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Swiss Half-fare card (Switzerland-Germany)

Swiss Half-fare card (Switzerland-Germany)

Feb 26th, 2014, 12:43 PM
  #1  
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Swiss Half-fare card (Switzerland-Germany)

Hi all!!

My hub and I will be traveling to Italy, Switzerland, and Germany this summer.

In Switzerland, we'll be based in Murren, and we've pretty much decided to get the 1 month Half-Fare Card.

I'm looking to book travel from Interlaken to Koblenz, with a change in Basel. On the SBB site, we can apply a Reduction for the swiss portion under "Half-fare travelcard 1/2/3-year"

Does anyone know if we can use the one month Half-fare card for this reduction?? And do we present the half-fare card on the train along with the ticket?

Thanks in advance!
pempem is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 02:31 PM
  #2  
 
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The half fare card will cover you for almost all travel in Switzerland, so yes you will be able to pay half fare from Murren to Koblenz, when you buy your tickets just show the card to the ticket clerk and they will sort everything for you. Again yes when you show your tickets show the card.
tipsygus is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 03:11 PM
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Hi PemPem,
our family will be traveling Italy to Switzerland, staying in Wegen and flying from Zurich and will be traveling by train during our week stay in Switzerland.
Why the half-fare card vs. Swiss Pass? Doesn't the later cover more including transit to/from airport? I'm starting to research the options and they are blending together...
sinoll is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 03:23 PM
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Each traveller has to compare costs for the excursions that they, uniquely, will take. Some favor the spontaneity of the SwissPass, others, like myself are very familiar with, and certain of exact travel plans, so the HalfFare Card may work best. I personally have used the HFC for my last 5 trips, but again it depends on your level of comfort with buying tickets, familiarity with the rail system, etc.
mokka4 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 03:31 PM
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Pempem:
tipsygus' reply is not complete. A Swiss HalfFare Card will give you half off travel costs to the last border station in Switzerland. The portion in Germany to Koblenz is not covered. The clerk at the rail counter will advise you of the cost when purchasing tix.
mokka4 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 05:44 PM
  #6  
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Thank you for the suggestions!

Sinoll: The SwissPass seems too all-encompassing for us (and all-pricey!!). We're not traveling from any airport in Switzerland, not going to museums, and staying in the Berner Oberland region. But I'm still researching!

It seems that many people who travel there a lot prefer the half-fare card

mokka4: I have very specific travel plans as well. We would definitely utilize the half-fare card for the stretch between Murren-Basel, and then Basel to Koblenz will be purchased full price.

Our Switzerland plans are:

June 5: Milan-Spiez. Purchase half-fare card and travel from Spiez-Murren
June 6-8: Explore Murren, Gimmelwald, Schilthorn, Jungfraujoch, Lauterbrunnen
June 9: Leave for Koblenz, Germany. Use hfc for Swiss rails until Germany

Anyone else have a good experience with the half-fare card??
pempem is offline  
Feb 26th, 2014, 10:24 PM
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Hi pempem,

Yes, I do!

I travel to Switzerland once or twice a year, most years, since 1996. These days, my trips are 10 days to 2 weeks.

I used to do the math -- get all the fares for all my travel and excursions, then do a spreadsheet for all of the possible combinations and possibilities. Every time I did the math, the HFC came out as the cheapest option. So, now I skip the math and enjoy the HFC.

You can get it sent to you in the mail, so you may want to do that. You would save money on your trip to Spiez, and it would save you a few minutes at Spiez.

Have fun as you plan!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Feb 27th, 2014, 09:53 AM
  #8  
 
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Apologies for giving slightly incorrect information last night, it was late and my brain was functioning properly. my geography was at fault.
tipsygus is offline  
Feb 27th, 2014, 01:14 PM
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Thanks for your response swandav2000!

It was a pain, but I used an excel sheet and calculated all the possible ticket prices and passes (Swiss Card, Swiss Pass, Berner Ob Pass, point-to-point, and Half-Fare) and it looks like the half-fare card was the cheapest option.

I'll look into ordering it here. We considered using it from Milan-Spiez, but we found supersaver ticket prices on Trenitalia for 22 euro each!

Thanks for all the help everyone!
pempem is offline  
Feb 27th, 2014, 01:14 PM
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No problem tipsygus
pempem is offline  
Feb 27th, 2014, 01:24 PM
  #11  
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Actually, I have one more question for anyone still around. I don't need to reserve seats in Swiss rails right? And prices are all set, they don't fluctuate?
pempem is offline  
Feb 27th, 2014, 02:27 PM
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Pempem You are right on both points, no you don't need to reserve seats and the prices don't fluctuate. Have a lovely trip
tipsygus is offline  
Feb 27th, 2014, 02:47 PM
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so the HalfFare Card may work best. I personally have used the HFC for my last 5 trips>

anyone considering the Half-Fare Card should also investigate the Swiss Card which offers everything the Half-Fare Card does plus two train trips - one to start your trip from any border station or airport to anyplace in Switzerland and then to end you trip to any border point or airport in Switzerland and in between you get 50% off just abouteverything that moves in Switzerland just like the Half-Fare Card - several folks have found the Swiss Card saved them money -not a whole lot but why buy a Half-Fare Card is the Swiss Card is exactly the same and with the two train trips even a few francs cheaper? Why pay more for less.

Folks always mention the Half-Fare Card without mentioning the Swiss Card which could well be better for some.

For lots about Swiss trains, passes, cards, etc I always spotlight these IMO susperb sites: www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com.

No reason IMO to order a Half-Fare Card before going to Switzerland where you can buy it at any train station - especially if you must pay any mailing fees - just buy it at your first train station.
PalenQ is online now  
Feb 28th, 2014, 10:28 AM
  #14  
 
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So, now I skip the math and enjoy the HFC.>

by automatically doing the Half-Fare Card without doing math means you could be missing out on the Swiss Card, as explained above can offer everything the Half-Fare Card does at a cheaper price figuring in the two train trips it includes - this obviously depends on how far those train trips are - but for others I suggest they do the math between Half-Fare Card and Swiss Card - why pay more for less?
PalenQ is online now  
Feb 28th, 2014, 10:30 PM
  #15  
 
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Pal, since I normally go to Switzerland once or twice a year (I didn't go in 2013 though), I get the 1-year HFC, which costs 175 chf and is cheaper than two one-month HFC. Then I arrange my visits to fall within 12 months of one another.

I still maintain that, for someone who doesn't enjoy doing the math, the HFC is a great default.

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Mar 1st, 2014, 01:33 PM
  #16  
 
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well in your case swan it is a no-brainer - and I think you basically go to one or two places and stay in the area - unlike first-time travelers who are more likely to travel around quite a bit.

I will say I do not agree with your saying for others that if they do not enjoy doing the math the HFC is a great default - well it could be or a Swiss Pass could be just as well - I always have a pass and I always use it much more than I planned to - like on a rainy day up in the Jungfrau hills I can take a day trip to Bern or Lucerne with the pass and not think about price at all - and I never have to stand in lines at ticket windows for transports fully covered by the pass, etc.

And folks may be going to museums - half-fare does nothing there I think but Swiss Pass covers in full (but only on 100% covered days on a flexipass) - the Ballenberg museum is about $25 a pop - the popular museum in the Interlaken area or the fantastic Paul Klee Museum in Bern, etc.

Or on a nice day in Interlaken in late afternoon I may just hop on a lake boat on Lake Thun just for a nice float in the sun on top deck with the Jungfrau Massif out in all its glry - take a picnic on board, etc.

Half-Fare is good for folks who know EXACTLY what they will be doing as you do I suspect and nothing more - will not change a thing and then for a one-month version the Swiss Card could offer everything and more for less.

But I see with your one-year card it's different and I'd probably do that as well if I were living near Switzerland and going twice a year - then it may be a no-brainer but when you always say 'the Half-Fare Card works best for me' people assume you are talking about the one-month card not an annual one and I think that makes a big difference as again the Swiss Card could be better than a one-month Swiss Half-Fare Card and offer everything it does.
PalenQ is online now  
Mar 1st, 2014, 02:49 PM
  #17  
 
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I agree with PalenQ I like the Swiss Pass simply because it allows me to change my plans while on the move, I have often started out from Interlaken intending to go to Zurich and ended up in Lucerne as an example. It also saves me queueing at the station on most occasions. On a rainy day in a town I can visit the local museum and almost certainly not have to pay, I know there are some exceptions. It is a case of whatever suits an individual the best.
tipsygus is offline  
Mar 1st, 2014, 10:33 PM
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Oh, sweetie, I change my plans ALL the time. And of course, my plans are affected and changed by the weather. But whatever I do, wherever I go, I get half off on practically everything that moves. On rainy days, I'm likely to find a perch under an awning or a restaurant with a view and enjoy the sights. No, I'm not much of a museum person.

I don't think it takes more than about 30 seconds to buy a ticket from the many ticket machines -- I certainly wouldn't let *that* determine which pass or card to take.

But, no, I don't spend my time running all around the country, and I *often* caution first-time visitors not to do that either. I don't think that's the way to experience a place.

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2014, 11:44 AM
  #19  
 
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I don't think it takes more than about 30 seconds to buy a ticket from the many ticket machines -- I certainly wouldn't let *that* determine which pass or card to take.>

I agree with that but if all things are near equal - half-fare vs pass - even if pass may seem to cost a bit more many may well use the pass more than they think - well that's what I and tipsygus do and others who are relatively clueless about where they are going may as well - or they may travel less than they thought, too!
PalenQ is online now  

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