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Transportation retrospective: Did the math

seattle
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Transportation retrospective: Did the math

The cost of rail travel and best pass to purchase is a topic that comes up frequently, so I thought I would share our recent experience. We flew in and out of Zurich Flughafen and our destinations were Winterthur (3 days)-Wengen (4 days)-Zurich (3 days) in that order in early September. I estimated rail costs and decided that the Swiss Half Fare Card would be most cost-effective. After our return, I compared our costs using the Swiss Half Fare Card to those estimated if we had used a Swiss Card, 8-day Swiss Pass, or 6-day Swiss Flexi Pass.

While in Wengen, we purchased the 6-day Jungfraubahnen Pass, which included the cost of travel to Jungfraujoch, in addition to all rail, bus, cable cars, gondolas, and boats in the region. It cost us CH 185 with a Half Fare Card (this price would have applied to all of the passes mentioned above as well [http://shop.jungfrau.ch/en/jungfraubahnen-pass]). Luckily, the morning after we arrived was clear, so that was when we bought the pass and went to Jungfraujoch. If it hadn’t been a nice day, we would not have purchased it, as we would have lost the value associated with the trip to Jungfraujoch. Because of inclement weather for the remainder of our stay, we spent a fair amount of time on the local transportation network (cable cars, gondolas, cog-wheel trains, trains, and buses) just checking out the Jungfrau region above Wengen and over to First, rather than hiking. At First and Maennlichen, we ran into conditions in which visibility was almost nil due to heavy fog. We opted to spend our hiking time in the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

In Zurich, we used the Half Fare Card to purchase Tageskartes and individual tickets at kiosks at tram stops and stations, for use at trams in the city, the S10 from Bahnhof Selnau to Uetliberg, and train to the airport.

All in all, the Swiss Half Fare Card was best for us. The total cost per person using the Half Fare Card represented considerable savings compared to costs estimated from SBB.com for full fare, 8-day Swiss Pass, and 6-day Flexi Pass, respectively. This is consistent with the recommendations of the Wengen Destination Experts who seem to prefer the Swiss Half Fare Card to other passes. For us, the Jungfraubahnen Pass using the Half Fare Card was very convenient and represented a modest savings over the Half Fare Card alone because of the number of trips we took in the region.

A Swiss Pass would have been most convenient, and together with the 6-day Jungfraubahnen Pass, would have covered all of our transportation expenses. But it is pricey, and the cost-benefit was not in our favor. Purchasing tickets at machines and counters was pretty straightforward for us, so the convenience factor would have been negligible relative to the price. Our visits to museums were minimal, so there was no advantage there, either. One would have to have a number of long-distance trips, cruises, and/or visit a number of museums to come out even.

The Swiss Flexi Pass and Swiss Card were not appropriate for our particular needs. The 6-day Flexi Pass, which was pretty expensive, did not cover the period of our rail travel. The Swiss Card would have been preferable to the Half Fare Card, if the cost of the round-trip ticket from/to the airport exceeded the difference between the costs of the cards, which was not the case for us.

My thanks to the folks who regularly contribute to this forum with very useful information on transportation and other topics.

Edited: 29 September 2013, 07:53
Zuerich
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for Zurich
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1. Re: Transportation retrospective: Did the math

Hi cicimo

Thanks for this excellent and useful post!

As you noted this question comes up very often on the Switzerland TA Forum, and the only real way to answer it is to do the math for each individual itinerary... It is really helpful that you have written your experience here, so we can use this post as an example. Thanks to you for taking time to post after your trip.

Wimborne, United...
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for Lugano
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2. Re: Transportation retrospective: Did the math

Thank you for your helpful post. You have confirmed what most regular visitors discovered a long time ago - that the HFC is the most economic way to travel.The savings are even greater if visiting more than once a year as there is the option of buying the 1, 2 or 3 year card.

It appears you were able to take advantage of the free travel to Jungfraujoch currently being offered with the 6 day card between the 4th September and 20th October 2013 thereby saving the normal extra charge of 58 CHF.

seattle
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3. Re: Transportation retrospective: Did the math

Thank you. Perhaps our observations will be of interest to others. The combination of the Half Fare Card and inclusion of Jungfraujoch in the 6-day Jungfraubahnen pass was a good deal for us. And, as noted, it is still available.

durham
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4. Re: Transportation retrospective: Did the math

Hi, I found your account very informative. As you seem to have a good understanding of the various passes, I wondered if you might be able to help me or possibly point me in the correct direction. I am trying to find out precise information about the Jungfrau non skiers pass. Is this something that you are familiar with. Owing to injury, I am no longer able to ski, but depending on what this pass covers, I may accompany the rest of my (skiing) family on a trip to Wengen this December. My problem is that, despite trawling the internet, I can not find out precise details of where I can and can't go with this pass. I can not even find an address for a tourist office in Wengen, so I hope that someone may be able to help. Can you offer any info. or suggest any web addresses? I would greatly appreciated it if you could. If not thanks anyway. kj.

5. Re: Transportation retrospective: Did the math

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Mumbai (Bombay...
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6. Re: Transportation retrospective: Did the math

Absolutely amazing information posted by u. Thanks a lot, am travelling tom and this was the most imp question on my mind...and in the end when these expensive passes didn't make sense to specialy as u said how many times we go to meuseums and stuff, I was also actually considering to take a half pay card. The expensive passes were for 5days only while my stay is for 9days, making me more confused...I guess as I am travelling tom I will take the half pay card tom for train stn. Thanks.

seattle
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7. Re: Transportation retrospective: Did the math

To pthdurham, I’m not familiar with a Jungfrau nonskiers pass so will defer to local experts or others to address your query about such a pass. I have seen a person named Rolf with the TA screen-name "Wengen Tourism W" respond in the Wengen forum. He seems to be affiliated with the Wengen Tourism Office.

To Brindaa K, I'm glad the information was helpful.

Wengen, Switzerland
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8. Re: Transportation retrospective: Did the math

That's right. Thank you Cicimo :)

We really regret, that you had bad weather while you were staying in Wengen. This autumn was not that nice...compared to other years.

And now to pthdurham: So the official webpage of Wengen Tourism is: www.wengen.ch E-Mail: info@wengen.ch

Information about the "Hiking and sledging pass" are available at that link: jungfrau.ch/en/…

With this pass, you can use every transportation for free in the Jungfrau Region. The ride up to Jungfraujoch would cost additional as this pass is valid until "Eigergletscher". It's similar to the Jungfraubahnen-Pass in summer.

Please note that the cable car to Maennlichen will be open every day from Dec. 14th. Before that only on the weekend. The train to Kleine Scheidegg is running every day.

You don't need necessarly a hiking pass. You can also buy a single ticket each time you ride a transportation. Maybe buying a Half-Fare ticket Card would be the best way then.

Hope this information is useful for you. In the meantime you can visit us at: www.facebook.com/WengenLauberhorn or on Twitter www.twitter.com/WengenSwiss to see the news in Wengen.

We are happy to welcome you soon and best regards from the Tourist Center Wengen,

Rolf

9. Re: Transportation retrospective: Did the math

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