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SBB fares - is it possible to book point-to-point tickets that are flexible on time of departure?

I've read through the forum archives for SBB and I'm still confused...

Is it possible to buy tickets for specific routes and dates in advance on the SBB but for the actual departure times to be somewhat flexible? I'm going to be in Zurich, with day trips to Lucerne and Bern. It's easy to pick a specific time in the morning but harder to know what time to book a return in the evening. Is there any flexibility, like with Trenitalia where you can easily adjust your ticket on the app (because fares stay the same on local routes) or where your printed ticket is valid for two hours after the time on it? What happens if you miss your train in Switzerland -- is it permissible to board the next train of same type without buying another ticket? Is it possible to change ticket times if you download the SBB app, without incurring additional charges?

I did look at day passes but 69 CHF/day for a pass for a 50 CHF roundtrip route doesn't make a lot of sense... unless there's no other way to get flexibility on exact time of same-day return.

Posted by
1281 posts

Swiss trains are very expensive. You might check to see if those prices you quoted are the half-fare prices, as it's assumed in Switzerland that passengers have at least the Half-Fare Pass.
Are you aware of the 25% Pass sale available during the month of July, for use in the next several months?
Have a great trip!

Posted by
41 posts

Yeah, it looks like the no-fare card price is 25 CHF each way, Zurich-Lucerne. But good catch. They show the half-fare prices and it looked so affordable for a moment. Then again, it's Switzerland.

Thanks for tip on passes... 25% a day pass would help.

Posted by
15949 posts

If only those two day trips mentioned, a Swiss Travel Pass won't help, even if it is 25% discount.

For Luzern, the full fare ticket is 25 CHF each way. You could buy a Supersaver ticket well in advance for the outbound trip for 15 CHF and just buy a full fare return ticket. That saves 10 CHF.

For Bern, the full fare ticket is 51 CHF each way. You can get a Saver Day Pass for as low as 61 CHF if you pick your day a month away or more. That saves 41 CHF.

Full fare tickets can be bought anytime before the train departs and you just hop on board, and they are fully flexible for the day. No need to book in advance. Trains are so frequent that nobody buys seat reservations unless its a super busy holiday weekend or a group that must sit together.

Edit-I don't believe the 25% works on day passes, only the multiday Swiss Travel Passes available for nonresidents of Switzerland.

Posted by
41 posts

Thank you -- that's very helpful for Bern. It looks like we should be able to take any train in the region at second-class on that day?

Posted by
41 posts

Thank you kindly. Just making the cutoff for 61 CHF by one day! So really appreciate the heads up.

Posted by
1750 posts

Something to keep in mind, in CH the weather can make a big difference in your plans. So if you're locked into a ticket, well that may not be good.