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Old 12.09.2016, 22:23
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1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

Dear All,

I am trying to get my head around it, but I just can't, please help

Basically, I'm moving to Switzerland around New Year, permanently (I hope! ), and my future employer offers me either 1-year Half Fare card OR to "buy a GA Card and claim an SBB-voucher to the value of the 1-year Half Fare card".

What adds to my confusion is that I haven't secured the flat yet, so I am considering the 2 alternatives:

#1. I will be living in Zurich and I will use e.g. tram or bus to get to work, daily.
#2. I will be living in Winterthur, and commute daily to Zurich with a train, 2nd class.

My office is also in Zurich, around Hardbruecke station. In any case, in my free time I will be willing to travel in Switzerland with trains (2nd class is OK), and also to use public transportation in different places that I will visit. I also would like to sometimes bring along my bike and snowboard on the trains. I am older than 26, and I'm moving alone, no family, no kids yet

Is my gut feeling correct that for both alternatives over my place to live, the GA with compensated value of the 1-year Half Fare card is the better option, considering also my travel plans?
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Old 12.09.2016, 22:46
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

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Dear All,

I am trying to get my head around it, but I just can't, please help

Basically, I'm moving to Switzerland around New Year, permanently (I hope! ), and my future employer offers me either 1-year Half Fare card OR to "buy a GA Card and claim an SBB-voucher to the value of the 1-year Half Fare card".

What adds to my confusion is that I haven't secured the flat yet, so I am considering the 2 alternatives:

#1. I will be living in Zurich and I will use e.g. tram or bus to get to work, daily.
#2. I will be living in Winterthur, and commute daily to Zurich with a train, 2nd class.

My office is also in Zurich, around Hardbruecke station. In any case, in my free time I will be willing to travel in Switzerland with trains (2nd class is OK), and also to use public transportation in different places that I will visit. I also would like to sometimes bring along my bike and snowboard on the trains. I am older than 26, and I'm moving alone, no family, no kids yet

Is my gut feeling correct that for both alternatives over my place to live, the GA with compensated value of the 1-year Half Fare card is the better option, considering also my travel plans?
As I think I said in my post in your other thread on this subject Winterthur OR Zürich? (post 30 and later)), the GA will not be of any use if you don't travel outside of the canton of Zurich. In this case, a ZVV year pass (around CHF 2200 if you get all zones, less if you only travel betweeen Zürich and Winterthur) is sufficient, together with a half-fare card for weekend trips outside of the canton.

If you get the GA at the price of a GA minus the half-fare card, it is extremely expensive (around CHF 3500), you can travel anywhere at any time.

So the decision between the two could depend on how many trips outside of the canton you decide to make - knowing that just a few multiple-hour train rides with the half-fare card can rack up quite high expenses.

Do your trips outside of the canton amount to CHF 1500 or more? Get the GA.
Do they amount to less? Get the ZVV pass and the half-fare ticket.
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Old 12.09.2016, 22:53
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

Just get the 1/2 card. If you want the GA later, you can always upgrade it.
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Old 12.09.2016, 22:56
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

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As I think I said in my post in your other thread on this subject Winterthur OR Zürich? (post 30 and later)), the GA will not be of any use if you don't travel outside of the canton of Zurich. In this case, a ZVV year pass (around CHF 2200 if you get all zones, less if you only travel betweeen Zürich and Winterthur) is sufficient, together with a half-fare card for weekend trips outside of the canton.

If you get the GA at the price of a GA minus the half-fare card, it is extremely expensive (around CHF 3500), you can travel anywhere at any time.

So the decision between the two could depend on how many trips outside of the canton you decide to make - knowing that just a few multiple-hour train rides with the half-fare card can rack up quite high expenses.

Do your trips outside of the canton amount to CHF 1500 or more? Get the GA.
Do they amount to less? Get the ZVV pass and the half-fare ticket.
Thanks glowjupiter, indeed you answered in my other thread. I just got a bit extra-confused with the new info that my company also offers to discount the GA with the value of 1-year Half Fare, and I was not sure, whether I better continue asking in that thread or open a dedicated one. Now it seems to be clearer--as I can't know for sure how often I will be traveling outside the Zurich canton (in the winter I wish to go snowboarding *everywhere* in CH but realistically speaking I will have enough burden to settle first!), I guess it's better if I go for ZVV pass + half-fare.
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Old 12.09.2016, 23:01
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

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Thanks glowjupiter, indeed you answered in my other thread. I just got a bit extra-confused with the new info that my company also offers to discount the GA with the value of 1-year Half Fare, and I was not sure, whether I better continue asking in that thread or open a dedicated one. Now it seems to be clearer--as I can't know for sure how often I will be traveling outside the Zurich canton (in the winter I wish to go snowboarding *everywhere* in CH but realistically speaking I will have enough burden to settle first!), I guess it's better if I go for ZVV pass + half-fare.
Good idea. If you want to exchange your ZVV pass for a GA later on, you can do so without any issues.
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Old 13.09.2016, 07:46
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

It depends a lot on how much traveling you intend to do in your free time. I was an idiot not to buy a GA the first 2 years I was here, since I didn't work I figured I wouldn't need one.

Except my husband has one and we travel a lot, I was constantly shelling out for tickets which gets expensive even with a 1/2 Takst. Last year I discovered that there was a discount on the GA if your partner has one. Got it in August, was in the money by December... Will get rid of the car before I get rid of the GA.

But I'll admit to being rather extreme. I/we go hiking pretty much every week between May and October and skiing also pretty much every week between December and April. Plus we travel around to visit museums and to show the country when we have guests.

I would suggest you do what I didn't do the first year: write down every time you travel, and at the end of a given periode calculate whether a GA makes sense or not.
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Old 13.09.2016, 08:21
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

I am on my third year of GA and love having it. I also am out a lot on the weekends (hiking, skiing, exploring) and love that I don't have to factor in the cost of a ticket or even think about it - just hop on and go. It also covers a lot of mountain cog trains, gondolas, and boats. Great way to get to know the country when you first arrive!
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Old 13.09.2016, 08:55
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

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...

I would suggest you do what I didn't do the first year: write down every time you travel, and at the end of a given periode calculate whether a GA makes sense or not.
Absolutely, will do, thanks for the tip!
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Old 13.09.2016, 09:08
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

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I am on my third year of GA and love having it. I also am out a lot on the weekends (hiking, skiing, exploring) and love that I don't have to factor in the cost of a ticket or even think about it - just hop on and go. It also covers a lot of mountain cog trains, gondolas, and boats. Great way to get to know the country when you first arrive!
Hi RFreeman,

if I may ask, how much approximately do you spend per month on traveling? And/or how many trips on average per week do you do? Also, do you pay a yearly fee for the GA or monthly?
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Old 13.09.2016, 09:46
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

Shadysand, I opened my little SBB spreadsheet for last year (a bit autistic about numbers, we are), and here it is:

Between July 1st 2015 and June 30th 2016, I've taken the train for an average of CHF 410,35/month full price, with my biggest month being May 2016 at CHF 685,60. I have 4 months in that period where I used the train for more than CHF 600,00/month, full price.

For the present year, it's going to be even higher, looking at how much hiking I've been doing.

In this I only country trips out of the city of Zürich (but including the airport), I also use the public transportation network in Zürich most of the time. We've used the car twice this summer; the only reason we keep it is that we're moving next year and we want to see if we're going to need it in our new place.

I have a partner's GA (my husband has the full price one) that I paid for an entire year (CHF 2560,00).
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Old 13.09.2016, 09:55
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

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Shadysand, I opened my little SBB spreadsheet for last year (a bit autistic about numbers, we are), and here it is:

Between July 1st 2015 and June 30th 2016, I've taken the train for an average of CHF 410,35/month full price, with my biggest month being May 2016 at CHF 685,60. I have 4 months in that period where I used the train for more than CHF 600,00/month, full price.

For the present year, it's going to be even higher, looking at how much hiking I've been doing.

In this I only country trips out of the city of Zürich (but including the airport), I also use the public transportation network in Zürich most of the time. We've used the car twice this summer; the only reason we keep it is that we're moving next year and we want to see if we're going to need it in our new place.

I have a partner's GA (my husband has the full price one) that I paid for an entire year (CHF 2560,00).
Wow, thanks a lot, Trollemor, that's very useful. Judging by your nickname, aren't you from Norway (I am from Oslo!)?
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Old 13.09.2016, 09:56
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

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Wow, thanks a lot, Trollemor, that's very useful. Judging by your nickname, aren't you from Norway (I am from Oslo!)?
Trollefar is from Bergen, we used to live there as well as in Stavanger. I'm from Canada.
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Old 13.09.2016, 10:00
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

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Trollefar is from Bergen, we used to live there as well as in Stavanger. I'm from Canada.
Nice to meet you! If I may, maybe I will annoy you guys a bit later with some more questions, I am sure I will have some )
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Old 13.09.2016, 10:06
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

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Nice to meet you! If I may, maybe I will annoy you guys a bit later with some more questions, I am sure I will have some )
Anytime! Feel free to pm me as well. We're here since 2012, we're quite settled by now.
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Old 13.09.2016, 10:29
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

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Shadysand, I opened my little SBB spreadsheet for last year (a bit autistic about numbers, we are), and here it is:

Between July 1st 2015 and June 30th 2016, I've taken the train for an average of CHF 410,35/month full price, with my biggest month being May 2016 at CHF 685,60. I have 4 months in that period where I used the train for more than CHF 600,00/month, full price.

For the present year, it's going to be even higher, looking at how much hiking I've been doing.

In this I only country trips out of the city of Zürich (but including the airport), I also use the public transportation network in Zürich most of the time. We've used the car twice this summer; the only reason we keep it is that we're moving next year and we want to see if we're going to need it in our new place.

I have a partner's GA (my husband has the full price one) that I paid for an entire year (CHF 2560,00).
Why would you calculate it at the full price? Surely you should calculate it at half price plus the cost of the Halbtax?

OP when I've done this calculation in the past I worked out that I would have to travel to somewhere like Zermatt at least 12 times a year to get value from the GA. Given there is lots of Europe to explore and that closer places like Davos, St Moritz etc are much cheaper to get to, I struggled to make the numbers work.
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Old 13.09.2016, 10:42
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

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Hi RFreeman,

if I may ask, how much approximately do you spend per month on traveling? And/or how many trips on average per week do you do? Also, do you pay a yearly fee for the GA or monthly?

I buy yearly and am often out at least once per week hiking, sometimes more. I travel between 3 ZVV zones for work, which would be over 1000 annually, but I don't track the travel closely to know how much / if I am coming out ahead financially. I have had a lot of visitors this last year and have been to Zermatt, Mürren, Rigi and beyond more than once, which are fully covered by GA and would add up quickly without.
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Old 13.09.2016, 10:57
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Re: 1-year Half Fare VS GA (discounted for the value of Half Fare)?

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Why would you calculate it at the full price? Surely you should calculate it at half price plus the cost of the Halbtax?

OP when I've done this calculation in the past I worked out that I would have to travel to somewhere like Zermatt at least 12 times a year to get value from the GA. Given there is lots of Europe to explore and that closer places like Davos, St Moritz etc are much cheaper to get to, I struggled to make the numbers work.
I do both, actually.

In the end, I still find it worth my while. There also the practical side to it (never having to buy tickets + living over a train station = leaving home at the very last minute and do a lot of spontaneous trips) and the treasury side; once it's paid, it's paid, no bitching about costs on months when we travel a lot.

The GA is expensive, but having a 1/2 Takst when your partner has a GA and is the type to go to Ticino for lunch is very expensive and unpractical. Because of course, he has no understanding of people having to fumble with the ticket machines and make it to a particular train.

Plus again, to be accurate I should calculate the price of the monthly ZVV pass on top of all those trips. And the partner discount is very interesting.
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