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How to use the Swiss Half Fare Card

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How does the Swiss Half Fare Card work?

With a Swiss Half Fare Card you are entitled to buy tickets at half the regular fare. Get such a ticket before each trip and then board with your Swiss Half Fare Card and the ticket at hand.

SwissPass account: not required

You don't have to add or link your Swiss Half Fare Card to a "SwissPass" account on the Swiss timetable website or in the app. Find more information here.

How to start using a digital Swiss Half Fare Card

In nearly all cases the Swiss Half Fare Card is ready for traveling once you received it.

  • You will receive a PDF file. It contains a code that train staff can scan from your smart phone. Set your screen brightness to the maximum.
  • You may also receive a link to add the card to a wallet app on your smart phone. You can use this instead of, or in addition to the PDF file.
  • The card is ready to use if it includes all information like start date, passenger name and birth date. Your passport number is not on the card. Your name may be truncated if it's too long to fit on the pass, but that's no problem.
  • Optionally you can print back-up copies of the card on A4 or letter-sized paper.

Period of validity

A Swiss Half Fare Card is valid for one month. You can choose any start date you like and it doesn't have to be the first day of a month. For example: if validity starts on July 15 it will end after August 14.

Validity ends on 5:00 AM of the day following the last day. In the above example, validity ends on August 15, 5:00 AM.


You need to arrange for a discounted ticket before starting each trip. Tickets are available online, at manned rail stations during opening hours, from the ticketing machines at (rail) stations, or through the SBB app.

Every adult needs a Swiss Half Fare Card of his own in order to travel with discounted tickets.

Additional Day Pass

At any time, an additional travelpass for Swiss Half Fare Card holders can be purchased allowing a day of free travelling. If you buy well in advance, the Saver Day Pass is a cheaper alternative.

If you have planned multiple longer trips, be sure to consider the Swiss Travel Pass or Swiss Travel Pass Flex instead of the above combinations.

Seat reservations

You do not need seat reservations for 99% of all trains and buses in Switzerland. You can just board with your Swiss Half Fare Card plus a ticket. Exceptions are some international trains and some panoramic trains like the Glacier Express and Bernina Express. If you need or want seat reservations, you have to arrange for them separately. Seat reservations are not included in the Swiss Half Fare Card.

About train seat reservations
About bus seat reservations

On board the train, bus and boat

Once you're on board, you will need to present your Swiss Half Fare Card plus your ticket to the ticket controllers upon request. The controller may want to check your passport as well, to make sure you're the owner of the presented card.

Traveling beyond the area covered by the card

You may have planned a trip not completely covered by the Swiss Half Fare Card. You can check the map to find which part of your trip is covered. You will have to buy a regular ticket for the part of the trip that is not covered, and a discounted ticket for the part that is covered.

Example: you intend to travel from Milan to Interlaken. As you can see on the map, Domodossola - Interlaken is covered by the Swiss Half Fare Card. So you need to buy a regular ticket Milan - Domodossola, and a discounted ticket Domodossola - Interlaken. You don't need to get off the train in Domodossola. You have paid for the entire trip, so you can stay seated.

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