HomeTransportationDiscounts on Swiss public transport with new Halbtax Plus

Discounts on Swiss public transport with new Halbtax Plus

Swiss public transport has a plethora of ways to save on your travel expenses, both for tourists visiting and residents of the country. A few weeks back, a new travel product was introduced by the Swiss Railways: Halbtax Plus. This new saving opportunity is interesting for those living in Switzerland. Are you frequently taking the train, but not quite enough for a GA to make sense (a subscription to get all Swiss public transport for free)? Then, the new Halbtax Plus can be a good alternative.

Halbtax Plusnot replacing Halbtax

Despite its somewhat confusing name, the new Halbtax Plus travel product (Demi-Tariff Plus in French and Metà-prezzo Plus in Italian) does not replace the Halbtax (half fare). Regular Halbtax is a discount pass many Swiss residents have. With this pass, you get 50% off tickets on Swiss public transport. This pass costs CHF 190 a year and CHF 170 for renewing a subscription. It is a great way to lower your costs when using Swiss public transport as a resident.

The new Halbtax Plus system can best be described as a credit system – with bonus top ups depending on how much you deposit into your account. Once you have decided on a Halbtax Plus product, you simply pay the amount by Twint or card and select the Halbtax Plus credits as your payment method in the SBB travel app. Now, any personal tickets you buy in the app (full price tickets, personal day passes, super saver tickets and Easyride journeys) are automatically deducted from your credit. The credit has a validity of 365 days from purchasing.

ProductYou depositYour total credit
Halbtax Plus 1000CHF 800CHF 1000 (CHF 200 bonus)
Halbtax Plus 2000CHF 1500CHF 2000 (CHF 500 bonus)
Halbtax Plus 3000CHF 2100CHF 3000 (CHF 900 bonus)

No financial risk for you

The nice thing about the new Halbtax Plus product is that there is no financial risk for the traveller. If you during the duration of your Halbtax Plus subscription do not use all of the credit you initially deposited, you get the difference refunded from the Swiss Railways. The bonus credit given on top of your own deposit disappears if not used within a year.

This makes the new Halbtax Plus an interesting product for those travelling often, but not often enough for a General- Abonnement (starting at CHF 3995 per year). The downside of course is that you have a larger upfront payment for your yearly travel. This amount will be locked with SBB during that time.

Not quite sure which Halbtax Plus product is right for you?

When the new Halbtax Plus product was announced, it immediately sounded very interesting to me. We travel quite a lot all over Switserland. However, as I both live and work in Lucerne, there was no need for a subscription on all public transport. My regular halbtax already gives me discount, but its never wrong to maximise savings in this expensive country!

However, it was quite hard to determine what the best product was for my personal travel behavior. Luckily, the SBB website could help out here! When logged into your SBB account, you can see all your recent orders over certain time periods. I simply selected ‘the last year’, ticked the ‘select all’ checkbox and clicked the ‘Export PDF’ button. SBB then generates a PDF for you with all public transport orders you have done in the past year. On the far end of the PDF, you find the total amount you have spent on public transport in the selected time period.

Halbtax Plus how much

For me, the total amount spent on public transport during the last 12 months was CHF 1154. This meant that for me, I felt that the Halbtax Plus 1000 product makes most sense. This means I pay CHF 800 into my SBB account, and I get CHF 1000 in credits. These can then be used within a year. That results in an additional 20% discounts on tickets. This comes on top of the 50% that my regular Halbtax pass already gives me!

Full transparency in the SBB app

Once you have charged your account with the Halbtax Plus Product, you can easily change your payment method to the credits you have just loaded. This does not happen automatically! Another nice thing is that the app shows you exactly how much of your credits you have used. It also shows how much is left until you tap into your bonus credits.

Half fare plus in sbb app
Half fare Plus sbb
Change your payment method to the Halbtax Plus credits

All in all, it will be a personal decision if getting the new travel product makes sense for you. If it does make sense, make sure to choose the product that fits your travel habits best.. There are some restrictions in terms of the tickets you can purchase with the Half fare Plus credits. it is therefore advisable to read the official SBB website prior to making a purchase. Personally, I think its a great way to make the expensive public transport in Switzerland more affordable. I am eager to experience travelling with this new product in the coming year.

More information can be found on the official SBB website.

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Originally from the Netherlands, I landed in Luzern, Switzerland in March 2022 after 10 years in Sweden. Now, I aim to explore as much of Switzerland as I can, and share it here!

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