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Swiss Half Fare Card vs Swiss Half Fare TravelCard

I am about to buy the Swiss Half Fare Card.

What is the difference between a "Swiss Half Fare Card" and a "Swiss Half Fare TravelCard"?

If I purchase the "Swiss Half Fare Card" Can I purchase my tickets for individual trains in advance?

For example:

I would like to book my train from Zermatt to Zurich.
When I go to http://www.sbb.ch/ and look at the Time Table, I can see my available train options and their fares. When I look at the fairs it shows me a price without a reduction, and with a "Half Fare TravelCard" reduction. Can I purchase these with the "Swiss Half Fare Card", or is this only for the "Swiss Half Fare TravelCard?" Are these passes the same, or is the "Swiss Half Fare Travelcard" different? Can I select the half fare reduction on the sbb.ch timetable and purchase the pass in advance with my "Swiss Half Fare Card?" Or do I need to purchase each pass at the actual train station?

I also saw a super saver pass advertised on sbb.ch/ for that same route. Can I purchase these with the "Swiss Half Fare Card," or is this only for the "Swiss Half Fare TravelCard?" Are these passes the same, or is the "Swiss Half Fare Travelcard" different?

Thanks in advance.

Posted by
20478 posts

The Half Fare Travelcard is only available to residents of Switzerland and its adjoining countries. See the fine print:

Passport or ID card from Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, Italy or Liechtenstein.

So stick with the 30 day tourist Half Fare Card unless you have a passport or resident ID card from the listed countries.

As far as I know, holders of the tourist Half Fare Card are entitled to the same privileges as the holders of the Swiss Half Fare Travelcard during the card's period of validity.

So in your example, a 2nd class ticket from Zermatt to Zurich Hbf on June 10 is 133 CHF. If you have the Half Fare Card, the fare is 61.50 CHF. With a Supersaver ticket and no Half Fare Card is 61.60 CHF (certain departures) and the same train connection with a Half Fare Card is 37 CHF.

By all means, send your question to confirm to SBB using the contact box on the website. They are very good about getting back to you with an answer.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for the quick reply.

Anybody have any insights into the rest of my questions?

If I purchase the "Swiss Half Fare Card (ONE MONTH)" Can I purchase my tickets for individual trains in advance?

For example:

I would like to book my train from Zermatt to Zurich.

When I go to http://www.sbb.ch/ and look at the Time Table, I can see my available train options and their fares. When I look at the fairs it shows me a price without a reduction, and with a "Half Fare TravelCard" reduction. Can I purchase these with the "ONE MONTH Swiss Half Fare Card", or is this only for the "RESIDENT Swiss Half Fare TravelCard?" Can I select the half fare reduction on the sbb.ch timetable and purchase the pass in advance with my "ONE MONTH Swiss Half Fare Card?" Or do I need to purchase each pass at the actual train station?

I also saw a super saver pass advertised on sbb.ch/ for that same route. Can I purchase these with the "ONE MONTHSwiss Half Fare Card," or is this only for the "RESIDENT Swiss Half Fare TravelCard?"

Posted by
20478 posts

See my edited response. Supersaver tickets are only available within 30 days of your travel date.

Posted by
8889 posts

I am not sure there is a difference between a "Swiss Half Fare Card" and a "Swiss Half Fare TravelCard", apart from it being alternative translations of the German original "HalbTax Abo". There is a month card (CHF 120, mostly for tourists), and a yearly one (CHF 185).
They both amount to the same thing, you pay the same fare as a child (6 to 16), which is normally 50% of the full fare. When you use a ticket machine you press the button marked "Half-fare-card / Children" instead of the one marked "Without Half-fare-card".

It is not true you need to be a Swiss resident to get the annual HalbTax Abo. You do need a Swiss address, because they send the card by post (you get a temporary card first). But, if you want a one-year card you must be staying somewhere.

"I would like to book my train from Zermatt to Zurich." - don't. You don't need to, and rarely can book (reserve seats) on Swiss trains. Tickets are valid on any train, and there is no reduction for advance purchase, unless you get one of the "Sparpreis" tickets, and these are specific to one train.

If you do choose to buy tickets in advance, you do not need to have a HalbTax Abo when you buy the tickets, just have one when you use them, and show both the Abo and your ½price tickets to the ticket inspector on the train.
I hope that covers all your questions.