swiss half fare card

Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 03:51 AM
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swiss half fare card

Hi again! After finally adding up my itinerary, i decided to just get rome & paris metro cards, and pay the rest of italy & france point to point.
but i am going to get a half fare card for switzerland. I know it is half off, and it mentions "some mountain trains, funiculars, & gondolas"
Can anyone elaborate on this?

I want to use it in the berner oberland region, and luzern, so if the jungfrau train can be discounted, awesome!
So yeah, if anyone knows how many or which of the funiculars, gondolas etc are half off
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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 05:17 AM
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We spent 10 days in the Berner Oberland region, including Luzern and the Jungfrau train and purchased the 1/2 fare card. Everything was 1/2 off.

For those who purchased the Swiss Pass or Swiss Card where things were free, a few of the trains/gondolas were not free, such as the Jungfraujoch train. It was free to Kleine Scheidegg, but 1/2 fare from there to the Jungfraujoch.

So, if you have the 1/2 fare card, the cost from Grindelwald to the Jungfraujoch by way of Kleine Scheidegg of 154 SFr will cost you 77 SFr.

If you have the Swiss Card/Pass, it will cost you nothing from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg, but from Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch, the fare is 104 SFr of which you have to pay 1/2 of that for 52 SFr. That train is not free with the Swiss Pass/Card.

Additionally, the boats on Lakes Thun and Brienz were also 1/2 off with the 1/2 off card. I thought it was better to go 1st Class on the boats - less crowded, better seating, more comfortable, and better views on the upper deck.

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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 02:23 PM
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We've purchased the Swiss Pass on each of our visits to Switzerland. Unless it's changed recently, the Swiss Pass does not cover trains past Wengen or Grindelwald, as this is part of the Jungfrau railway. The pass does entitle the holder to a 50% discount on these routes though.

I realize some changes have been made to the passes since my last visit in Dec 2004 (such as the increased discount from 25% to 50% on trains not otherwise covered by the pass), but I cannot find anything online that indicates the pass now covers trains as far as Kleine Schiedegg.

Budman, if this is the case, will you please point me to a site that states this? We're returning to Switzerland in February, and I'd like to be up-to-date. Thanks.

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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 03:54 PM
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You might be right about the Jungfrau railway. I have no first-hand experience with the Swiss Pass/Card.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 04:19 PM
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We visited the Jungfrau region in July 2006 and purchased the half fare card. As Budman says, everything was half price. We rode on everything that moved in the region and it was half fare. Also on lake Brienz, and the train from Lauterbrunnen to Lucerne. Everything half fare!
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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 04:41 PM
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I was in Switzerland this past September. I had the Swiss Pass, which is amazing. Everything that was mentioned above is correct, except for the bit on Kleine Scheidegg. You do not get it free, but rather 50% off. All 2nd class steamers are free, and the boat ride on lake luzern is so peaceful at sunset. Though, I imagine if you're going during the winter it will be rather chilly on the deck and not quite as enjoyable.
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Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 05:51 PM
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We bought the half-fare cards in Switzerland in July/August 2005. (We were able to get a pass for free travel for our 12 year old daughter.)

We used this card to travel at half-price on a ferry on Lake Lucerne, the mountain railway/cable car trip to Mt. Rigi, several trains, the city bus in Lucerne, various mountain trains and funiculars, post buses, and the Golden Pass train.

We definitely saved much more than we spent to buy the passes. The biggest saving was on the boat/mountain trip to Mt. Rigi. If you plan to do any of the major trips like this, the savings will be very substantial. Having the pass made the decision to use public transportation and go on some of these expensive trips much easier.

I believe the pass is valid for a month. If you are in Switzerland for a much shorter time, it may not make sense unless you plan to do several major trips. We were in Switzerland almost three weeks.

Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 07:52 PM
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I think we need to make distinctions among 3 popular Swiss transportation discount instruments:

A. The Swiss Pass
B. The Swiss Card
C. The Swiss Half Fare Card

Most of the information given above is correct, but I think it lacks the precision needed to make a fully informed decision about which pass to buy.

If traveling 2nd class, the Swiss Pass is priced as follows in USD:
per ticket
1 person ...........2 adults together
8 days $264.00 ........ 225.00
15 days $322.00 ....... 274.00
22 days $374.00 ....... 318.00

The Pass enables free travel within the validity period on all national trains, boats, and buses. In addition it provides for a discount of 50% when riding most mountain cable systems and trains. It also includes free admission to some museums. (The Swiss Card did not get me into the Museum of Swiss Life near Brienz, however. I had to pay.)

The Swiss Card 2nd class costs 178 chf in Switzerland, but can be bought from Rail Europe at the moment for $133.

The card is valid for 1 month and includes a train ride from the Swiss border or entry airport to the first night's destination and a ride to the border or airport when leaving.

In between, train, bus, and most cable travel is reduced 50%.

The Swiss Half Fare Card is highly similar to the Swiss Card but does not include the rides in and out at no extra cost. The price for 1 month is 99 chf or about $82 US.

It does not take long to amortize the approximately $51.00 difference in cost if the traveler visiting Switzerland is arriving or departing by train.

In the Berner Oberland, the passes are valid as far as Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen based on what I have been told over the years.

The trip to the Jungfraujoch from is relatively expensive. From Lauterbrunnen the full round trip cost is currently 154 chf. At current rates of exchange, that is equal to about $128.00. With any of the passes listed, the cost is half that, or about $64.00 round trip.

In additonal for the Berner Oberland, there are two specialized discount instruments: The Berner Oberland Regional Pass and the Jungfraubahn Pass.

The Jungfraubahn pass costs 190 chf for 6 consecutive days of travel at no additonal cost, with ONE major exception: the last stage of the Jungfrajoch trip from Eigergletscher to the top costs you 50%, or about an additional 91.60 / 2 or 45.80 chf.

The Schilthorn is not included. The ticket is not valid outside of the region. (First, Männlichen, Grosse Scheidegg, and Kleine Scheidegg are included in the region.)

The other one is the Berner Oberland Regional Pass which has a complex system of discounts and covers a huge area that reaches from Zermatt almost to Luzern and from east of Interlaken to Bern and Gstaad.

This pass cost 224 chf and includes 3 free days out of 7 (or 5 out of 15).
The final sections of the Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn trips are discounted 50%)

In years past, I have calculated breakeven points for all of these and for the most part the decision rests on how much the passholder intends to use the Swiss national rail system.

For me, because I arrive by train and then concentrate on Zermatt/Saas Fee area and the Berner Oberland, the Swiss Card does the trick.

Each buyer, however, must attempt to predict where and how much he or she will travel before a firm decision can be made.

bob_brown is offline  
Old Nov 23rd, 2006, 10:58 PM
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In the interest of precision, please note that the Swiss Pass covers trains as far as Wengen. It also covers cable cars from Stechelberg to Gimmelwald and Murren.

Prior to closure, the Swiss Pass also covered the funicular to Grutschalp and the train from Grutschalp to Murren, so I'm assuming it will also cover the replacement cable car once opened.

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Old Nov 24th, 2006, 07:33 AM
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As you can see, Vinyl, the various passes are confusing...which is why I like the Half-fare card. No fuss, no muss and good on most rails, boats and funiculars. Here is the map showing the routes on which the HFC are valid:

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Old Nov 27th, 2006, 03:13 PM
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hah yes, everyone started talking about the swiss passes etc. i dont think these will be of any value to me, and the half fare card will do me
I will be in switzerland about 2 and a half weeks in May/June
First in Vevey, then Grindelwald, then luzern & then zurich

I just wasnt sure if i could use it on the jungfrau and other things like that because on the website it only lists the swiss pass & swiss card...
Thanks for clarifying though
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Old Nov 27th, 2006, 04:19 PM
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I looked at the web site but could not find availablity for a US address. If I could get a half fare card would it be valid for GVA/Zermatt on January 16 returning January 26?
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Old Nov 27th, 2006, 08:20 PM
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I bought my card from Rail Europe because it was actually a little cheaper than if I had bought it in Switzerland.

As far as know, the card is good where you ask. I used my to take the train from Zermatt to the Gornergrat two years ago. Last summer, I used it to ride the 3-stage cable lift to the Klein Matterhorn.

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