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Do I need both a Swiss Travel Pass/Card AND a Regional Pass?

Looking through the forum, I'm glad I'm not the only one very confused about our travel pass options :)

I will read some of the other posts, but my simple question/clarification is if I need to get both a Travel Pass/Card AND a Regional Pass? Or is it one or the other? Most of our time will be in Bernese Oberland, so I want to be able to use the lifts/cable cars/gondolas most cost efficiently, and I know we'll also do Schilthorn one of the days. Rest of our time isn't planned out exactly yet, I'm not sure if I'll ever have it 100% set in stone, so I figured there might be some unplanned use of some lifts/cable cars while in BO, so I guess I'm open to paying for some convenience?

Day 1 - Arrive at ZUR airport, go direct to Murren.

Day 2 - Murren
Day 3 - Murren
Day 4 - Murren --> Lucerne (potentially explore Interlaken briefly)
Day 5 - Lucerne
Day 6 - Lucerne --> ZUR in the morning to catch our 10:30 flight

Thanks for your time!

Posted by
1443 posts

You don't need both passes. If you're debating between them, I'd get a Swiss Pass because it covers the whole country and it is very convenient.

Posted by
27 posts

Thanks for the quick reply/confirmation, Eddie. So the Swiss Pass only covers trains/buses, right? But I would get 50% off the mountain lifts/gondolas, right? And 50% off the Schilthorn?

Posted by
27 posts

Also, just out of curiousity, why would someone get/need both? I see the reduced cost for the Bernese Oberland pass if you have a Swiss Pass, which is why I was kinda confused.

Posted by
1443 posts

Rick has a detailed page describing all the Swiss options. The Swiss Pass covers 100% of public transportation: trains, buses, cable cars, boats, trams. Also covers museums. All mountain lifts are covered except the high mountain destinations like the Schilthon. I think the Schilthorn discount is 50%.

I can't imagine any reasonable scenario where buying both a Swiss Pass and a B.O. regional pass would be economical.

Posted by
11294 posts

Here's a PDF of what the Swiss Pass covers; scroll down to page 2 and zoom in as needed: http://www.sbb.ch/content/dam/sbb/de/pdf/freizeit-ferien/ferien-kurztrips-schweiz/internationale-gaeste/sts-geltungsbereich_en.pdf

Here's a different pamphlet with more details and a variant of the map: http://www.swissrailways.com/sites/default/files/upload/documents/uebersichtskarte_2017_en.pdf

Everything with a solid line is completely covered. Things with a dashed line are 50% off, except for those with a circled number 1, which are 25% off.

I too was thrown by the fact that regional passes are discounted with a country-wide pass. If the Swiss (so famous for their efficiency) were deliberately trying to make the pass situation confusing, they couldn't have done a better job. And the situation changes every year, so I have to be careful about saying things that were true in 2014 (when I went) but are no longer the case. For instance, when I went the trip up Mt. Pilatus was 50% off; for 2017, it's completely covered.

As always with Swiss Passes, also consider a Half Fare Card. You have to buy tickets every time, so it's less convenient than the Swiss Pass, where you only have to buy tickets for things not completely covered. But, you get 50% off everything that moves in the whole country. Since it costs 120 CHF, if your total travel is 240 CHF or more, you can't lose.

Posted by
11451 posts

Also, just out of curiousity, why would someone get/need both? I see the reduced cost for the Bernese Oberland pass if you have a Swiss Pass, which is why I was kinda confused.

We have purchased both Half-Fare Cards and the Berner Oberland Regional Pass when we were doing what you are doing: significant time in the Lauterbrunnen Valley coupled with a couple of rail legs between cities. The only way to be certain is to do a spreadsheet with what you plan to do and evaluate. We like the BO Regional Pass because we can jump on a lift or train without worrying about the incremental cost. We have used more than 150% of the value every time we've purchased one in 4 trips to the area.

Posted by
27 posts

Thank you very much, Harold and Laurel! At least I now have it narrowed down between two options :)

Posted by
5837 posts

We are just back for travel to Switzerland including Luzern and Klosters. Our Hotel in Luzern gave me a Luzern guest card on check in that included free local bus (but not boat) service and discounts on attractions as part of our three night stay. Similarly our Hotel in Klosters gave us Davos-Klosters guest cards that gave us free transportation including train travel between Davos and Klosters, free cross country skiing and various discounts to local attractions.

Just found my free Luzern cards. One card was called a "Passepartout" that gave us "Free Lucerne Mobility Ticket in zone 10 (2nd class/excl boat)" valid for duration of our stay. The second free card was a Luzern isitor Card that offered various discounts including sports, culture/museums etc. I didn't ask, the cards were awarded on check in.

Posted by
11294 posts

The kind of cards Edgar is talking about are also given by hotels in Lausanne. You pay for these in the form of a mandatory fee of a couple of CHF per night (mandatory, whether you need the local transit coverage or not). Just be careful - they're usually for local transit in the city itself only, not for the whole region, and as he reported about boats being excluded for Luzern, not all forms of transit are always included. If you have a Swiss Pass for the days you're in the city, you don't need it, but free beats half price, so it's a nice bonus.

Posted by
18 posts

My itinerary is similar to yours transport-wise: arrive Basel, 4 nights in Wengen, hopefully visit Schilthorn/Jungfraujoch, 2 nights Luzern, depart Zurich.

When I did a spreadsheet and added up the various options, the cheapest one for us was the Half Fare card by itself. I also looked at the Swiss Pass, the BO/Jungfrau/Tell passes, and every combination of two. (I'm a little Type A.)

The Swiss Pass plus Half Fare card came in #2, at 60 CHF per person more than the Half Fare alone. I did consider that option anyway, for the convenience. But it would cost more than 60 CHF additional, unless we took every possible trip I was contemplating, without allowing any downtime for weather etc. And we would still have to buy tickets for the non-covered mountain routes, so that option wouldn't be completely ticket-free. So we are going with the Half Fare alone.

Hope this helps!

Posted by
27 posts

That also helps, Coral! Thanks. I'm pretty sure the Half Fare would be our most cost efficient option because we really have 6x days of travel in Switzerland, but of course that option doesn't exist :)
And, since I don't believe I'll have every single trip planned, I think that would be best/most efficient to not significantly over or under spend.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi,

So probably like most people the Half fare card is easy enough to understand for me. My confusion is between the Swiss Travel Pass and the BO regional pass. From what I've seen, I can't find what the BO regional pass covers that the Swiss Travel Pass doesn't cover, and because the 2 passes are pretty much the same price (250 CHF vs. 259 CHF for a 4 day pass) I don't see what reason there could be to get the regional pass. So there must be some things that the regional pass covers that the national one doesn't, right??? Thanks.

Posted by
27 posts

Cptnplanet.....I'll keep my reply short because I had the same question/confusion. In my research and through a few other posts on here and elsewhere, the simple conclusion I came to was that it would have to be a very unique set of circumstances for the BO Regional Pass to make sense. Therefore, I just ignored that as an option because it just complicates things, and doesn't have any added/specific benefits.