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How to Save Money on Public Transportation in Switzerland

If you've ever been to Switzerland you probably know that Switzerland has one of the best public transportations networks. You can get almost anywhere - even a small mountain village - by bus, train, boat or cablecar. The most important components of this incredible network are the SBB (Swiss Federal Railway) and Postauto (Postal Busses) which cover a large part of Switzerland. There are also smaller bus and railway companies that mainly operate regional transportation but are fully incorporated into the network.

Swiss public transportation shines with punctuality, flexibility and security. This means, for example, that busses and trains almost always leave and arrive right on time. It also means that once you bought your train ticket you can freely choose what time you want to start and end your journey. In addition, there are very few accidents and injuries caused by public transportation in Switzerland.

However, the quality of public transportation comes at a cost. Traveling by train or bus in Switzerland is very expensive. There are a few things you can do to reduce costs for traveling in Switzerland - especially if you're staying more than just a few days. Here's how!

How to Save Money on Public Transportation in Switzerland

The essential tool for saving money for transportation in Switzerland is the Half-Fare Travelcard called Halbtax. Other great ways for saving your buck or Franc are Supersaver Tickets or Saver Day Passes or 1-day Travelpasses. If you are a resident of Switzerland you can also use the Community 1-day Travelpasses of your municipality.

1. Half-Fare Travelcard
  • This card will give you a 50% discount on most public transportation in Switzerland. Be sure to check out the area of validity
  • The price for one year is 185.- CHF. This means that it only makes sense to buy the card if you plan to travel for at least 370.- CHF a year, otherwise it's not paying off. You'll need about 6 round trips from Basel to Zurich or 4 round trips from Zurich to Berne to reach that amount.
  • You can buy the card at your local SBB counter or online (credit card or invoice)
  • The card will give you additional benefits 
  • Supersaver Tickets give you up to 50% discount on regular tickets if you select a fixed route for your journey, mainly if you choose to avoid rush hour traffic
  • Your Supersaver Ticket is only valid on the specific train(s) or bus you selected at purchase. You cannot change the time of departure. If you miss your train, your ticket is no longer valid!
  • These are tickets only available through web or mobile purchase, just enter the route and date of your itinerary to see if there are any Supersaver Tickets available

3. Saver Day Passes
  • The Saver Day Pass gives you unlimited transportation in almost all of Switzerland. See area of validity! It's a great option if you plan on traveling a long distance, say from Chur to Bern and back.
  • It can be purchased with or without having a Half-Fare Travelcard
  • The price for a Saver Day Pass starts at 29.- CHF (with Half-Fare Travelcard) or 52.- CHF (without Travelcard). The sooner you buy the cheaper it is.
  • You can only buy a Saver Day Pass one month ahead
  • The Saver Day Pass is only available through web or mobile purchase. Search the online availability tool to see if one is available for your planned journey.

4. 1-day Travelpasses
  • The regular Day Pass gives you unlimited transportation in almost all of Switzerland (see area of validity). It's a good option only if you plan on traveling a long distance, say from Chur to Bern and back.
  • Price for a 1-day Travelpass is 75.- CHF (2nd class ticket) or 127.- CHF (1st class ticket)
  • It can only be purchased by holders of a valid Half-Fare Travelcard

5. Community 1-day Travelpasses
  • Many municipalities purchase a set of day passes from SBB and sell them for good value to their residents
  • Ask at your local municipality for more information
  • Prices for a 1-day Travelpass range from 40.- to 50.- CHF

As you can see, there are several ways to purchase cheaper tickets for public transportation in Switzerland. Which ticket or pass you'll end up buying depends largely on the length of your stay and the amount of traveling you plan on doing. For shorter stays up to two weeks I would recommend using Supersaver Tickets and Saver Day Passes. If you are staying in Switzerland for at least a few months (without access to a car), then the Half-Fare Travelcard is a must!

A more complete overview and detailed conditions for the above-mentioned tickets and passes can be found on the SBB Website where you'll also be able to purchase them!

Zurich Main Station - Andreas Rothenbühler  /

Topics: Cheap train tickets, Swiss train tickets, Swiss public transportation, Trains in Switzerland



  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and knowledge on this topic. This is really helpful and informative, as this gave me more insight to create more ideas and solutions for my plan. I would love to see more updates from you.

    Tax Professional


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