Swiss half fare card vs Half fare travel card

Traveling to Switzerland for 8 days in mid-July...What exactly is difference in features of "Swiss half fare card" sold in U.S. only and costs =$230 and the "Half fare travel card" sold only in Switzerland for CHF 100. I see all of the benefits listed for Swiss card,Transfer ticket,Swiss pass and Swiss flexipass on Ricks "comparing railpass coverage", but how about "Half fare travel card...specifically with regard to the Jungfrau regional railway. Why is "Swiss half fare card" twice as expensive as "half fare travel card". Am I missing something?

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

Mark, can you explain where you are getting this information and these prices? The only Half Fare Card I know is the one sold in Switzerland for 120 CHF for a 30-day travel card. It gives 50% off the Jungfraujoch trip and all other travel in Switzerland. It is not listed on the RS railpass web page that is because they do not sell it here. You buy it in Switzerland, ot possibly online from the Swiss Travel System. Are you possibly confusing it with the Swiss Card? That one IS sold here and it does give 50% off everything, including the Jungfraujoch. It also includes two free trips, on your first and last day (inbound and outbound). The free trips account for the difference in price between a Swiss Card and a Half Fare Card. According to this website the Swiss Card is now $215.

Posted by Mark
Chicago
13 posts

Thank you for your reply..."Swiss card" and "swiss half fare card" are synonymous I gather. I saw a different price of CHF 255 on page 600 of Fodors Switzerland for 1st class, approx same as Rick's $304. Rick also has a wonderful explanation of benefits on his website. Not as much on SBB website for "Swiss half-fare card", (half fare travel card??). So are the benefits and coverage exactly the same between these 2 cards with the exception of Swiss card giving you 1st and last trip free? Also, we are starting our trip Zurich to Luzern and ending Lausanne to Zurich. Does outbound have to be exact opposite route of inbound or is it beginning trip and final trip?
One final question; is first class worth additional cost? We are planning Zurich >>> Luzern, Luzern >>> Interlaken, Interlaken >>>Montreux, then Lausanne >>> Zurich. Thanks again, Mark

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

ImthinkmFodors is confusing you. Mthe correct name for thenSwiss Card is Swiss Card, even though it is a half-fare card. For the actual Half Fare card,,there are two versions,ma year-long one available to residents,,and the 30-day card available to non-residents. The 2013 price is 120 CHF. You can read about both the Swiss Card and the Half Fare Card on the Swiss Travel System website. ,that site has the informationnonnpasses available to visitors. Mlook for the link to the coverage map ( or Google " Swiss Synoptic Map" to see a map of the rail system, color-coded to show the validity and discounts for various passes. You will see that the Swiss Card and Half Fare Card are coded the same.

Posted by Mark
Chicago
13 posts

Thanks Lola for clarifying things...think we will go w/ half fare travel card puchased in Switzerland as it will give us option of purchasing a 1st or 2nd class ticket. Any opinion if 1st class is worth additional cost?

Posted by Pauline
BROADSTAIRS, Kent, United Kingdom
81 posts

Mark you may well find 1st class is quieter than 2nd class. The seat are arranged differently in that there is one seat then the aisle then two seats so not as many seats but other than that no. You may be confusing the Jungfrau Regional Pass which only covers the Jungfrau region and can be bought in conjunction with the Half Fare Card. The Swiss Rail Site should give you the definitive explanation.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

A Half Fare Card will indeed give you the maximum flexibility and allow you to pick 1st or 2d class as you please. Many of the mountain trains do not even have first class cars, but in the Intercity trains like Bern to Zurich it is quite nice, with more room than the 2d class seating.

Posted by Mark
Chicago
13 posts

Thanks all for the great advise...as I get closer to actual trip while making final decisions it is beginning to get very exciting! Mark

Posted by Jim
Dallas, Texas, USA
495 posts

Mark, I'm writing you from Murren. I found that when we landed in Zurich airport and am sure it applies to other cities in Switzerland, just go to a major train ticket station and there will be people nice enough to help you determine if you should get a 3 to 5 to 7 day pass versus whether you should get half fare card. The half fare card is for non-Swiss residents, 120 CHF. I presumed I would need a half fare card and they confirmed what I thought. Special rides such as one from Murren to Schilthorn and Jungfrau are pricy and may determine which pass is best for you. Always follow Rick's guidebook advise, go to Schilthorn and Jungfrau early in morning. Weather is gorgeous here. Good Luck. Just be sure to carry your tickets with you and sit in whatever Class ticket you bought. BTW, 2nd class seats will do on most excursions.