Using the Swiss Pass

Apr 26th, 2008, 09:32 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 55
Using the Swiss Pass

Hello all and thank you in advance for your help.
I am not clear on a couple of things about using the Swiss Pass, hope you don't mind helping...

I know that I have to validate the pass on the 1st day I am going to use it and I have to write the date at the start of each day I use it, but,

Do I have to make reservations for Swiss trains?

I am assuming that each time I am going to get on a train, boat and bus I just board and show my pass, I don't have to get a separate ticket?

Finally, for the discounted cable cars I am assuming I go buy the ticket and just show the pass to get the discount...

Thank you so very much!
travellover36 is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 03:29 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 479
Yes, you validate it the first day. If you have a 15day pass, for example, you don't have to validate it again after that. I guess it's different if you have a flexipass.

We've used Swiss passes twice in the past six years, and at least at those times, most recently late 2006, we didn't have to make reservations, although we did for special trips like the MOB Golden Pass, where we wanted to travel in the front seats, and booked a few months ahaed.

Normally you just jump on a train. If travelling by ferry you go up to the ticket window, show your pass, and you're given a ticket. The same on mountain railways where you're given a 50% discount [and I gather the same would apply for cable cars. You may want to book the more popular trips the day before.

Don't forget that the Swiss Pass also gives you free entry to many museums. I forgot about that and squandered money in St Gallen.

Have a great trip!
Suelynne is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 05:28 AM
  #3  
JN
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 852
Most swiss trains don't take reservations, so just get on and ride. Special trains (e.g., Bernina or Glacier Express) do. So, as suggested, go to the window, show your pass, pay for your seat reservation and you're good to go. Do likewise for the lifts, boats or trains that offer discounted fares with use of your pass.
JN is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 06:07 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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My experience on boats is that I just boarded and then the conductor came around and glanced at my pass but things may well have changed so go to the ticket window first IMO - and everyone at such windows will speak fairly good English IME

1st class passes can use the open-air top deck or lower deck

2nd class only the lower deck IMO

A few nighttime boats that are dinner cruises with bands, etc may charge a hefty supplement but otherwise all i know of are 100% covered by Swiss Pass

the only exception to the 50% off on non 100% covered travel days i believe is the Jungfraujoch trains from Wengen or Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg and the Jungfraujoch - 25% off with Swiss Pass, down from 50% a few years back
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 27th, 2008, 01:02 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
I visited the Jungfraubahn web site and clipped this section on Swiss Pass usage:

* Half-fare Card and Swiss Card

General 50% reduction on the entire Jungfrau Railways network.

* SBB General Pass (GA) and Swiss Pass

Free travel to Wengen, Mürren and Grindelwald. 50% reduction on other sections (mountain rail & cableways), Swiss Pass Kleine Scheidegg-Jungfraujoch 25% reductions.

* Junior Card
Free travel for children (age 6-15) when accompanied by at least one parent.

This is why I normally get the Swiss Card or the Half Fare card. I normally do enough travel on the SBB to make the half fare card a better buy for me than the Jungfraubahn Pass, which sells for 195 chf.

At any rate, the statement above fully bears out the excellent advice posted by the others.
bob_brown is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 06:11 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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thanks Bob

interesting that with a Swiss Pass you get 50% off Wengen or Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg then the 25% - makes sense if i would have thunk about it

was thinking it was 25% above Wengen or Kleine-Scheidegg

thanks
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 10:04 AM
  #7  
 
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Two more points here I did not think about before I sent the post with the clip from the Jungfraubahn site.

1. The cost of the trip to the Jungfraujoch from the Eigergletscher station (first stop out of Kleine Scheidegg) is 94.40. (Good morning is cheaper)

At 25% off, you pay 70.80; at 50% off you pay 47.20. The difference is 23.60 (All chf prices.)
This is the most expensive part of th whole trip.

2. The Jungfraubahn pass does NOT cover the Schilthorn at all because the Schilthornbahn is not part of the Jungfraubahn holding company.

The Swiss Pass is valid to Mürren and then yields 50% off on the cost from Mürren to the top of the Schilthorn,

The prices are: 71.40 full price and 25.70 at 50% off.

I will be the first to tell you that trying to calculate the break even point on all the various passes keeps me poking in numbers.

The problem is that it is ALL so dependent on what you want to do and WHAT you can actually accomplish. So many of the higher cable and train rides are totally weather dependent that I always wonder if I will be able to make the pass pay for itself and, in the end, save a little money.

We got a real break on the weather two years ago when we went to the Klein Matterhorn and Hohsaas from Saas Fee.

On that crystal clear day, the view of the Dom was striking. People talk about the Jungfrau, the Matterhorn, etc. But for my money if we are talking single mountain views, the Dom is the most beautiful. It is flanked by perfectly formed cirques that still have ice in them. And the whole sheerness of its incredibly steep rise above Saas Fee is almost beyond comprehension: 9,000 feet of seemingly vertical cliffs.

At any rate, clear days in the Alps are the stuff of lifetime memories. For me they are addictive. That is why I go back. The craving begins about now and does not subside until I get a good look at the north face of the Eiger and the west flank of the Jungfrau.

I guess there something to be said for the addictive brain! It lures me back to beauty which, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. Since it is my beholding and my money, I go back.

July will get here!!

bob_brown is offline  
Apr 28th, 2008, 12:48 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
Bob - new calualtions needed as, Raileurope today said that Swiss Pass prices are raising on May 1, 2008

Swiss Passes are rising in price about 8% may 1 so if planning to soon purchase a Swiss Pass you can save by booking your pass before Apr 30, 2008 and be guaranteed that price for six months, the time you have to activate a Swiss Pass after its issuance (and then use a flexipass for one month after that)

sample savings - the popular 3-day flexi saverpass is currently $165 p.p. and will rise $179 or $14 p.p., meaning a savings of $28 if bought before May 1.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 07:40 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,322
ttt
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 12:39 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,019
I need to check on the price of the half fare card. That is what I planned to buy this year.

I will be driving from Munich, so the Swiss Card is not a factor this year.

With my wife's joint problems we will be riding more cable lifts and mountain trains than ever before.

bob_brown is offline  
Apr 29th, 2008, 12:48 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
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I would assume it will remain 99 Ch Francs

the rise in Swiss Passes is strictly for ones bought thru Raileurope, part owned by Swiss Railways and are in dollars

i have no info on price rises in Switzerland for which i would see no reason - the dollar prices are no doubt the result of the slumping dollar

this is the first time i've ever noticed Swiss Pass prices going up during a calendar year - unprecedented but not surprising IMO
PalenQ is offline  
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