Easy Rider

With the Swiss Pass, getting around Switzerland is a breeze

By: By Skye Mayring


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 Read reports of the Switzerland Travel Mart and the Germany Travel Mart.


Whether clients savor a three-course meal in the dining car of the Glacier Express or take in the pristine Swiss air while onboard a lake steamer, Switzerland’s public transportation system is an experience in itself. And, thanks to the fully commissionable Swiss Pass, it has never been easier for clients to navigate Switzerland’s robust network of more than 12,000 miles of bus, train, boat and cableway routes.

 Part of the Bernina Express railway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  // © 2009 Swiss Travel System
“Many Americans are unaware of the quality and affordability of the public transportation network in Switzerland,” said Andreas Nef, market manager of the Swiss Travel System. “The idea behind the Swiss Pass is to give visitors from abroad easy but comprehensive access to the world’s densest public transport system.”

Clients won’t have to search for ticket booths, wait in lines or exchange currency in order to get around the Alpine country.  With the Swiss Pass, they pay a flat rate to travel anywhere within Switzerland by public boat, bus, train or scenic train (such as the Bernina Express or Wilhelm Tell Express) and receive a 50 percent discount on most mountain railways and cableways.

“Every scenic route has its own charm — from lakes to farmhouses to glaciers. And a good thing about these routes is that they are all part of the network, which means you can take a completely different line for the
return trip,” explained Nef.

Clients can take the faster inter-city train from Zurich to Montreux, for instance, and return on the GoldenPass Line, winds through vineyards and villages before reaching the airport in Zurich.

Travel dates for the Swiss Pass range from four days to one month, and prices begin at $226. Free admission to more than 400 of Switzerland’s museums and medieval castles is also included in the price.

Agents can lock in commission — which varies and is based on individual revenue — by booking on Rail Europe’s agent Web site, Agent.RailEurope.com. Rail Europe also offers a convenient service to Swiss Pass holders: For about $20 more, its Fly Rail Baggage service allows clients to check in baggage at any North American airport, fly to Switzerland and hop on the train without having to deal with their luggage (customs forms are submitted in advance). When clients reach their final stop, their baggage will be ready for collection.