Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Please help with Swiss rail pass question

Please help with Swiss rail pass question

Apr 26th, 2006, 05:50 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 207
Please help with Swiss rail pass question

As much as I've studied this forum and checked websites - I'm still unclear about time frames for the Swiss rail pass. I plan on being in Switzerland for 11 nights, buying a Swiss rail pass for transportation between Zurich, Pontresina, Zermatt, Lauterbrunnen and Geneva. If I buy an 8 day pass, does that mean I can travel by train 8 non-consecutive days that I am there? Do I get the 50% discount on the cable cars, etc. on the other days? Thanks for any help.

Martha
mjnbrown is offline  
Apr 26th, 2006, 06:59 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
For 8 non consecutive days you need the Flexi Pass. It cost you 450 chf. You would need to do a heck of a lot of train riding to use up 450 chf in 8 days. zurich to zermatt via pontresina is about 250 francs.
Zermatt to Lauterbrunnen to Geneva is 133 rancs. You are about 65 francs shy of the break even point. You would need to ride more than that for the flexi pass to save you any money.

I understand that most mountain rail lines give 50% off these days to holders of the Swiss Pass, BUT I have not verified that for myself.

Last year it was 25% off which made the Swiss Card a better deal if the preponderance of your travel was on mountain train and cable systems.

In years past I have gotten the Card because it included a free from the border inbound and a free ride to the border outbound. Entry and exit points do not need to be the same.

For example you could ride to Pontresina, if that is your first night's lodging as part of the Card, and you could ride from Lauterbrunnen to Geneva as part of the cost of the Card.
(I did that last summer, in fact.)

I think you need to do more comparison shopping before you decide. Passes do not automatically save money, nor is the Flexi Pass always a good deal.

The SBB web site has all the pricing information you need. I believe you might benefit from a detailed review of the rail discount options available to international visitors.

bob_brown is offline  
Apr 27th, 2006, 03:42 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,658
mjnbrown -

Travel with a Swiss Pass is for consecutive days - you must have the pass validated before your first train journey and it's only valid for that day and the next 7 in the case of an 8 day pass.

Unless it's changed very recently, Swiss Pass holders receive a 25% discount on transportation not otherwise covered by the Swiss Pass - such as the train to the Jungfrau, the cable car to Mannlichen, the gondola to Titlis, etc.

I'm a big fan of Swiss Passes, and we purchase Swiss Saver Passes (for two or more people traveling together) on every trip we make to Switzerland. We like the flexibility it offers, and it's a good buy for us. Whether or not it's good for you will depend on how much you plan to use it within those 8 consecutive days.

Keep in mind that the Swiss Pass also completely covers some sections not covered by other passes, such as the train from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, the train from Lauterbrunnen to Wengen, the cable car from Steckelberg to Gimmelwald and Murren and the funicular/train from Lauterbrunnen to Murren (not currently operating).

This site might be of some help regarding what's covered under the Swiss Pass:

http://www.railpass.com/new/passes/pass/switzerland.asp

Melnq8 is offline  
Apr 29th, 2006, 05:54 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 207
Thanks for the info. I'll have to study my routes more carefully and decide which way to go. The pass certainly would be convenient, and I have done that in England.

Thanks again.
Martha
mjnbrown is offline  
Apr 29th, 2006, 06:53 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
Below I have included a direct quote from the Swiss National Rail web site that addresses the amount of the discount holders of the various passes get on the the mountain trains in the Berner Oberland.

If this information is correct, the Swiss Pass, Swiss Flexi Pass, etc. yield a discount of only 25% on the mountain trains.

The Swiss CARD yields 50% off those mountain train and cable lines.

Here is the quote:

"Swiss Pass, Swiss Flexi Pass and Swiss Youth Pass: free travel till Grindelwald, Wengen and Mürren. 25% discount on the connecting ticket to the Jungfraujoch, the Schynige Platte, the First and the Schilthorn. Swiss Card: 50% discount on all the railways and cable-cars of the Jungfrau region.

Subject to change."

I might add that the web site listed below gives a very incomplete picture of the different types of Swiss passes available. I did not see where it described the Swiss Half Fare card, the Swiss Card, or the Swiss Flexi Pass.

Because of the provisions of the Swiss Card, I have always purchased it for my travels in Switzerland because most of my expense other than the inward and outward bound trips were on mountain cable systems.

For example last year, I rode from Schaffhausen to Lauterbrunnen for no extra charge as part of the Swiss Card.
On my last day in the country, I rode from Lauterbrunnen to Geneve Airport at no extra charge. All of the mountain trips were discounted 50%

The one trip I took to Ballenberg was discounted 50% as well.

In order to know which pass is best, you need to do some comparison shopping and point to point pricing.

For people driving to the Berner Oberland, I find it hard to beat the half fare at 99 chf. It is valid for one month from the first day of use.

Given that the Jungfraujoch round trip from Interlaken Ost is 172 chf full fare, you almost recover the cost of the card on that one ticket. Throw in the Schilthorn and you have already saved money on two trips.

You can get the full price schedule from the www.sbb.ch site. It is in Adobe Reader format and gives a full price schedule for all of the types of passes, something that the Swiss pass web site does not do.

It is too complex to reproduce here or I would.

bob_brown is offline  
Apr 29th, 2006, 07:40 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,088
thanks Bob, this is a big help.
ronkala is offline  
Apr 29th, 2006, 08:35 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 11
Bob,

The 25% discount on the mountain trains seems to have changed from earlier reports if you hold a flexipass. Previously, I thought it was 50% in 2006???
JThor is offline  
Apr 30th, 2006, 05:51 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 39
Martha;
Here ya go:
Ref RailEurope
8-day consecutive pass 1st class US$395/1st class saver US$336; 2nd class US$264/saver US$225
Flexi pass 8 days in 1 mo 1st class $426/saver $362; 2nd class $284/saver $241.
Passes include 50% discount on high mountain rides and 400 museums.
In 2006, the Swiss Flexipass also acts as a Half-Fare Travel Card. Within the one-month validity period, you can get 50% off any transport (not museums) without using one of your counted travel days.
Vanman is offline  
May 1st, 2006, 06:22 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 11
Who is correct on the discount on the high mountain trains (25% vs. 50%) - RailEurope or SBB?
JThor is offline  
May 1st, 2006, 07:12 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 5,641
As Ingo originally reported on this forum months ago, all Swiss Passes now gives 50% everything that moves in Switzerland transport wise - even including Jungfraujoch trips - was 25% previously until 2006.
In flexipasses good for a certain number of travel days in a one-month period you get 50% everything for the whole month whether or not you use a travel day. And on the days you use the pass for free travel you also get a museum pass good for over 400 often pricey Swiss Museums on that day (train to Lucerne and go free that day into the Swiss Transport Museum) or to Bern and free that day to the acclaimed new Paul Klee Museum - these museums cost over $10 each with the pass i think.
For your trip plans either a consecutive day Swiss Pass or a Swiss Flexipass is a no-brainer - not the Swiss Card which costs only about $15 less and gives you no free travel days at all and no museum days but 50% off everything similar to the Swiss Pass.
The days you go Zurich-Pontresina, Pontresina-Zermatt and Zermatt-Lauterbrunnen and Lauterbrunnen-Geneva you should buy a 4-day Swiss Flexipass (at $15 more than the Swiss Card these four long expensive days on the train will save you about $100 all told i'd say - therefore the Swiss Card is a loser for your plans - in 2005 it may have been the way to go as the Swiss pass only offered 25% off and only on days of free - for current prices on Swiss Passes you can check www.sbb.ch the Swiss Rail site and www.budgeteuropetravel.com for prices in US $ in the U.S. You'll find that currently prices for Swiss Passes are significantly cheaper in the U.S. and Swiss Cards too i believe than buying the exact same pass in Switzerland. I always recommend Budget Europe for their Swiss train expertise - i've used them for years for railpasses - i believe that they also don't charge some of RailEurope's handling fees even though they work thru them. Request their free European Planning & Rail Guide on their home page as it has lots of info on Swiss trains. www.ricksteves.com also has useful info on Swiss Passes and explains how the pass now offers everything the Swiss Card did but much more now. Anyway you can save by buying in U.S. and there is no doubt either the 4-day Swiss Flexipass to cover in full your long distance trips and then get 50% everything the rest of the way as long as it's in the month (these are definitely the policy that you'll receive in print with your Swiss Pass) - Swiss Card will in 2006 fit only a very very few profiles.
PalQ is offline  
May 1st, 2006, 07:18 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,244
Then, there's the Half-Fare Card which costs SFr 99 and is good for one month. It gives you 1/2 off all boats/rail/cable cars/cog trains, including 50% off to go up to Jungfraujoch??
Budman is offline  
May 1st, 2006, 07:34 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 603
I traveled on a Swiss Pass in March and the Gornegrat mountain trip from Zermatt was 50% off. Starting in 2006, the discount on cablecars and other 'high' mountain experiences was increased to 50%.

Get out a spread sheet and figure out the cost of individual tickets versus the pass.

You still need reservations on the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express.
Barbara_in_CT is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
rncheryl
Europe
6
Jul 31st, 2016 02:40 PM
tidy
Europe
18
Mar 27th, 2016 12:21 PM
scatcat
Europe
21
Oct 13th, 2013 08:50 AM
Budman
Europe
9
Feb 7th, 2006 05:32 PM
10SPLYR
Europe
4
Aug 2nd, 2005 05:39 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:54 AM.