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2-Day Flexi Pass versus Half Fare Card

Hello!

A few questions if you could kindly help me with please:

  1. Reference the 2-Day Flexi Pass - Is it true that between your first and last day, it functions like a half fare card, with the exact same benefits?
  2. Can I use either one to purchase a Bernese Oberland Region Pass or a Jungfrau Region Pass?

Many thanks in advance for your help!
Kelvin

Posted by
16883 posts

Hi, Kelvin. The 2-day Off Peak Swiss flexipass that is currently for sale is only good for travel through May 31. Does that fit your trip? If not, then get the Swiss Card instead, which is very similar.

All Swiss flexipasses act as a Half-Fare Travel Card in between the longer, counted travel days, giving you 50% discounts on any transport ticket you buy. The only difference is that the flexipass gives a 25% discount from Wengen or Grindelwald to Jungfraujoch, instead of 50% with the Swiss Card or Half-Fare Travel Card. See the list at http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/switzerland-rail-passes. Any of these products would give you a discount on regional passes sold there, but I wouldn't normally consider an second pass to be a good value.

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks Laura.

I'm confused then, what would the benefit of a 2-Day Flexi Pass have in comparison to a Swiss Card, other than getting a better discount for Jungfrau?

My itinerary is as follow (in Month of May 2014):

  • Venice (4days/3nights)

Take the train from Venezia Santa Lucia, through to Sion, Switzerland.

  • Evolene, Sion Region (4days/3nights)
  • Take train to Montreux region (4days/3nights)
  • Take train to Interlaken-Lauterbrunnen (6days/5nights)

I intend to try most of the mountain rails and visit Jungfrau, Schilithorn (weather permitting), Wengen, Murren etc.

What would be the most efficient card to use?

Posted by
6898 posts

I would suggest that the Swiss 1/2-fare card is best for the travel itinerary you describe. It's 1/2 fare on all Swiss transportation including the Jungfraujoch and the Schilthorn. The full regular fare from Lauterbrunnen to the Jungfraujoch is $199 (176CHF). The 1/2 fare card costs 120CHF so that makes the Jungfraujoch trip 88CHF. The savings on this trip alone pays for 73% of the card cost. It's good for 30 days. No flexi-pass stuff.

The Swiss card is somewhat similar but it's purpose is to pay for your full transportation to and from a single destination. While at that destination, it does act as a 1/2-fare card. The Swiss Pass (consecutive or flexi) states on the web page "50% discount on most mountain railways". It does not include Wengen or Grindlewald to the Jungfraujoch or from Muerren to the Schilthorn. Only a 25% discount for these segments.

Sion is not that far into Switzerland. You can purchase the 1/2 fare there for the remainder of your transportation journeys through Switzerland. You can buy your Venice/Sion ticket on www.trenitalia.com right now. You don't indicate your precise day of travel but here's what I see for May 21. Full fare is 85.50Euro. The other fares you see are for discounted tickets. They are non-refundable. The Super Economy are non-exchangeable. The Economy tickets can be exchanged prior to travel. http://gyazo.com/5de8f50207e2f76934eee0b5b4f1f9ec

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks for the response!

Would the Swiss card get me half price up Jungfrau and Schilthorn?

If it does, it might be slightly better than half fare, since it will definitely cover my Interlaken-Zurich trip, and most probably my Brig-Sion (which isn't much really).

Validating the Swiss Card can be done onboard the train I presume?
(sorry for asking this repeatedly - as I don't want trouble!)

Thanks!

Posted by
6898 posts

Both the Swiss Card and the 1/2 fare card will provide a 50% discount to both the Jungfrau and the Schilthorn. But, look carefully at the Swiss web page to see what the Swiss Card is intended to do. It's purpose is to provide full fare to and from one destination in Switzerland. You are looking at entering to Sion and exiting from the B.O. That's two destinations. I would double check on that before purchasing. I'm not sure if that works. Besides, the 1/2 fare card costs 120CHF and the Flexi pass costs 199CHF. That's a 79CHF difference. The approximate fare is from Interlaken to Zurich is about 80CHF. Thus, you pay 79CHF less for the 1/2 fare card over the Swiss Card but you pay 40CHF for the Interlaken Zurich ticket.

If you purchase the 1/2 fare card in the Sion train station, you sign it and they will validate it right there. I'm not sure how you validate the Swiss Card in advance from Italy. Perhaps, the Venice or Milano train stations. Or, perhaps onboard with the conductor. We've always purchased the 1/2 fare card on arrival.

Posted by
10 posts

Hi Larry - thanks for replying.

Got me a little worried there, as I've just gotten my Swiss Card today!

I did a quick check here: [http://www.swisstravelsystem.com/en/support/Frequently-Asked-Questions.html]

Both tickets allow you to travel from the airport/border railway station to your holiday destination and back. The transfer both to and from your destination must be by the most direct route. The Swiss Card also gives you a 50% discount off the regular fare price when you travel by train, bus, boat and mountain railway. Both tickets are valid for one month. *The places of arrival in and departure from Switzerland need not be identical*.

So I think we're covered! ;)

The people who sold me the ticket said to just purchase the ticket up to the first Swiss stop, in my case Brig. From Brig to Sion (relatively short unfortunately), the trip should be free. I can validate the pass when the conductor comes on board.

I'll test it out and let you guys know how it went. fingers crossed

We leave tomorrow!
K

Posted by
10 posts

Hi all, I'm writing this form Wengen. I promised I'd come back and update you how it all went.

So I purchased a Swiss Card before heading to Venice. We planned to travel from Venice (via Milan) into Sion, Switzerland.
TrenItalia would not validate a Swiss pass. What they did was only charge me the fair to the last Italian station (Domodossola).
The train I boarded in Milan would take me straight into Sion, Switzerland. So there was no way of validating my Swiss Card at a SBB train stop.

When the conductor came on board I was a little nervous to be honest. I told him that the Italians didn't want to validate the card and I had no other choice but to wait for you (the conductor) to come on board.
He told me it could have been a $100 CHF fine per passenger. But he watched me fill up my Swiss Card and validated it on the spot.

I didn't argue!

Seems like it's not preferred, but also seems like he has seen enough of these scenarios not to surprise him.

So, there you have it. You can do it on the train. Just pray you get a nice conductor :P

Lastly - a funny thing happened in Domodossola (Italian border station). When we stopped, I thought maybe I'd be proactive and look for an SBB conductor. So I took my white envelope containing my Swiss cards and moved to the back of the cabin. For some strange reason I decided also to take a leak first in the cabin toilet. At this very moment, the Italian border guard was coming up the train - he saw me carry a white envelope and head straight into the toilet. Talk about awkward.

I didn't manage to find an SBB conductor. What happened next was the Italian border guard walked over to me and asked me a whole load of question, with a suspicious glare. He had obviously caught me walking into a toilet with a white envelope just as they were about to do inspections - so I don't blame him. He asked if I had anything to declare and what was in my white envelope, where I was going, etc.

LOL - it was kind of nerve wracking to say the least. Lesson learnt - don't move around at a border station, and definitely not when the border guards are coming onboard the train!!

Posted by
6898 posts

K, thanks much for the update. And thanks for the response from the SBB on the card. This is good info. On their website they describe the card as providing full fare to and from a single destination. Yet they messaged you that arrival and departure destinations did not need to be identical. Good news. Have a great time in Wengen and the B.O.