Switzerland can be discovered by trains, buses, boats and scenic mountain trains. Use the Swiss half fare card to get one month’s of half-price travel, while children under 16 travel free of charge when accompanied by an adult who is a holder of a Swiss Family Card.
Swiss Half Fare Card
- Offers 50% discount to use trains, buses, boats and public transportations in 75 cities.
- Children under 16 travel for free.
This card provides savings up to 50% for travel on most trains, boats, and buses in Switzerland.
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How does it work?
Rail Passes in 3 steps
1. Pick the right rail pass
Rail passes are available in 1, 2, 3 or 4 country combinations for extensive travel on the national rail networks. Going for an extended trip? Try the Eurail Global Pass offering rail travel in 28 different countries.
Once you've selected your pass, its price will depend on the class of service, First or Second, selected and the number of rail travel days.
2. Reserve your seats
Most trains in Switzerland do not require reservations. You can simply board with your rail pass and take any open seat.
3. Activate and travel
Your pass was pre-validated at the time of booking, it is now valid for use for the duration you selected. You're all set and ready to explore.
More than just trains
Main discounts and bonuses in Swiss Half Fare Card
- 50% discount when travelling on board trains.
- 50% discount when using urban public transport in 75 towns.
- Free travel for children under 16, accompanied by a parent, holder of a Swiss Family Card.
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Common Questions, Simple Answers
Q. Can I sit in First class if I have a Second class rail pass?
A. In general, you cannot travel in first class with a second class rail pass.
In certain cases it may be possible to purchase an upgrade for your trip, you can visit the ticket window at your departure train station prior to boarding your train.
Q. Can I choose whether my tickets or rail passes are delivered as paper documents or electronically?
A. All available delivery options for how your train tickets, rail passes, and/or reservations can be issued will be presented to you during checkout.
Q. Can I add a friend to my existing rail pass?
A. Once a rail pass has been printed, another name cannot be added. We may be able to exchange the rail pass through our contact center, but exchange fees and penalties will apply. The only exception is if you bought the Rail Protection Plan along with your rail pass. In that case, you’re eligible to exchange your rail pass for a new one that includes your friend, without incurring any fee or penalty. You’ll just need to pay the additional cost of the rail pass for your friend.
Q. Why does my train ticket say “coach” if I bought a ticket in the First class or Premier Category?
A. Don’t worry – the word “coach” on the ticket is another word for train car. It doesn’t mean you’ll be traveling in “coach” class.
Q. I'm looking to book a train on your site but I can't find it, why?
A. We know it can be frustrating when what you’re looking for is not displaying, let us help, as there could be several reasons for this happening.
1. It could be the case that it is too soon to book the train you wish to travel on. Typically, trains can be booked 3 months in advance. Of course, this can vary by carrier and time of year. Some trains have a longer booking horizon.
2. The train or fare you are looking for is not available. Depending on the time of year, time of day, or train you are looking for, it could be the case that there are no available seats for booking. If your travel dates are flexible, you can select an alternate travel dates to see if the train you are looking for displays.
3. Scheduled track work or maintenance could be scheduled for the day/time you are looking to travel. Carriers will close reservations for these scheduled dates, meaning they will not appear on our site to book.
4. Some trains are private lines or operated by carriers that do not allow other distributors to offer them. In these cases, tickets will need to be secured locally at the station.
Q. Do you offer student, family and/or senior discounts?
A. Yes. Rail Europe offers a wide range of train tickets and rail passes that provide discounts to children, youths, seniors or groups of people that travel together.
Discounted rates vary depending on the type of train ticket or rail pass you are purchasing, and are not always offered.
We do our best to provide you with the cheapest fares for your traveling party and get you the discounts you’re eligible for. This is why it’s important to accurately indicate the composition of your traveling party when requesting fares and schedules or rail pass prices from our website. You may also have to enter the age of certain travellers, so we can determine whether they’re eligible for certain age-related discounts.
Q. Does taking an overnight train mean using 2 travel days on my rail pass?
A. If you travel on a direct overnight train departing after 7:00pm and arriving after 4:00am, it’s only necessary to enter the date of arrival in the travel calendar, thereby using only one travel day. If you travel on an overnight train that departs after 7:00pm but has a change of trains or arrives before 4:00am, you will be required to enter both the date of departure and arrival in the travel calendar, using two travel days of your rail pass.
Q. Do you offer e-tickets?
A. Yes, on certain rail lines. There are two types of e-tickets:
Print at home and Print at the Station
Let’s begin with Print at Home e-tickets, of which there are 3 different types.
The first type of e-tickets are those issued as a PDF’s which will be emailed to you and can be downloaded via a link contained in your Rail Europe email confirmation. You must print the PDF (using a printer) and bring your ticket with you to board the train.
The second type of e-tickets are those that are individually emailed to you. You must print the email (using a printer) and bring it with you to board the train – this is your train ticket. Each ticket will be in a separate email, so if you booked more than one ticket, please be sure you print all tickets that were emailed to you.
The last type of e-tickets are those which have a unique e-ticket confirmation code that is printed on your Rail Europe confirmation email. You must provide the e-ticket confirmation code along with your id to the conductor on board the train.
Next, Print at the station e-tickets!
You will receive a 6 or 8 alpha-numeric e-ticket confirmation code (also known as a PNR or Passenger Name Record) in your Rail Europe confirmation email, which you then enter into a self-service kiosk at the train station in Europe to print out your actual train ticket.
Use this e-ticket confirmation code at a self-service kiosk at the train station to retrieve your ticket. Not all rail lines offer these e-ticket options. Once you have selected a ticket on our website, you’ll be able to choose from its available methods of issuance at checkout.
Q. How can I tell whether or not I have a reserved seat on board?
A. To tell if you have a reservation, first see if you received one or two travel documents for your trip. If you received two travel documents, you probably received an open train ticket and a reservation. The reservation portion will show a train number, car number and seat number assigned to you personally.
If you received only one document, see if it also indicates a seat number and car number. If so, your train ticket includes a reservation.
Q. Are there ATMs on board?
A. While there are ATMs located in most major European train stations, there are none on the trains themselves.