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Help! Which Swiss train pass to buy? Leaving in a week.

Help! Which Swiss train pass to buy? Leaving in a week.

Aug 25th, 2013, 02:51 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 64
Help! Which Swiss train pass to buy? Leaving in a week.

Hi - We need help buying a Swiss train pass. Leaving in one week. I looked at the train websites but am still confused. These are the train routes we (2) will be taking:
Sept 2 - Geneva airport to Zermatt
Sept 4 - Zermatt to Wengen
Sept 7 - Wengen to Lucern
Sept 9 - Lucern to Stresa

Should I purchase 2 Swiss passes now online?
Are there cheaper sites or are the passes price controlled?
If we have the pass, do we have to pay any other money on the train?
Do they email them or can I pick them up at the Geneva airport?
With a Swiss pass, can we get on any train or do you need a reservation?
How do we know if the train is full before leaving for the train station?

Sorry for all the questions. Thanks in advance.
labern116 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2013, 04:27 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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I think the Swiss Card could be the cheapest for you - a lot cheaper than a Swiss Pass - gives you one train trip from any border station or airport to any place in Switzerland - lke Wengen and then one train trip out of Switzerland to any border station or airport - Domodossola being the border station not far from Stresa and then in between gives you 50% off everything that moves in Switzerland (except cows) - gondolas, mountain trains to mountain tops, buses, trams, lake boats, etc.

Prices for passes vary as to whether you buy them in the U S or in Switzerland - same pass IME has often been cheaper, at times significantly so if bought in the U S through RailEurope and its agents (part owned by the Swiss Railways) for some reason but not always.

Check these two U S sources for details and lots of info on Swiss trains in general - http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com/id3.html (call Byron here for answers to any questions you may have - I have bought passes from him for years - will patiently and expertly answer any question on Swiss trains, passes, etc objectively IME and www.ricksteves.com - prices for passes in U S are universal but mailing fees can be added on so ask always about that -www.swisstravelsystem.com will show prices in Swiss francs - if no real savings just wait until Switzerland to buy - at any train station - easily done - factor in c card foreign exchange fees, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 05:20 AM
  #3  
 
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Standard fares for point to point tickets:
GVA - Visp: 62 CHF
Visp - Zermatt: 35 CHF
Zermatt - Visp: 35 CHF
Visp - Spiez - Interlaken: 44 CHF
Interlaken - Wengen: 14 CHF
Wengen - Interlakan: 14 CHF
Interlaken - Lucerne: 33 CHF
Lucerne - Interlaken - Spiez - Visp: 67 CHF
Visp - Domodossola: 18 CHF
Domodossola - Stresa: 4 CHF

GVA - Zofingen - Lucerne: 80 CHF
neckervd is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 06:15 AM
  #4  
 
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Another possibility than the Swiss Card is the Swiss Saver Pass - 2nd class - that allows you to travel free through Switzerland by trains, buses and boats as well as panoramic trains.
The Swiss Saver Pass is available if you are 2 people or more traveling together.
To buy it is exactly the same as the Swiss Card.
love_ch is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 06:49 AM
  #5  
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Thank you all for great info and time spent on each ticket price.
labern116 is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 08:53 AM
  #6  
 
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Yes if the cost of a Swiss Card and other travels at 50% off even approach the cost of a Swiss Pass - go for the pass - I always travel more than I think if I have a pass - like in Wengen if funky weather sets in you can day trip to say Bern, a city enjoyable more than hiking in wet weather that is not at all uncommon in the Alps.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 09:54 AM
  #7  
 
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You are going to be buying a lot more tickets than those listed above.

You aren't going to stay in Wengen for 3 days; you are going to have to buy train and gondola tickets to see the Bernese Oberland.

I always come out ahead when I use the Half-Fare Card, which you can purchase at the train station at Geneva Airport.

Half-Fare Card!!!!!!

Thin
Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 09:58 AM
  #8  
 
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Swiss Card costs $221 p.p. in 2nd class

an 8-consecutive day Swiss Saverpass would cost $378 so is about $150 more than the Swiss Card - meaning you'd have to do $300 worth of travel at 50% off with the Card to the break even point. so with neckverd's helpful fares it should be easy to figure out which one is best (these are U S prices but Swiss prices should be similar at least in comparing both products.

Remember the Swiss Card includes the Geneva to Wengen and Wengen to Domodossola at 100% coverage.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 12:40 PM
  #9  
 
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I always come out ahead when I use the Half-Fare Card, which you can purchase at the train station at Geneva Airport.

Half-Fare Card!!!!!!>


No No No for the OP the Swiss Card will surely give him exactly the same benefits as a Half-Fare Card plus the two long train trips and be cheaper overall than the Half-Fare Card.

Folks who blindly claim the Half-Fare Card is best probably do not even know about the Swiss Card that could at times perhaps given them the exact same benefits but at a cheaper rate. Always with the Half-Fare Card compare it to the Swiss Card, which again gives half-off everything the Half-Fare Card does plus a train/bus trip from any border station or airport to any place in Switzerland then a train/bus trip out to any border station or airport. And in the OPs case the long trip Geneva to Wengen would be coverd in full as would the long Wengen to Domossola trip - saving the OP money over the Half-Fare Card and providing the xact same benefits - why pay more thin or do you always buy some product blindly it seems without comparing to other options - seems so but do not recommend it to others unless you do explain other options.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 02:19 PM
  #10  
 
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For a somewhat logical itinerary like GVA - Zofingen - Lucerne - Meiringen - Wengen - Zermatt - Domodossola, the OP wouldn't probably need a Swiss Pass. But with all the zig zagging and backtracking he plans, a Swiss Pass may be a good solution.
neckervd is offline  
Aug 26th, 2013, 11:04 PM
  #11  
 
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PalQ,

Back to you: nonononono

The OP is NOT going from Geneva to Wengen; the OP is going from Geneva to Zermatt. That's only 97 chf full fare (using neckervd's posted fares).

The OP cannot use the Swiss Card going from Geneva to Wengen because those journeys occur on two separate days. The SC must be used on ONE day and using the MOST DIRECT route.

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 06:54 AM
  #12  
 
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Swiss Card costs $221 in 2nd class - Half-Fare Card costs what about $145?

or about $ 80 less than the Half-Fare - OP may be better off with a Swiss Pass but not Half-Fare Card it seems in this case - even Geneva to Zermatt first and not Geneva to Wengen as I incorrectly said.

Point is thin - Swiss Card can be a better deal than Half-Fare Card depending on length and price of first and last train trips in and out of country.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 07:55 AM
  #13  
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Thanks for comments. I think we will buy the Swiss Saver Pass so no lines to buy tickets and can decide to go to other towns.
Does the Swiss Saver Pass cover all the Jungfrau cables/trains from Wengen?
labern116 is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 09:47 AM
  #14  
 
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though the Swiss Pass (Saver included) does cover trains in full to Wengen it only gives 25% off trains above it to Jungfraujoch (was 50% a few years back) - otherwise all other gondolas and mountain trains in the whole area are 50% off - but from Lauterbrunnen to Grutschalp and Murren and Gimmelwald and gondola back down to Stechleberg and postal bus to Lauterbrunnen is 100% covered - and this loop is one that to me is every bit as scintillating as the Jungfraujoch -

From Wengen you get a direct train to Kleine Scheidegg and change there for train to Jungfraujoch - you get 25% off and that is still a princely sum.
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 10:28 AM
  #15  
 
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You look like an outdoor person, but if not, you should also figure that the Swiss Pass functions as a Museum Pass. 10-20 CHF is a typical museum entrance.
drlaz is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 02:22 PM
  #16  
 
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There are no lines to buy tickets in Switzerland that I have ever seen. You may have to wait 5 minutes to buy a ticket from an agent, but the big bahnhofs have ticket machines.

Sometimes it is better to buy a ticket from an agent however as they can answer any questions you may have.

The Swiss love to be helpful and efficient.

Thin, loves Switzerland
Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 02:27 PM
  #17  
 
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To reply to the person called Palenque above:

CAN BE is correct.

As Swandav has written in the past, YOU HAVE TO DO THE MATH.

Also, HALF-FARE CARD is good for ONE month.

Thin
Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 08:19 PM
  #18  
 
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Also, HALF-FARE CARD is good for ONE month>


So is the Swiss Card - valid for a max of one month. It ois cheaper for the OP's plans than the Half-Fare Care, get it? But the Swiss Pass as she/he has found out has more options and an even better bet.

I don't think you really get the difference between a half-Fare Pass and a Swiss Card, do you?

Do some research and come back better informed IMO!
PalenQ is offline  
Aug 27th, 2013, 08:31 PM
  #19  
 
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Maybe your "French" son could do the research pour moi.

Does your "French" son get a discount when he travels on trains in the French-speaking part of Switzerland?

Thin
Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Aug 28th, 2013, 02:15 PM
  #20  
 
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I always come out ahead when I use the Half-Fare Card, which you can purchase at the train station at Geneva Airport.

Half-Fare Card!!!!!!>

Well you always come out ahead vs a Swiss Pass but since you appear not even to have heard of the Swiss Card - that card may well at times save you money and give the exact same benefits - like for the OP:

First train Geneva to Zermatt 97 CHF
Last train out Lausanne to Domodossola 85 CHF

total 182 Swiss francs

Swiss Card costs $86 more than the Half-Fare Card or about 73 francs more than the Half-Fare Card.

Take half of 182 francs and you get 91 francs - with the Half-Fare Card you would pay for the exact same benefits you would pay 13 CHF more - chump change but if buying something that provides exactly the same benefits it a no-brainer - why pay 13 francs more for the same exact benefit?.

Capiche?
PalenQ is offline  

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