Swiss Pass query

Feb 19th, 2006, 09:21 AM
  #1  
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Swiss Pass query

I have been reading posts and the sbb website but I am still unclear.

If you have a Swiss Flex Pass that gives a discount on the mountain trains - does this trip count as a travel day?
Same question regarding the lake cruises?

I have done the math and the pass does not seem worth it for my trip but if the mountain trips are not considered a travel day it might be worth it.

Thanks for your help
wilees is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 10:13 AM
  #2  
 
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Relative to your question about use of the Swiss Flexi Pass, I searched the SBB web site for a clue.

Here is what I found, which does not answerthe question 100% but I think it implies that you can get a 50% discount on the mountain trains without the need to use up a flexi pass day of travel. Here is the quote about the pass directly from the SBB:

This ticket is ideal for people who do not plan on traveling every day. The Swiss Flexi Pass is valid for the amount of days you have purchased within one month (3, 4, 5, 6 or 8 days that do not need to be consecutive). On the days you choose to activate your Swiss Flexi Pass, you will enjoy the same advantages as a Swiss Pass holder. New: on remaining days, take advantage of a 50% discount.

The last sentence is key. On the Swiss discount instruments I have used that involved free days, the user wrote in the dates of the activation days.

I interpret "remaining days" to mean days within the total validity period on which you elect NOT to use your Pass. That means you don't write on the pass the date of travel. You simply show it and buy a ticket at a 50% discount.

For example, one year I bought the Berner Oberland Regional Pass in the 7 day variety. Included in the cost of the pass were 3 free travel days out of the 7. I could chose the free days by writing in the dates myself with a ball point pen. On the other days, I simply showed the card and bought my tickets for half price.

(Let me add that the last leg of the Jungfraujoch trip is never free with any pass that I know of.)

On the Swiss Card, which I have used several times, the holder of the pass is entitled to a free inward trip from the Swiss border, or airport, to the first night's destination. When leaving, the reverse is true, with the feature that you do not need to leave the same way you came in.

On this card the first date of use is defined by the card holder by writing it on the card with a ball point pen. (I recall on our first trip with the Card I went to the ticket office in the Zürich Airport train station and asked for the card to be validated. The agent handed me a pen.)

Given the wording of the above, I conclude if you are not using the pass to travel on the SBB, you do not mark off a travel date.

If you were, for example, traveling from Lauterbrunnen to the Jungfraujoch, you would only present the card and buy yur tickets at half price.

Now, this is of course my inference from the above statement. I suggest that for a more definitive answer you write the SBB via email and ask them.

There is a contact form on the SBB website at www.sbb.ch. There are English captions as you probably already know.

Assuming that you buy the 4 day Flexi Pass at a cost of 249 chf per person (2 or more people together), the cost is
62.25 chf per day.

A single (one way) ticket from Zürich to Geneva will cost you 77 chf. (return ticket is 2 x 77) So the travel days are precious and you are certainly correct in not wanting to waste a day when you don't want to.

Here is hoping that the SBB opinion corresponds with mine! They are, after all, in a slightly more authoritative position than I am as a contributor to this form.
brookwood is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 02:11 PM
  #3  
 
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OOPS I think I meant choose.
The second "o" is in cyber space.

At any rate, I think an inquiry to the SBB office itself would remove all doubts.

In the past I have received reasonably good answers from the person who answered the email.

I think an answer from them would be superior to my educated guesswork.
brookwood is offline  
Feb 19th, 2006, 05:05 PM
  #4  
 
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When I recently bought a pass for our trip to Switzerland I got very confused on the web page and even the swiss rail number, I ended up on advice from a poster here using BETS Travel and was extremely pleased with their service, length of time they were willing to talk with me on the phone and help me figure out best pass , filter out my options, - my passes arrived with great maps and articles on the areas I was visiting -

BETS (800-441-2387; budgeteuropetravel.com)
escargot is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 06:28 AM
  #5  
 
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Unfortunately fellow contributor Brookwood is not fully correct in his deductions. Sorry about that, but facts are facts.

Here is a two sentence communication I received from the Swiss Federal Rail office concerning the Swiss Flexi Pass and its use on mountain transportation systems that are privately owned. The quote is:

"To get the reduction of 50% 1 day will be marked off on the Swiss Flexi Pass.

"It will be more favorable to buy a full price ticket and save one day on your Swiss Flexi Pass."

The above statement is one of the reasons I have never found the Flexi Pass to be a good deal for me and my own travel schedule.

I have consistently found that the Swiss Card, with its free trips upon entering and departing the country, is the best deal for me.

Most of my riding in Switzerland is on the Berner Oberlandbahn or the related cable transport systems where I get 50% off without any penalty of either losing a pass day or paying full price.

With the card I still get a 50% discount when I ride on Federal trains.

There are a few cable systems of a short ride variety that only allow a discount of 25%, but these are few and usually short rides.

I know the ride from Grindelwald up to Pfingstegg so that one can walk around the corner along the glacial gorge to Stieregg is one such example. There is another one in Isenfluh, but it, too, is a short ride.

Given the information from the Swiss rail authority, I hope that answers the questions.

The Berner Oberland Regional Pass does allow 3 free days, save for the mandatory 50% off on the last stages of the Jungfraujoch trip and the Schilthorn trip. On the non free days, the pass buyer IS entitled to 50% off.

I know I used a 50% day when I went to the Jungfraujoch because I had to pay half the cost anyhow for that last stage. The ride up to Kleine Scheidegg was relatively inexpensive and not worth sacrificing a free day.

bob_brown is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 06:40 AM
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Can I assume that the Swiss Half Fare card would provide 50% discount on the Jungfraujoch trip and the Schilthorn trip, as well as the other means of transportation?
Budman is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 10:14 AM
  #7  
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Thanks team for all your sleuthing. It is then as I suspected (rubbing chin).

I will look into the Swiss Half Fare card. However, the last minute train fares seem very reasonable.

From my research it seems that very few of the rail passes are worth it (perhaps with the exception of the Germany Twin Pass?).
wilees is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 10:25 AM
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Rules with the Swiss Pass and discounts and using flexible travel days changed in 2006 - whereas in previous years you had to use a day to get the discount (which was 25% in 2005; now 50% off everything that moves in Switzerland except cows, including Jungfrau trip) but this year you get the discounts throughout the one-month validity of the pass - ergot- a Swiss Pass now serves as a Swiss Card as well - you do not need to use a day of travel - this info comes from RailEurope's literature which clearly states the same.
PalQ is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 10:32 AM
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Yes, Budman. Please don't get confused
Ingo is online now  
Feb 20th, 2006, 10:52 AM
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Budman- so will the Swiss Flexi Pass and consecutive day pass in 2006 - just like the Swiss Card - both Schilthorn and Jungfrau jaunt 50% off and don't need to use day of pass

however i may have been wrong in above post about the 50% discount being available for a one-month period - the following is the official wording from the map and conditions that are given out with a Swiss Pass - written by the Swiss Travel System - it's in four languages so assume it was written by Swiss Railways not RailEurope:

"as a holder of a Swiss Flexipass, please note:
on the remaining days between the first and last day activated for free travel, the Swiss Flexi Pass entitles to purchase an unlimited number of tickets at a 50% reduced rate of routes marked with a continuous or a dotted line on the map"

So this sounds to me that you get the discounts without using a travel day only from when you actually use the pass for the first day and for the last day - meaning i presume that if you've used up for number of flexible travel days you no longer get the discount for the whole month - so leave a day left over to use getting back to the airport, etc. and you'll be fine.
This comes from the 2006 edition of the Swiss Travel System map - and both Schilthorn and Jungfrau are dotted on the map meaning they get the 50% discount.
It's a bit confusing to me - whereas RailEurope says for the whole month the official info they give out with the pass says otherwise - in practical terms for most folks in the Jungfrau area it means little as you will use a day to get to Jungfrau land and a day to leave.
PalQ is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 11:11 AM
  #11  
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OK. I sent SBB an email and I will post the response when I get it.

But thanks for all the help!
wilees is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 11:13 AM
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You guys are saying the exact opposite of what Bob said in a direct quote from the SBB authorities. Are you saying that the SBB statement is incorrect?

The nessage from the SBB clearly says that you must use a day off of the Flexi Pass if you travel on the mountain lines at 50% off. Or did you bother to read what he said?

And yes, you always pay half the cost of the last section of the Jungfraujoch trip from Eigergletscher to the top and the last stage of the Schilthorn trip from Mürren to the top.

These two parts of both trips are never free regardless of what kind of pass you might hold.

I have made both trips more than once and I know the costs!!
brookwood is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 11:16 AM
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I read what Bob said and i quoted directly from the Swiss Rail thing that comes with the pass. My info is from 2006 - maybe Bob's quoting something that's not updated or he may be quoting something that is and conflicts with info they give out with the pass.
PalQ is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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To clarify one point: I've been reading Bob's in-depth reporting on Jungfrau/Berner Oberland transport questions for a few years now and am always amazed at how detailed and infallibly informed he is! I'm not doubting him but even the SBB can be wrong sometimes - and i'm not saying they are in this case as to what Bob is quoting but then they are wrong in what they've printed to go along with passes for 2006.
PalQ is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 10:00 AM
  #15  
 
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Still looking for definitive answer on the one month 50% thing - has anyone used a Swiss Pass this year and experienced how it really worked?
PalQ is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 10:22 AM
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The German version of the SBB website clearly says "50% off on the remaining days within this one month".
Ingo is online now  
Feb 21st, 2006, 10:25 AM
  #17  
 
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I will be hung for saying this, but...

I had several Swiss train pass questions last year. I found the most knowledgeable folks were at Rick Steves. They were able to look at my travel plan, my travlers (a lot of teens and 4 adults) and help me get the best deal. I asked several questions like this and got really good info from them (and yes, I bought the pass from them)
CarolA is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 10:26 AM
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Ingo - thank you - so it seems RailEurope had the right language but the info printed by SBB that comes with a Swiss Pass does not, or perhaps was translated poorly. Anyway makes a Swiss Pass, at least a flexipass a whole lot more valuable.
thanks again for taking the time.
PalQ is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 03:25 PM
  #19  
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This is the response I received from SBB
---------
Thank you for your request.

The Swiss Flexi Pass is valid for the amount of days you have purchased within one month (3, 4, 5, 6 or 8 days that do not need to be consecutive). On
remaining days take advantage of a 50% discount.

-> Information concerning the offer Swiss Flexi Pass can be found on our homepage:
http://mct.sbb.ch/mct/en/reiselust/int-gaeste/sts.htm
wilees is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 04:42 PM
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PalQ: your name looks familiar...was it on an old post of yours that I pulled off the BETS recommendation? I don't know why that is ringing a bell in my head - if so, thanks, the guy was great and a huge help in explaining all the questions I had and helping me figure what to do as I was so confused between all the choices and new at this - I ended up with a 15 day Swisspass and got the 50% off the other trips (Jungfrauhoc), and doing that didn't "delete" a day but that was from 12/22/05-1/4/06 so I don't know if things have changed - but it worked out fabulous for us and our itinerary.
escargot is offline  

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