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Zurich Train Tickets - chip and PIN required?

Zurich Train Tickets - chip and PIN required?

Old Sep 30, 19, 12:34 pm
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Zurich Train Tickets - chip and PIN required?

I am reading conflicting reports of the necessity of using a card with chip and PIN technology for train tickets in Zurich (and Lucerne, as we are going there as well). I've read suggestions that manned ticket booth lines can be very long. I do not have a card that is chip and PIN - do I need to leave extra time to stand in line at booths?
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Old Sep 30, 19, 12:39 pm
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You could buy tickets using the mobile app, or the web instead. You don't need chip and pin with these options.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 1:16 pm
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Thank you! I just downloaded it and put in my card info.
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Old Sep 30, 19, 1:24 pm
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You should also be able to find discounted SBB fares with the app. One other suggestion, as the local trains get ticked into zones, which SBB doesn't always get right if you have a half-fare card, or a ZVV pass. So, make sure you have the right number of zones. There is also the ZVV app, but that's sadly only in German.

You will need a 3-zone ticket to get you downtown. The Albis Day Pass can be a good deal if you plan to head up the Uetliberg. But it doesn't include the trip from the airport.
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Old Oct 1, 19, 12:59 am
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For local travel the Fairtiq app is very good too, as you do not have to worry about zones etc. Just ”check in” when you start your trip, and “check out” at your destination. Just like the Oyster card<but without all the infrastructure.
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Old Oct 1, 19, 1:00 am
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Note that if your card isn’t “chip and pin” you will encounter issues not just when buying tickets. So would suggest you get one.
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Old Oct 1, 19, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by KayVeeBee View Post
Note that if your card isn’t “chip and pin” you will encounter issues not just when buying tickets. So would suggest you get one.
For US cardholders this isn't really an option as far as I can tell.

However I can say that my "chip and sign" cards work fine all over, including in some kiosks. NFC payment (Garmin watch or iphone - and probably apple watch but I haven't tried this personally) worked for me throughout Slovakia, Austria, and Switzerland this Summer - drink/food vending machines, ticket machines, in-store, restaurant, hotels, even at an appliance store. The only places it did not work were places that took cash only.

That said for SBB the app does everything.
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Old Oct 1, 19, 9:30 am
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I am confused about the difference betweeen SBB and ZVV. The websites seem to have the same trains. I have also read to avoid the trams since they are slow and use actual trains. What is the difference between trains called IR, IC, S, etc? Which should I use to get around Zurich when we are not walking and which to use for the day trip to Lucerne?
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Old Oct 1, 19, 10:13 am
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Originally Posted by Graciecatt View Post
I am confused about the difference betweeen SBB and ZVV. The websites seem to have the same trains. I have also read to avoid the trams since they are slow and use actual trains. What is the difference between trains called IR, IC, S, etc? Which should I use to get around Zurich when we are not walking and which to use for the day trip to Lucerne?
SBB = Schweizerische Bundesbahnen = Swiss Federal Railways
ZVV = Zürcher Verkehrsverbund = Zurich Transportation Authority

As the names suggest - ZVV manages Zurich's local transport network of trains, trams and buses, while SBB manages the long-distance train networks. The websites "have the same trains", so that people can see how best to connect between local and long-distance services.

Using the SBB app, you can buy all tickets: long distance train tickets, ZVV tickets, and local transport tickets for other big cities. I downloaded the ZVV app, but I've never bothered to use it for buying tickets, because I can just do everything in the SBB app and keep it all organised in one app.

Train types: IR (InterRegio) and IC (InterCity) are long distance trains, while the S trains form a commuter rail network servicing the ZVV area plus some of the immediately adjacent regions. To get to Lucerne, you would take one of the long distance trains. Both long distance and S trains serve Zurich Hauptbahnhof (the main train station), while the S trains also have other, smaller stations around Zurich.

As for which form(s) of transport to use in Zurich when not walking: it really depends on where exactly you're going. I use a mix of S trains, trams and buses. You can find the most efficient route by using the SBB app and/or the Google Maps transport function. The trams are absolutely fine to use - of course they won't be as "fast" as the S trains, but then the S train may not have a stop exactly where you need one. Whereas, a tram or a bus might bring you closer to your intended destination.
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Old Oct 1, 19, 10:29 am
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Basically, if you can't read German, use the SBB app. It's decent enough. Just remember, if you get a roundtrip ticket, if you get a multi-zone ticket, you can travel more places that if you get a roundtrip between two stations.
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