash in cuddleduds! Heck, I would pay money to see that!
kybourbon is online now  
Feb 7th, 2006, 06:26 PM
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That will probably never happen -- the grass skirt was really pushing it.
Budman is offline  
Feb 7th, 2006, 06:32 PM
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Hmmm - I see a theme forming for the next NJ/NYC GTG.
kybourbon is online now  
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