Please sign in to post.

Train Passes in Switzerland

Why do you think almost 20% of the questions asked on the Switzerland forum is about train passes? Is there any kind of app or website where someone can answer questions and get a "best for you" answer.

I see so many posts where people are hardly using trains in their itinerary, but are obsessed with figuring out which pass to buy.

Posted by
2711 posts

Rick recommends them for Switzerland:

https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/switzerland-rail-passes

Most people don’t want to take the time to do the math to figure out which pass, if any, is best for them. If forum members don’t like the pass questions, they certainly don’t have to respond to them. I usually don’t unless someone is looking for general info.

Here’s a video on the passes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk0hodTKadI

Posted by
75 posts

And once you figure out which pass you want still compare prices on websites. Some else had used the Swiss travel center so I purchased there. But the 120 CHF half fare card x 2 = 240 CHF became 276 USD which was a terrible exchange rate. I should have known when the price came up in checkout in USD. Not to mention I went ahead and purchased the addition $14 to be able to cancel it.

When I finally bought my train tickets I used SBB directly.

Posted by
1801 posts

My advise is to do as the locals: Get the HFC, and buy tickets as you go. Only if you really plan a "Grand Train Tour of Switzerland" is the Swiss Travel Pass the best option.

Posted by
11375 posts

The My Swiss Alps site has this chart, which may be somewhat helpful https://www.myswissalps.com/docs/default-source/raildoc/myswissalps-railpass-overview.pdf.

On this page https://www.myswissalps.com/train/ticketspasses/practical/chooserailpass if you scroll down there is a downloadable spreadsheet one can use to calculate pass value pertinent to their own plans. It makes my head hurt so for years I have done my own sheet.

I think Carrie is right: people don’t want to do the math.

After many many trips, calculating along the way, I would observe that the Half Fare Card plus a relevant regional pass, where applicable, is the way to go. The STP always seems so easy but it is no bargain unless you are going to take long train journeys, the famous routes, and ride every gondola you can find for the days you have the pass.

Posted by
2711 posts

My advice is to do as the locals

Tourists travel differently though. They could be going up Mt. Rigi in the morning and Stanserhorn in the afternoon. The next day could be a boat ride on Lake Brinez and a visit to the Ballenberg Open-Air Museum.

Or maybe they’re me. 😊 I was all over the place last year. Zurich to Montreux to Zermatt to Wengen to Lucerne to Zurich, riding trains, busses, boats, funiculars, and cable cars everywhere I went.

I like the Swiss Travel Pass and I even pay for the 1st class one. I put a high value on the convenience. But that’s just me. Others may be more concerned with getting the best deal. And that’s fine too. But they do have to do the math to figure that out. And there are forum members here who don’t mind helping people figure that out. I know Sam and others often take the time to help others price things out.

And these repeat questions/posts are everywhere. Just look at the Italy forum. Every other question is about how to get tickets for the colosseum.

Posted by
4892 posts

When I have the STP, I find I use it for unplanned excursions, because I can! Maybe I wasn't planning on a boat ride or museum, but I have extra time, so why not , and then I'm happy that I did so. I also like the convenience of just walking on modes of transport without buying tickets.
Safe travels!

Posted by
11375 posts

Carrie and Pat make excellent points about the STP. "Because I can" is a very good reason and it is why we always buy the regional passes. Then we don't think about the expense and we just go!

Posted by
20266 posts

People seem to like the passes, for the convenience, even if there may be less expensive ways to go. Switzerland is like J P Morgan's yacht, "If you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it.

Posted by
1801 posts

Well,. this local does have the Jungfrau Summer Pass, so yes, I do things like going up the Männlichen just to have lunch, or to Gimmelwald for a beer...