The New Red Travel Card for Switzerland
Travel in Zurich is changing – learn all about the SwissPass and more
Many residents of Zurich will have noticed the advertisements for the SwissPass. This new initiative by SBB appears to merge several services into one. This article will hopefully clarify the aim of the card.
The SwissPass is essentially the future of Swiss Travel cards. Back in the catalogues of history, the ways of obtaining cheap rail, bus, tram and boat fares were as follows: if you were aged over 16 (under 16 and over 6 you automatically get half fare), you either had to buy a Halbtax card to get a reduced fare ticket for each journey, or purchase a General Abonnement (GA for short), for unlimited free travel throughout Switzerland. Previously, Halbtax cards could be purchased as 1, 2 or 3 year cards and a GA card could be purchased for up to one year.
As of 1st August 2015, once you purchase a new Halbtax or GA, it will come in the form of a SwissPass and the GA can run from as little as one month up to one year.
Important: Your existing Halbtax or GA will operate as usual until its expiry date – so you don’t need to do anything yet. Only on expiry will it be renewed in the form of the new SwissPass.
SwissPass – The New Red Tavel card for Switzerland – Photo © SBB
You may be asking, why the fuss? Why not just stick with the old system? Well the new SwissPass comes with several perks.
First, the SwissPass will continue as a Halbtax or GA until you stop paying. This removes the hassle of going to a SBB desk to get things renewed after the expiry date. 2 months before your contract is up an invoice will arrive at your address asking if you would like another 12 months on your contract. If yes, then pay it and the card continues as normal, if not then the card runs out at the date specified. Effectively cutting out the middle man and saving a lot of plastic.
Secondly, the new SwissPass allows you to pay for credit on certain services. These include Mobility Car Sharing, Publibike, hiking passes and best of all ski passes. This means that your card works like a ski pass to put in your jacket and buzz your way through the gates to a cable car at any resort in Switzerland – a real advantage!
From 1st August 2015 all new Halbtax and GA cards are on a SwissPass but if you would like to have a Swiss Pass early for use as a ski pass, for example, it costs just 10chf. Which is not bad considering it eliminates that hassle of sifting through thousands of ski passes before you even see any snow.
All Photos in this article © SBB
Other cool SBB offers are as follows:
For More Information on the Swiss Pass and Travel Information for Zurich and beyond go to the SBB website.
Don’t forget when travelling at night in Switzerland you will need to buy a CHF 5 night supplement or Nachtzuschlag. This can also be done online or by texting NZ to number 988. If you are a student and have a ZKB Stu card you can get the Nachzuschlag for free by texting ZKBNZ to the number 988.
With thanks to Jan de Boer for this informative article.
For more information on Zurich and beyond, feel free to subscribe in the box below this article