train passes for Switzerland

Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 03:55 PM
  #1  
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train passes for Switzerland

I just read a huge thread in the Germany forum about RailEurope overcharging for fares purchased in advance by foreigners (most posters seeming to think you don't need to purchase in advance either for assurance that you'll get a seat or to get the best fare) What's the feedback on buying the SwissPass in particular - we're traveling in September for 12 days from Geneva to Montreaux to Interlaken to Luzern to Zurich, and lots of little places in between and around. Is the pass a good idea? And how much do we have to worry that a train will be full when we want to get on it?
travelerwife is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 04:01 PM
  #2  
yk
 
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You are comparing apples to oranges.

That particular thread is about buying point-to-point tickets from RE vs from DB. RE charges a marked-up fare plus S&H.

You can buy SwissPass from various websites, including MySwitzerland.com or Ricksteves.com. Prices are the same from either sites.

For 2 people, you should look into getting the SaverPass.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 04:56 PM
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Trains are unlikely to be full unless from one major city to another (business people). We took an early morning train from Basel to Zurich airport and it was standing room only from the last 2 stops. But it shouldn't be that bad for tourist destinations - and if you have to stand for an hour (I would think very rare) - no big deal.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 05:05 PM
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I wouldn't worry about the trains being full. Even if you are taking the train during rush hour, you will probably find a seat. You might be split up if traveling in a group, but you will usually have a place to sit. One suggestion is, if you have the choice of two relatively similar options, choose the slightly later one.

For instance, I travel from Zurich to Zug, every day. There is an 8:04 and an 8:09 train. The 8:04 is packed and only picks up more passengers en route. I've stood for the entire journey on this train. The 8:09, on the other hand is much less full - I have never not had an empty seat next to me on this train. The 8:09, of course, arrives 2 minutes later than the 8:04.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 05:33 PM
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Hello, I was in Switzerland for a week earlier this month. After problems with RailEurope (they charged me but I found out at the last minute that my swiss pass and seat reservation had problems, and RE failed to inform me 5 days before my departure to Zurich), I canceled my order and simply bought the swiss pass when I arrived at Zurich Hauptbahnhof. Just go to the Travel office at the center of the train station; you won't miss it. FYI your credit card may not work there (mine didn't and I tried all my cards, they didn't work for some reason but this was only at the train station). Be prepared to pay in cash. The line might be long.


My swiss pass was for second class, 8 days, and I used it every day. It can be used for all public transit in major cities in Switzerland including the trams.

The trains (in second class) were never full. I went to Zurich, Luzern, Basel, Konstanz, Bern, and Interlaken/Jungfrohjoch. It was a wonderful week in Switzerland (and of course a very expensive one!).
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Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 05:38 PM
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BTW, I said " It can be used for all public transit in major cities in Switzerland including the trams. "

But actually it's not ALL public transit. It excludes the special mountain trains like the train up to Jungfraujoch (spelled it wrong in my last post). But you do get a discount on those trains with the swiss pass. The Jungfraujoch train still came out to be about $95 with the discount, though.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 05:55 PM
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nancicita -

The Jungfraubahn isn't public transit, it's a private railway as are many of the mountain excursions in Switzerland. SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) is public transport.

travelerwife -

We've used the Swiss Saverpass on all our trips to Switzerland with the exception of the most recent, when we used the Half Fare Card. We saved about 110 CHF by doing so, because most of what we did was on private railways, which is only covered at 50% (20-25% on a handful of excursions) with the Swiss Saverpass.

You might want to crunch the numbers to see which is the better deal for you.

We've run into very few completely full trains in Switzerland. On the rare occasion we had to stand, it was for a very short time.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2009, 06:01 PM
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>> The Jungfraubahn isn't public transit, it's a private railway as are many of the mountain excursions in Switzerland. SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) is public transport.

agree on the correction.
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 03:41 AM
  #9  
 
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You are as has been said comparing apples and oranges, Raileurope is a travel agency, selling tickets, passes etc The Swiss Pass is what it says a pass, it's means of prepaying your fares for travel in Switzerland, and in my opinion one of the best means of controlling the ependiture of a holiday. I buy the Swiss Pass each time I go to Switzerland, reasons: 1. I can pay for it in Sterling before I leave home. 2. When on holiday I can change my mind about my destination, as I did on one occasion having got on a train to Berne with the intention of going Biene/Biel and ending up in Solthurn. It cost me nothing, I didn't have to find the ticket office and buy another ticket.

Do I get my money's worth? I am going to do the maths and work out the cost of point to point tickets and the half price option I don't know for me it's the convenience of the Pass. plus tranpsrt in so many of the major cities and the museums.

The only trip I now of where the half price card is better value is the Jungfraujoch,
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Old Jun 23rd, 2009, 02:19 PM
  #10  
 
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I just returned from Switzerland and bought my Swiss Pass when I arrived, I had no problems using my CC for the pass. The pass is excellent value, and gives discounts on alot of excursions. Jungfrau was CHF 110 with a 50% discount.

Check what point ot point tickets you need (using SBBs website) and determine if individual ticket or the Swiss Pass is a better value for your needs.
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