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Using the Swiss Half Fare Card

Using the Swiss Half Fare Card

Old Nov 3, 18, 10:31 am
  #1  
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Using the Swiss Half Fare Card

On a trip through Europe a few years ago I purchased all of my train travel ahead of time. This year we are flying into Zurich and heading to Zermatt. If I were to purchase the Half Fare Card do I / should I still purchase tickets ahead of time or is it not necessary using the Half Fare Card?
Thanks
pkerr is offline  
Old Nov 3, 18, 1:09 pm
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On Switzerlant]d it is never necessary to buy train tickets ahead of time. Trains are mass transit.
So you can just go to the ticket office at Zurich airport, buy the half fare card an your tickets, and go.
However, there are some good deals to be had when biying in advance.
The SBB now sells supersaver tickets, and the so called saver day pass (SDP) which is a pass allowing unlimited travel om all public transit for a whole day. For someone arriving at ZRH this may be a good deal.
So just go to www.sbb.ch/en and see if that is available for your day of travel. The SDP is cheaper with the Half Fare Card, but you do not need it yet when booking, only when travelling. So buying tickets or a SDP with HFC reduction now, with the intention to buy one once in ZRH is fine.
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Old Nov 3, 18, 11:09 pm
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Originally Posted by KayVeeBee View Post
On Switzerlant]d it is never necessary to buy train tickets ahead of time. Trains are mass transit.
So you can just go to the ticket office at Zurich airport, buy the half fare card an your tickets, and go.
However, there are some good deals to be had when biying in advance.
The SBB now sells supersaver tickets, and the so called saver day pass (SDP) which is a pass allowing unlimited travel om all public transit for a whole day. For someone arriving at ZRH this may be a good deal.
So just go to www.sbb.ch/en and see if that is available for your day of travel. The SDP is cheaper with the Half Fare Card, but you do not need it yet when booking, only when travelling. So buying tickets or a SDP with HFC reduction now, with the intention to buy one once in ZRH is fine.
Thank you for the information. I am a little unclear on a couple of things. You say " it is never necessary to buy train tickets ahead of time." But then you say "there are some good deals to be had when biying in advance."
So if I buy in advance I can get a better price?
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Old Nov 5, 18, 6:54 am
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Regular price tickets cost the same whenever you buy them, whether months in advance or 30 seconds before the train.
You can get deals if you buy your tickets in advance, but there are strings attached. Supersaver tickets are tied to specific trains and aren't available at all time and all routes. They must be purchased on the web (or in the SBB app) and will automatically be offered if available.
The SDP (saver day pass) can be a very good deal as it doesn't tie you to specific trains and is valid on the whole Swiss transport network (well not on mountain railways), but they tend to sell out quickly and as they're dynamically priced, the price gradually increases.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 8:34 am
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Originally Posted by catandmouse View Post
Regular price tickets cost the same whenever you buy them, whether months in advance or 30 seconds before the train.
You can get deals if you buy your tickets in advance, but there are strings attached. Supersaver tickets are tied to specific trains and aren't available at all time and all routes. They must be purchased on the web (or in the SBB app) and will automatically be offered if available.
The SDP (saver day pass) can be a very good deal as it doesn't tie you to specific trains and is valid on the whole Swiss transport network (well not on mountain railways), but they tend to sell out quickly and as they're dynamically priced, the price gradually increases.
Thanks for that information.
I'm glad you mentioned the Super Saver tickets. I was at SBB and was learning the booking process. I was able to book a Super Saver AND get the Half Fare card discount?
Notice where it says Half-Fare on my graphic belelow... I'm not sure why that's there as I don't have a Half Fare card. Why would it add that?

Secondly, what is the Upgrade City Kloten?

And if I select the Super Saver ticket option, I'll save a bunch more $ but I can only use it for that train, correct?

And one last question for now... When I see a list of trains to select the have little people... Does that mean how crowded the train is at that current time or how crowded it usually is?

And the PI. 4? what does that mean?
Thanks!!





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Old Nov 5, 18, 9:13 am
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You don't say how long you will be in Switzerland, only that you are planning to travel from Zurich to Zermatt. You also don't say if you anticipate using any of the additional benefits of the Half Fare Card. For example, discounts on cable cars etc. Those two factors have a big impact on how important a HFC may or may not be to you. You are obviously an 'analytical' type of person who wants to check every little detail before committing to something. But you can't analyze without providing relevant details that could get you different answers!

It also sounds like saving some money is possibly important to you. The question is how important and whether it is worth bothering about. If it is quite important, then I would question why you have chosen to go to Zermatt. You would have a hard time finding somewhere more expensive to go in Switzerland.

If for example, you are going to ski, then Zermatt does indeed have great skiiing, but so do a lot of other places in Switzerland and some of those are not as expensive, just not as well known to non-Swiss. Statistically, the most visited part of Switzerland by 'Swiss tourists' vacationing within their home country, is the Graubunden area. Have you heard of it? You can find excellent skiing there as well and if you chose to go there, I would suggest that a HFC is not needed at all, nor bothering about trying to pre-book a train to save a few dollars.

Let's suppose your flight arrives an hour late, do you want to have to stress out over whether you will make it to your train on time or not? Or do you want to arrive when you arrive and catch the next train to your final destination? Trains run every hour but not if you have a restricted ticket for a specific departure time.

If you chose to spend a week in Davos skiing, on arrival, your hotel would give you a Guest Card which is good for unlimited bus/train/cable car travel in the area. All you would have to pay for is a return ticket Zurich-Davos. Would you bother then trying to figure out what every symbol on the SBB site means? I would just walk up to the SBB ticket office in Zurich Airport and buy a return ticket Zurich Flughoffen-Davos and that would be the end of it. I'd get on the train from the airport to Bahnhof, then look at the departure board for the platform for the next train to Davos. It would be under an hour. Hopefully, I would have enough time to sit and enjoy a coffee before going to the platform.

Asking questions regarding travel without providing enough background info may get you the specific answer to a specific question but the ASSUMPTION is that you know the right question to ask. I don't like to assume things. The question you asked, "If I were to purchase the Half Fare Card do I / should I still purchase tickets ahead of time or is it not necessary using the Half Fare Card?" has a simple answer. KayVeeBee gave you that simple answer, 'no it is not necessary to buy tickets ahead of time.' But added a 'however' that related to discounted Super Saver tickets and Saver Day Pass. Obviously, that interested you and you wanted to know more. You didn't know to ask, 'is there a cheaper option available.'

Asking a specific question in isolation does not necessarily get you the best answers. Asking a more open question while at the same time providing as much background info as is reasonable, is much more likely to get you an answer that makes the most sense for your circumstances.


I for one would not suggest a HFC at all unless you planned to do some moving around during your time in Switzerland (not just go and stay in one destination) and/or planned to take a lot of advantage of the other discounts the HFC can get you and that there is not a local Guest Card that would get you those same discounts for less or for free.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 9:44 am
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Well first let me say thank you for all the information you provided. Very interesting.
Since asking my initial question that I believe you were answering, I have found out what I need to know about Advance Purchase, Super Saver and Half Fare card.

And regarding saving money vs. spending it. I'll save when I can and spend when necessary. Even in Zermatt.

"Would you bother then trying to figure out what every symbol on the SBB site means?" Because I'd like to know in case it might be important. Oh and I'm not planning a skiing holiday.

If you would just let me know what "Upgrade City Kloten" refers to I'll be on my way.
Thanks!
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Old Nov 7, 18, 8:02 am
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The upgrade city Kloten would be an add-on to your regular rail ticket giving you access to local transport in Kloten. Frankly it surprises me a little as Kloten is part of the Zurich transport area which is divided into zones and I don't really understand what's being offered in this case. Maybe a Zurich expert can help, but I doubt that in your case it's likely to be of any interest.
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Old Nov 7, 18, 8:13 am
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Originally Posted by catandmouse View Post
The upgrade city Kloten would be an add-on to your regular rail ticket giving you access to local transport in Kloten. Frankly it surprises me a little as Kloten is part of the Zurich transport area which is divided into zones and I don't really understand what's being offered in this case. Maybe a Zurich expert can help, but I doubt that in your case it's likely to be of any interest.
Thanks for the info. I originally thought it might be some sort of tax or fee that I needed to add if I was going through Kloten.
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Old Dec 3, 18, 9:29 am
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I have done the trip between ZRH and Zurich Bahnhof for connections a few times and never noticed and ticket controls. Next year we will actually stay in Zurich for at least a night, and I am wondering if I even need to buy a ticket for the trip from downtown to Kloten?
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Old Dec 3, 18, 11:52 am
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Originally Posted by Merlin666 View Post
I have done the trip between ZRH and Zurich Bahnhof for connections a few times and never noticed and ticket controls. Next year we will actually stay in Zurich for at least a night, and I am wondering if I even need to buy a ticket for the trip from downtown to Kloten?
Are you suggesting committing fraud Merilin666 or are you saying you intend to have a Zurich airport to Zurich Hauptbahnhof ticket that allows you to stop off in Kloten?. You are required to buy a ticket when travelling on any public transport in Switzlerland. That many times you do not see a 'ticket collector' doesn't change that at all. Much of the Swiss public transportation operates on an 'honour' system. But do not think they don't check. They do random checks and if caught, there is no excuse that will be accepted and the fine is quite high.

Just this year we were on a local area bus and had a guy who was dressed casually and looked as much like a tourist as we probably did, who after we were seated and the bus moved on, got up from his seat, walked back to us, showed us his ID and asked to see our tickets. We had a local 'Guest Card' which gave us unlimited travel and so there was no problem. He scanned our cards into his hand held terminal and wished us a good visit.

Often on short hops on the train you don't see a 'ticket collector' although on longer travel you most certainly will. But don't think there isn't ever someone who may ask to see your ticket.
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