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Old 09.08.2015, 17:22
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Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

I understand that Halb Tax cards would be replaced by Swiss Pass. I did read the details on SBB site but am still confused. Can someone tell in simple words, what will change for SBB half tax card holders?
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Old 09.08.2015, 18:12
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

Hi rajat, I certainly understand that it can be confusing. The Halb Tax (as a product) still exists. It is just no longer on a Card called "Halb Tax".

The SwissPass is a new Card from the SBB from 1st August 2015 . It can be seen as a kind of basic "Membership Card" or "customer identity card". It proves only that you have registered your data with the SBB. And it can be electronically read by the hand-held devices that the train conductors have.

If you want to buy a any type of season ticket (Halb Tax, GA, children's cards, etc.) you first have to get your SwissPass. It is then loaded up with the product you have bought, e.g. Halb Tax.

When the conductor checks your ticket in the Train, he/she will read your SwissCard with the device, which will show which products you have loaded up (bought). The SwissCard itself no longer has an expiry date (like the Halb Tax used to have) because it is seen as an ongoing identity card with the SBB. Your subscription to the Halb Tax lasts, of course, for as long as you pay for it.

BUT... the new newness is that the Halb Tax subscription, or the GA, will AUTOMATICALLY be renewed, whether or not you ask for it, and you will be liable to pay for it. Unless you have given notice in time.
Please see Only permitted to renew new halbtax in person?
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Old 11.08.2015, 15:13
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

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Hi rajat, I certainly understand that it can be confusing. The Halb Tax (as a product) still exists. It is just no longer on a Card called "Halb Tax".

The SwissPass is a new Card from the SBB from 1st August 2015 . It can be seen as a kind of basic "Membership Card" or "customer identity card". It proves only that you have registered your data with the SBB. And it can be electronically read by the hand-held devices that the train conductors have.

If you want to buy a any type of season ticket (Halb Tax, GA, children's cards, etc.) you first have to get your SwissPass. It is then loaded up with the product you have bought, e.g. Halb Tax.

When the conductor checks your ticket in the Train, he/she will read your SwissCard with the device, which will show which products you have loaded up (bought). The SwissCard itself no longer has an expiry date (like the Halb Tax used to have) because it is seen as an ongoing identity card with the SBB. Your subscription to the Halb Tax lasts, of course, for as long as you pay for it.

BUT... the new newness is that the Halb Tax subscription, or the GA, will AUTOMATICALLY be renewed, whether or not you ask for it, and you will be liable to pay for it. Unless you have given notice in time.
Please see Only permitted to renew new halbtax in person?
Except.... it's not quite that yet. Having just renewed my half tax / got my Swiss Pass and Junior card today (11-Aug-15) the Junior card is not yet linked to it, and the ZVV abo is not yet linked to it, and the pre-pay visa that I used to have on it is no longer possible so I have to have a separate card for that.
So not quite one card for all, I actually have one extra card now.
These things will come together at some point, I have been told (ZVV in December for example).
Also, if you ask for the rechnung option rather than the Direct Debit, then they send out the rechnung 2 months in advance and you can terminate the auto-renewal up to one month before, and you can do that in a window of the station rather than registered letter. At least that is what I was told.
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Old 11.08.2015, 15:58
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

Better still: two of us on the train one with Halbtax, one with Swiss Pass.

In the Zuriberg Tunnel to Stadelhofen an inspector asks for tickets:

Halbtax - quick visual check - OK in a couple of seconds.

Swiss Pass - insert card into portable reader. Wait and wait for result. Inspector advises "these don't work well in tunnels..."
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Old 11.08.2015, 16:03
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

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"these don't work well in tunnels..."
How good that those are rare in Switzerland...
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Old 11.08.2015, 16:40
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

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Better still: two of us on the train one with Halbtax, one with Swiss Pass.

In the Zuriberg Tunnel to Stadelhofen an inspector asks for tickets:

Halbtax - quick visual check - OK in a couple of seconds.

Swiss Pass - insert card into portable reader. Wait and wait for result. Inspector advises "these don't work well in tunnels..."
And these portable readers cost a total of 18 Million CHF!

http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/wirtscha...story/23638915
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Old 11.08.2015, 23:14
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

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Except.... it's not quite that yet. Having just renewed my half tax / got my Swiss Pass and Junior card today (11-Aug-15) the Junior card is not yet linked to it, and the ZVV abo is not yet linked to it, and the pre-pay visa that I used to have on it is no longer possible so I have to have a separate card for that.
So not quite one card for all, I actually have one extra card now.
These things will come together at some point, I have been told (ZVV in December for example).
Also, if you ask for the rechnung option rather than the Direct Debit, then they send out the rechnung 2 months in advance and you can terminate the auto-renewal up to one month before, and you can do that in a window of the station rather than registered letter. At least that is what I was told.
Were you told if they'd change to the Swisspass at the same time as the annual price increase (2nd weekend of Dec) or if it'll be earlier or later in Dec, and am I right thinking that this means that getting a ZVV abo in November would get you the old design card, without Swisspass attached?
Thanks
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Old 13.08.2015, 23:13
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

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Were you told if they'd change to the Swisspass at the same time as the annual price increase (2nd weekend of Dec) or if it'll be earlier or later in Dec, and am I right thinking that this means that getting a ZVV abo in November would get you the old design card, without Swisspass attached?
Thanks
Seemingly ZVV abos will be on the Swiss Pass as of 2018, Lausanne and Geneva public transport abos as of 2016.
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Old 14.08.2015, 08:00
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

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Were you told if they'd change to the Swisspass at the same time as the annual price increase (2nd weekend of Dec) or if it'll be earlier or later in Dec, and am I right thinking that this means that getting a ZVV abo in November would get you the old design card, without Swisspass attached?
Thanks
No, just '...in December'
Ahhh, to be fair, the guy at the counter did just say December, he didn't specify this year.

I got the impression that the counter staff are not that happy at the premature rollout either. poor guys have to cope with all the idiots like me asking why this 'all on one card' Swiss Pass means one extra card in my wallet
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Old 14.08.2015, 09:15
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

I have too many cards. I haven't been able to add my mobility membership either...
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Old 14.08.2015, 11:10
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

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And these portable readers cost a total of 18 Million CHF!

http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/wirtscha...story/23638915
wtf?! they didn't have anything better to spend the money on.

WHY?!?!?

why would you do this?
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Old 14.08.2015, 11:18
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

btw, anyone have one and know what technology it uses? rfid frequency, data capacity, what is stored on the card, etc.?
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Old 14.08.2015, 18:35
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

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btw, anyone have one and know what technology it uses? rfid frequency, data capacity, what is stored on the card, etc.?
A technology which'll probably slow things down significantly during ticket controls - that's all I need to know .
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Old 15.08.2015, 07:25
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

I like the idea of having one card that can hold various different abos and remove the need of having multiple cards. However, if that is not the case (yet), then it is going to be simply annoying.

I *hate* how many damn cards I have to carry in my wallet ever since I moved to Switzerland.
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Old 15.08.2015, 11:16
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

Conductors have a hard enough job without putting each card into a scanner. I don't see the advantage of a Swiss Pass at all.
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Old 15.08.2015, 13:05
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

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WHY?!?!?

why would you do this?

Yes, I also wondered that. Here is a partial answer (in German):
https://www.bluewin.ch/de/news/inlan...-ein-tari.html


The main point seems to be that the many public transport companies throughout Switzerland are considering making one, clear tarif system, for SBB and all the others. This will mean passengers would no longer have to figure out when they're leaving one system and crossing into another, e.g. leaving the ZVV which covers the canton of Zurich, and going into Aargau, which latter has a different system.


Now, the companies are discussing how to make such a unified tarif system. And once they've done that, they intend to introduce electronic payment using the SwissPass.


Another idea will be a "plus" function as part of the Halb-Tax, so that one can load a number of Tageskarten (Day Cards for all of Switzerland) onto the SwissPass. That will be the equivalent of having a GA for, say, 30 or 50 days per year.


Elsewhere, I read that at some point other non-transport tickets e.g. entrance fees and bookings to concerts, hotels or thermal baths, which could be booked online and loaded onto the SwssPass.
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Old 15.08.2015, 13:06
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

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I like the idea of having one card that can hold various different abos and remove the need of having multiple cards. However, if that is not the case (yet), then it is going to be simply annoying.

I *hate* how many damn cards I have to carry in my wallet ever since I moved to Switzerland.
Every card distributor should have a system in place where one can choose to either get a card or a sticker with relevant info which can be stuck on an existing card. Would cut down the card load significantly.
But because this isn't the case, if a store says they don't have the sticker option, they can be 99% sure that I won't join their loyalty program. There's enough necessary cards which can't be turned into stickers as is - ID, EHIC, debit, credit, driver's license, ONE public transport abo - one doesn't need a stack of unnecessary ones to add on top of that.

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Yes, I also wondered that. Here is a partial answer (in German):
https://www.bluewin.ch/de/news/inlan...-ein-tari.html


The main point seems to be that the many public transport companies throughout Switzerland are considering making one, clear tarif system, for SBB and all the others. This will mean passengers would no longer have to figure out when they're leaving one system and crossing into another, e.g. leaving the ZVV which covers the canton of Zurich, and going into Aargau, which latter has a different system.


Now, the companies are discussing how to make such a unified tarif system. And once they've done that, they intend to introduce electronic payment using the SwissPass.


Another idea will be a "plus" function as part of the Halb-Tax, so that one can load a number of Tageskarten (Day Cards for all of Switzerland) onto the SwissPass. That will be the equivalent of having a GA for, say, 30 or 50 days per year.


Elsewhere, I read that at some point other non-transport tickets e.g. entrance fees and bookings to concerts, hotels or thermal baths, which could be booked online and loaded onto the SwssPass.
I don't want one tariff system for CH as a whole - this would probably turn out unfair since some places have long distance rides by bus/postauto (GR etc.) and others have short ones by tram which need to be accessible every 10 or so minutes (e.g. ZH). I don't see how one would be able to unify tariffs in a fair way - and do so without significantly increasing prices for certain groups of travelers.

Adding a daily GA would be a bad idea too because it'd probably increase prices significantly - currently the Tageskarte Gemeinde system in place works just fine, providing day-GAs for residents of communes only. If you don't live in a commune, you don't get a pass or, if you're lucky, get one at a premium price. This system might seem unfair to the non-residents of locations where these passes are sold, but I think it is one of the reasons which keeps prices down.
So - SBB should only put daily GAs on the Swiss Pass if they don't get rid of the TK Gemeinde as a result.

Last edited by glowjupiter; 15.08.2015 at 13:16.
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Old 15.08.2015, 13:11
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

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Conductors have a hard enough job without putting each card into a scanner. I don't see the advantage of a Swiss Pass at all.
Right now it has very little advantages, for many people none at all.

But it's a long term step-by-step project, e.g. I just read today that there are plans that from 2016 you will be able to load a number of daily passes to your Halbtax-Abo. (link in German only, sorry)
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Old 15.08.2015, 13:11
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

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I *hate* how many damn cards I have to carry in my wallet ever since I moved to Switzerland.
Tha's very interesting. How were registrations, memberships, payments, and tickets handled back home? What was in your wallet then, and which cards are extra, now that you're in Switzerland?
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Old 15.08.2015, 13:43
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Re: Swiss pass vs Halb Tax

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Yes, I also wondered that. Here is a partial answer (in German):
https://www.bluewin.ch/de/news/inlan...-ein-tari.html


The main point seems to be that the many public transport companies throughout Switzerland are considering making one, clear tarif system, for SBB and all the others. This will mean passengers would no longer have to figure out when they're leaving one system and crossing into another, e.g. leaving the ZVV which covers the canton of Zurich, and going into Aargau, which latter has a different system.


Now, the companies are discussing how to make such a unified tarif system. And once they've done that, they intend to introduce electronic payment using the SwissPass.


Another idea will be a "plus" function as part of the Halb-Tax, so that one can load a number of Tageskarten (Day Cards for all of Switzerland) onto the SwissPass. That will be the equivalent of having a GA for, say, 30 or 50 days per year.


Elsewhere, I read that at some point other non-transport tickets e.g. entrance fees and bookings to concerts, hotels or thermal baths, which could be booked online and loaded onto the SwssPass.
I think the idea of having a national Octopus card would be interesting. However, they have been traditionally driven by organic growth from mass transit systems where the advantages were clear and allowed for high throughput systems. But this is dependent on automated/self-serve barriers.

The contactless cards doesn't really make sense where there is manual checking. The current system of visual checking is faster, albeit less secure.
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