HOW TO USE SWISS PASSES

I am confused about the "Swiss Passes."
(1) Do the passes count as ticket or do I still have to purchase a train ticket and the train ticket fare is discounted? How much is the discount?
(2) When traveling with a child, Do I need to buy a child swiss pass also or does the child travel on his parent swiss pass purchased together with a Swiss Family Card? I don't understand why we can buy child swiss passes when you can have a free Swiss Family Card. Could you please clarify?
Thanks in advance!
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  • Jeff (Official Rep) August 01, 2013 16:40
    Hi Catherine,

    Yes, the rail passes are like tickets in that they cover what a ticket would cover. In other parts of Europe, there are high-speed trains that would require reservations in addition to a rail pass; however, that is not the case in Switzerland.

    The vast majority of trains in Switzerland do not even accept reservations. Even if reservations happen to be accepted on a particular train in Switzerland, they are not at all necessary. Therefore, since reservations are not of concern, the rail pass is all you would need to board.

    In Switzerland, only trains designated as specialty scenic trains require reservations. These trains include the Glacier Express, the Golden Pass, the Bernina Express, the Chocolate Train, and the William Tell Express. You can access information for these trains by clicking on their respective links under where it says 'Scenic Trains' after clicking on 'Trains' from the homepage of our website.

    With the Swiss Pass, children under the age of 16 (15 and under) can travel for free. For them to travel free, we would issue the Swiss Family Cards or else you can pick one up at rail stations in Switzerland, where they are widely accessible.

    You would be issued the Swiss Family Cards just by entering the number of children in your party from the drop-down menu under where it says 'Children (15 & under)'. Once you indicate the number of passengers traveling and that there are children, a question would appear that says 'Special prices are offered for 2 or more travelers. Is everyone in your party traveling together at all times?'. If you click 'Yes', then the option for the Swiss Family Card would appear right below it with the question 'Are all of the children in your party always traveling with at least one of their parents or legal guardians?'. Just make sure the box is checked next to this question, and you would be issued a Swiss Family Card with your purchase. Even though you have indicated that there is a child, you will see that you will not be charged anything more than the cost for the adult pass.
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