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Old 18.07.2011, 17:58
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Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

I'm arriving in Geneva on 1 Aug. Several places have noted that I need to buy train tickets before arriving. Why? Can't I just walk into the train station and buy a ticket to where I want to go?

Our plans aren't quite finalized yet as to when and where. Plus, I'm trying to figure out if they are recommending buying a ticket in the States for their own profit.

Is it cheaper for me to purchase train tickets ahead of time?
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Old 18.07.2011, 18:05
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

You can buy your tickets at the station, or on
http://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html

Be sure to get a credit card that doesn't charge foreign
transaction fees, e.g. Chase or Capital One issued
credit cards. Also, be aware that ticket machines at
the train station require you to enter your 4 digit pin
when using your credit card.

Now since the dollar is dwindling against the swiss franc,
perahps it would be worth while to by a rail pass.

See http://www.eurail.com
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Old 18.07.2011, 18:13
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

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I'm arriving in Geneva on 1 Aug. Several places have noted that I need to buy train tickets before arriving. Why? Can't I just walk into the train station and buy a ticket to where I want to go?

Our plans aren't quite finalized yet as to when and where. Plus, I'm trying to figure out if they are recommending buying a ticket in the States for their own profit.

Is it cheaper for me to purchase train tickets ahead of time?
Regular tickets can be bought at any Swiss train station or ticket machine and there is no finnacial advantage in buying these before you arrive.

There are, however, certain tourist passes that you might have to buy before you arrive as not all are available here (as they are meant for tourists and they don't really want locals using them).
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Old 18.07.2011, 18:17
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

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I'm arriving in Geneva on 1 Aug. Several places have noted that I need to buy train tickets before arriving. Why? Can't I just walk into the train station and buy a ticket to where I want to go?
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...perahps it would be worth while to by a rail pass.
If you're just visiting Switzerland, and only Switzerland, a Swiss Pass might save you some money, depending on how much rail travel you expect to be doing. They cannot be purchased in Switzerland, however, and maybe that is what you were being warned about.
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Old 18.07.2011, 18:18
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

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Regular tickets can be bought at any Swiss train station or ticket machine and there is no finnacial advantage in buying these before you arrive.

There are, however, certain tourist passes that you might have to buy before you arrive as not all are available here (as they are meant for tourists and they don't really want locals using them).
A Swiss Pass may be worth getting if you are here for several days
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Old 18.07.2011, 19:04
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

Thanks! We will only be in Geneva/Bern for 2 days, one of which is Aug 1. It says that the Swiss Pass cannot be used on national holidays. :-(

We are only taking a trip to Geneva/Bern/Geneva. That's basically it for now. It sounds like a City Ticket might be the best thing for us.
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Old 18.07.2011, 19:24
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

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Thanks! We will only be in Geneva/Bern for 2 days, one of which is Aug 1. It says that the Swiss Pass cannot be used on national holidays. :-(

We are only taking a trip to Geneva/Bern/Geneva. That's basically it for now. It sounds like a City Ticket might be the best thing for us.
Where have you seen that the Swiss Pass cannot be used on national holidays? I have used them at Christmas/New Year and Easter with no problems.
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Old 18.07.2011, 19:29
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

Swiss Pass cannot be used on national holidays? That sounds
very hard to believe. Where does it say that?

If your trip is only for 2 days, perhaps it would be worthwhile to
get a Swiss Transfer Pass, or the Swiss Card.

see:

http://www.swiss-pass.ch/en/swiss-card

http://www.swiss-pass.ch/en/swiss-transfer-ticket



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Thanks! We will only be in Geneva/Bern for 2 days, one of which is Aug 1. It says that the Swiss Pass cannot be used on national holidays. :-(

We are only taking a trip to Geneva/Bern/Geneva. That's basically it for now. It sounds like a City Ticket might be the best thing for us.
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Old 20.07.2011, 02:05
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

I have been to so many web sites, I can't even remember where I saw it. I think it was the next page after making the selection with a superscript number beside it, then going down to the bottom of the page and reading the conditions of the ticket,which said it can't be used on holidays. If I find it again, I'll post it. Maybe I read it incorrectly.
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Old 20.07.2011, 03:09
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

Okay...I can't find it. The Swiss Transfer Ticket sounds okay, but this site listed above says that the tickets will be delivered in 2 to 3 weeks. I leave for Spain in one week and will arrive in Geneva on Aug 1. Can I purchase a Swiss Transfer Ticket at the station as long as I can prove that I do not reside in Switzerland?

My other scenario....I will be staying in a hotel the first night in Geneva so will receive a pass for local transportation. If I buy a City Ticket to Bern, that covers all public transportation in both cities and the ticket to Bern and back. The only other thing we would do is take a smaller ride on a boat in Geneva. Do I really need a pass?
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Old 20.07.2011, 04:51
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

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Thanks! We will only be in Geneva/Bern for 2 days, one of which is Aug 1. It says that the Swiss Pass cannot be used on national holidays. :-(

We are only taking a trip to Geneva/Bern/Geneva. That's basically it for now. It sounds like a City Ticket might be the best thing for us.
My mom came and she bought a one month pass that allowed her to get half priced tickets the same as a Halb Tax pass. You can only buy one with a foreign passport. I recall that it cost 150chf.

Alternatively, my friend bought a europass that allowed him access to first class public transport almost for free but it didn't cover "private" lines.
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Old 20.07.2011, 05:54
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

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My mom came and she bought a one month pass that allowed her to get half priced tickets the same as a Halb Tax pass. You can only buy one with a foreign passport. I recall that it cost 150chf.
a halbtax also costs 150, but for a year. Sounds like she got ripped off.
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Old 20.07.2011, 07:01
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

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a halbtax also costs 150, but for a year. Sounds like she got ripped off.
Ah, I couldn't be bothered to remember the exact numbers in this case but I do recall that she paid less than I did, therefore it must have been less than 100chf. But it is only available for people with foreign passports who need it for no more than a month.

OK.
Just looked it up and the price is currently 110chf for one month. Half off of pretty much everything that can be purchased through SBB. Check their website. http://www.sbb.ch/en/leisure-holiday...m-buchung.html
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Old 20.07.2011, 09:58
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

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Okay...I can't find it. The Swiss Transfer Ticket sounds okay, but this site listed above says that the tickets will be delivered in 2 to 3 weeks. I leave for Spain in one week and will arrive in Geneva on Aug 1. Can I purchase a Swiss Transfer Ticket at the station as long as I can prove that I do not reside in Switzerland?

My other scenario....I will be staying in a hotel the first night in Geneva so will receive a pass for local transportation. If I buy a City Ticket to Bern, that covers all public transportation in both cities and the ticket to Bern and back. The only other thing we would do is take a smaller ride on a boat in Geneva. Do I really need a pass?
You could get your ticket delivered to a Swiss address if that helps.

I have used the Swiss Pass for public transport including the boats in Geneva. Not sure about the Swiss Transfer ticket though. It is only to get you to your destination town.

Many hotels give out vouchers for public transport in the towns. Check with your hotel.
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Old 20.07.2011, 11:15
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

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If you're just visiting Switzerland, and only Switzerland, a Swiss Pass might save you some money, depending on how much rail travel you expect to be doing. They cannot be purchased in Switzerland, however, and maybe that is what you were being warned about.
This is incorrect, a Swiss Pass CAN be purchased in Switzerland at SBB station or online at the SBB website.
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Old 20.07.2011, 11:43
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Re: Train-purchase in USA or Switzerland

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Okay...I can't find it. The Swiss Transfer Ticket sounds okay, but this site listed above says that the tickets will be delivered in 2 to 3 weeks. I leave for Spain in one week and will arrive in Geneva on Aug 1. Can I purchase a Swiss Transfer Ticket at the station as long as I can prove that I do not reside in Switzerland?

My other scenario....I will be staying in a hotel the first night in Geneva so will receive a pass for local transportation. If I buy a City Ticket to Bern, that covers all public transportation in both cities and the ticket to Bern and back. The only other thing we would do is take a smaller ride on a boat in Geneva. Do I really need a pass?
Short answer, yes. You can buy the Swiss Transfer Ticket, the Swiss Pass, and most other "tourist"-type tickets at *some* SBB counters (NOT ticket machines), and you can definitely do it at the airport SBB counter. They always speak English and you can even ask them for advice. They are usually very friendly, but it is good to at least go in with an idea of what you want.

With your other scenario, you would be just fine booking city tickets too. But it may be cheaper to buy the transfer ticket, especially because going back and forth to airports usually costs more, which is built into the price of the transfer ticket and not usually into the city tickets. This is something you should research and/or just ask the ticketing agent when you arrive.
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