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erica212 Apr 20th, 2005 10:57 AM

Switzerland trains
I will be travelling by train from geneva to zurich, or possibly geneva - Kandersteg,
Lauterbrunnen to Zurich. I will also be taking day trips in Geneva and Zurich. Is there a card that would be economical. Can a US passport holder get the senior discount on trains. There are so many different cards. Would appreciate any comments/advice. I need help. My travel is last week in June, first week in July.
Thanks .

rex Apr 20th, 2005 02:25 PM


swandav2000 Apr 20th, 2005 02:34 PM

Hi erica212,

Unfortunately, there's really no shortcuts here. The best way to find the most economical pass or point-to-point ticket is to do a spreadsheet with the trips down the side and one column for each pass or point to point option.

I can tell you that each time I do this, I find the Half Fare Card to give me the best deal.


Intrepid1 Apr 20th, 2005 02:41 PM

You could try inputting your itineray at or at

In general, passes are more economical the more you use them. You would definitely need to compare the cost of buying a SwissPass vs. a Half Fare Card.

For what it is worth, the SwissPass would allow you to use the public transportation system in both Geneva and Zurich; I am uncertain as to whether or not the Half Fare Card also comes with that benefit.

I believe the SwissPass will also give you a discount on some of the mountain railways and in that regard the Half Fare Card may be a better value.

suze Apr 20th, 2005 02:45 PM

I love the Swiss train system but have only used point-to-point tickets myself.

Unless you figure out exactly how many times you will use the train, and exactly where you will be going... it's impossible to figure out if a pass will be helpful or not worth it.

I also have heard about the 1/2 Fare Card, swandav mentions above, as often being the best choice for people.

Nicol Apr 20th, 2005 09:12 PM

If you are planning on travelling back to Geneva from Zurich, I would recommend the Swiss Card. It includes a return ticket from a Swiss border (ie Geneva) to another location and back again, with half price for all other trains, post buses, some cable cars and some ferries.

DeeDee Apr 20th, 2005 11:33 PM

I did a spreadsheet and I found that the half-fare card would save about $2 over the next best, which, in our case, was the Swiss card.

I did purchase the Swiss card, though, as I could get it here in US at less cost than it would be in Switzerland. Buying it ahead was a factor for us because we'll be entering Switzerland from Germany and with the Swiss card in hand we can buy our tixs in Germany using the Swiss card for the Swiss portion of the trip inbound (free from the border). If I had decided to purchase the half card, we would have had to buy the ticket from Germany to the first Swiss stop inside the border, then go to the ticket agent and buy the half-fare card, then catch the next train. An unnecessary hassle for just a few dollars.

Erica212, do a search here for 'Swiss train pass' and I believe you will find links to all the sites with the pass info (prices and areas covered). Then check your routes under all the different pass scenarios. Good Luck!

delaney Apr 21st, 2005 05:33 AM

We'll be there the last week of June
and first week of July also. There are
five in our group so we went with the SwissSaver Pass and our 14 year old is
free. We've never been and I didn't know what the lines were like buying
tickets. I felt this would be a lot easier just to show the pass and get on. We also plan on using a lot of
transportation...trains, boats, etc.

suze Apr 21st, 2005 07:47 AM

This is a tiny (interesting) aside about Swiss trains, and nothing to do with passes.

You can purchase a point-to-point ticket from the conductor on the train. There is a small surcharge for this, but if you are running late and the proper train pulled in, you CAN jump on and pay once you are on board.

isabel Apr 21st, 2005 09:54 AM

I'll be spending 8 days in Switzerland in July and was planning on using trains for transportation. I did just what you've all been suggesting and in my case it comes out very close - $217 for the Swiss Saver Pass (that's per person and two people have to travel together), $214 if I do point to point tickets for the trips I think we'll take, and $199 for the half fare card (plus the half fares). BUT - just for the heck of it I priced out a car rental for the period and it comes out to about $250. So since there are two of us it would be a substantial saving to rent a car. I know that doesn't include gas but still. I know there are pros and cons to trains versus cars in general - what do you think about Switzerland?

Our plans are the Interlaken and lakes area, the mountains (which I know you can't drive very far into, but the trains up into them aren't included in the above figuring anyway as they aren't covered by the passes and I couldn't even get those prices on line), Bern,Sion, and Luzerne (and fly out of Zurich).

erica212 Apr 21st, 2005 11:45 AM

Thanks everyone for the info.
I will probably buy point to point tickets. I think it comes out very close.I will be taking the train to Zurich and that is my last stop, fly home from there. Does anyone know if can you buy senior discount tickets at the train station.

suze Apr 21st, 2005 11:51 AM

I really think point-to-point's the easiest. The people I know who made a pass work for them were literally on the train every single day.

You can purchase tickets at the train stations from a clerk at a ticket booth, or from machines (that take cash or credit cards), or even from the conductor on the train.

Sorry am not sure about the senior discount.

swandav2000 Apr 22nd, 2005 04:13 AM

Hi erica212,

If you buy the Half-Fare Card -- you'll pay half price on your point-to-point tickets. I recommend it.


Intrepid1 Apr 22nd, 2005 04:35 AM

I assume you can buy the half-fare card AFTER you arrive in Switzerland...I would do so to avoid, if nothing else, the shipping and handling fees, etc., that are routinely charged by agencies such as RailPass/RailSaver/RailEurope, etc.

I would ask about the senior discount at that time also.

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