With a reliable, efficient, clean and safe public transport network, it is easy to get around without a car in Switzerland. Train, tram and bus networks cover the entire country, and there are also extensive cycling routes, with bicycles easy to organise.
The rail network in Switzerland is well organised, convenient, and takes you almost everywhere. Whether travelling for business or pleasure, the Swiss Federal Railways, known as SBB in German, CFF in French, and FFS in Italian, offers a multitude of options.Important: Tickets cannot be bought on Swiss trains so make sure to purchase them before boarding. Fines for travelling without a ticket are steep. If you forget your travelcard (see below), you have to pay the fine but will be able to request a refund minus a service charge of CHF 5.Recommended: SBB/CFF/FFS has an indispensable app for iPhone and Android with which you can access all the real-time schedules and purchase tickets directly via the application.
The Swiss Pass was launched in summer 2015 and unites the previously separate travelcards on one single, chip-equipped plastic card. The Swiss Pass can also store ski resort tickets, your Mobility Carsharing membership and PubliBike bicycle rentals.
The Half-Fare pass (German: Halbtax, French: Demi-Tarif) allows half price travel on the entire Swiss public transport network. This includes all SBB/CFF/FFS railway routes, many private and mountain railways, boat and ferry crossings, and even Post-buses (which provide connections in more remote areas). It is worth the investment if you are planning to be in Switzerland for more than just a short stay. There is a choice of one, two, or three years' validity. Passes can be purchased online or at railway stations. Bring a valid passport or identity document and a recent photograph.
If you want to save some money on train tickets, it makes sense to be on the lookout for Supersaver tickets (German: Sparbillet, French: billets dégriffés). On these tickets you can get a discount of up to 70% and can be bought directly on the SBB app. The only catch is that you need to purchases these tickets for a specific connection and are not valid for the entire day. However, if you already know you will take a certain connection well in advance, it makes sense to purchase these.
If you use public transport frequently, the GA pass is worthwhile. The pass allows unlimited travel on public transport throughout Switzerland, not only on SBB/CFF/FFS and the many private railways, trams, buses, and boats, but also on certain cable cars and funicular mountain railways. With the GA pass, the cardholder additionally benefits from travel discounts on many Swiss mountain railways and from discounts in neighbouring countries such as Germany and Austria. Several options, including annual, monthly, and daily, are available. A GA also entitles the holder to reductions on car rentals in Switzerland and discounted participation in car sharing schemes.Note: The GA is often referred to as an AG, which refers to the French term abonnement général.
Day passes, one-day travel passes, or 9 o'clock cards enabling unlimited travel on the entire Swiss transport network can be bought from SBB/CFF/FFS or from local communes at varying rates. Communes only have a certain number available each month, so try to contact them early. For those interested in travelling at off-peak times, a limited number of Supersaver discounted tickets are also offered.
Track 7 is a special offer for young people under 25, who hold a Half-Fare pass and are happy to travel at night. Travel in 2nd class is free from 7pm to 5am throughout the entire SBB/CFF/FFS public transport system.