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Properly reading/using SBB

So, I'm on phase 3 of planning. Trying to see if Swiss Pass is our best bet. I am thinking that may be the case.
At any rate. I got on SBB to start mapping routes each day to what we think we may do.
For example:
Land in s Zurich 10:40 AM and then we head straight to Luzern.
I put Zurich to Luzern down. I don't know how to read the SBB.

Posted by
126 posts

I use the SBB app but I went to the website. I entered Luzern in the from and got a list of locations - you want to select the airport station with is Zurich Flughafen. Then put in Lucern in the to station. You can select any day or time - I don’t think it matters as they are point to point tickets. You will see a list of possible options. I would go with the one connection one. Select a route box it will display the cost which shows “tickets from 31 CHF” which is 2nd class. You can Select the “tickets from” button and it will then shows options such 1st class pricing or anything else that route may offer. I hope that helps. Unfortunately we can’t upload screen shots. How many days will you be there in Switzerland - do you have an itinerary you can post day by city and any special trips you want to take such as boat ride, mountain excursions such as Schilthorn or Jungfraujoch (not sure what’s in the Luzern area). There are some very knowledgeable folks on this forum that can likely provide guidance.

Posted by
2337 posts

In German Flughafen is the airport station. HB is the abbreviation for the main train station. This applies to all cities. So your departure point would be Zurich Flughafen. You can out Lucern as your destination.

I am going to assume you are using the app. The results will show various opens. Each option will give the train number, the direction that train is going (its final destination, but not necessarily YOUR final destination), the train departure time, the time your journey will end. The open dots in the line represent the number of times you will need to change trains. Then you see what platform the train leaves from (Pl. 2, etc) and how crowded they expect each class of car to be, based on the people icons filled in. Finally you see the duration of the whole trip (1 hr 10 min) for example.

You can then click on each option too see which station you need to get off at for your connection, how much time you have for each connections, which platforms you have to change between, even a map.

The nice thing about Swiss trains is that you aren’t usually reserving a specific train. If you happen to miss your train, just get on the next one.

Seat61.com is a great resource for train travel.

Posted by
16459 posts

Start on this page:

https://www.sbb.ch/en

Change the calendar to a day or 2 from now to avoid time difference confusion. Use a weekday if you arrive on a weekday,or a Saturday of you arrive that day, etc. and the time to 11:00 or so, after your flight lands. Then start typing Zur. . . In the “from” box and a dropdown menu will show options. Choose “Zurich Flughafen if you are starting at the airport. Then start typing Luz… in the “to box and Luzern will appear. Choose that and the schedule will show up immediately, usually the next 5 train options. They will be listed by time and train type.

So the first one might be IC 81 with 12:45 and PL 3 written right below that. That means InterCity train 81 departing at 12:45 from Platform 3 in the airport train station. The line reaches across the page to the arrival time in Luzern, 13:51. The single dot in that line means you have one train change on the way.

Touch or click on that train line and the details will appear on the right side of the page (at least that is how it works on my iPad). It will show the train going from the airport platform 3, arriving at Zurich HB (the main station) at 12:55 on Platform 31.

Then below that it shows a little figure walking and says Transfer. That means you walk to the next train, which it shows as IR 70 (Inter-regional train) departing at 13:10 from Platform 5. You will have to go up the escalators to that level and board the train. It will go straight to Luzern, arriving there at 13:51, on Platform 6. You just get off the train and walk to the front to the lobby area of the station, and out the doors.

Posted by
2337 posts

If you are charting your routes and adding up the fares, know that the price in SBB assumes you have the Half Fare Card. The actual price without any pass is double what you see.

Posted by
126 posts

@travel4fun - I am not sure that is true that it defaults to 1`/2 fare pricing. I had a 1/2 fare card last year so the app and web assume I will have one. The Zurich airport to Luzern route was giving me 15.5 CHF. When I went to the web version and put in check out as guest and then created a dummy profile and selected “no discount cards” then put in the Zurich airport to Luzern route it gave me the full fare as 31 CHF. It’s definitely confusing. I think until you set up your own profile with whatever card you have it will give you full fare pricing. OP poster should validate what they are seeing with this route.

Posted by
16459 posts

I do not know how the app works; I don’t use that. But on the website, the first page listing the results of a search for routes from, say Zurich Flughafen to Luzern, will show 5 results with the Half Fare price shown above each option on the far right, just above the arrival time for each train. Regular fares are in a white oblong box, in this case saying “from CHF 15.50”. Those are the Half price. Fares that are further discounted SuperSaver tickets are shown in a black box with white letters, saying in this case “% from CHF 11.00”. Those are also the fares with a Half Price card applied.

It shows up like this whether I am logged in to ms SwissPass account or not. If I go to “buy”, the next page says “1 Traveler Half Fare”. That is the default setting. I have to remove that Half Fare option to purchase a valid ticket. Only then will it show 31 CHF as the full regular price for this journey.

So the first price anyone sees when trying to do a quick check for planning purposes is the 50% off price. You have to actively change it to remove the Half Fare card to see the actual price. Then it will stay removed, and show the full fare during the “buy” process, for as long as you stay on that search page (changing the date, etc). But the original page, with the 5 (usually) search results, will still show the Half Fare price.

Posted by
41 posts

We purchased the Swiss Pass for all the days we will be there. I am currently working on train info (to be somewhat prepared and knowledgeable) and what we want to plan to do in each location.
We will be in Lucerne May 27th-30th
May 30th head out to Jungfrau (Lauterbunnen) -June 2nd
June 2nd head out to Montreux til the 5th
June 5th head out to Annecy til the 9th
June 9th head back to Zurich to depart home the 10th