In January, Vilay and I purchased two demi-tarif (Half-fare) cards for the Swiss train lines. Each time we buy a train, bus or boat ticket we only pay half the price with our cards. It is also good for discounts on other things like the funicular lines, car rentals and more.
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Our three youngest children travel with an adult that holds a ticket for free in Switzerland until they are six years old. We will buy a Junior Card for my oldest before she comes. With this card she can travel for free with an adult that holds a ticket and get in free or at discounted prices to various attractions. The card is twenty Swiss francs per year which is super cheap. In plus, you only need to buy two children Junior cards and the other kids cards are free as long as you buy them all at once.
This is why we are going to buy my five year daughter’s Junior card at the same time we buy my twelve year old daughter’s card even if Sweet Bear doesn’t turn six until October. Next year, we will get my youngest daughter’s Junior card at the same time we renew the other two cards (even if she turns six only in November) and we will not have to pay for the third card. Then, two years later when my son will be six, we will get all four children their cards at the same time only paying for the first two.
We planned it out that even if we are buying cards when the children don’t technically need them in the end it will be the best way to make sure all the cards are bought at the same time and we only have to pay for the first two.
When my oldest turns sixteen we will buy her a half price card that is a little cheaper than an adults. After that I believe she will have to have a full price Half-fare card.
Since the public transportation system in Switzerland is not expensive and very efficient, we have made a decision to not buy a car for at least three years or longer.
Gas is outrageously expensive and will continue to go up in cost. Vilay’s co-workers are spending five to six hundred Swiss francs a month on gas alone. Ad a car payment and car insurance on top of that and you are looking at over one thousand Swiss francs a month not including any service (replacement of parts, oil change, etc.) needs.
We have never spent more than three hundred a month for train tickets.
Sure it is a pain when we have to find a way to pick up my oldest daughter in Zurich since her father in America will only send her there. The earliest a train leaves our village is at six thirty in the morning which makes it impossible to get to Zurich in time to pick her up or take her back by train. So, we find other solutions. My Inlaws are wonderful and are helping us pick up my daughter when she comes. We will most likely rent a car and her Papa (my husband) will take her back to Zurich alone or we will all take the train and spend a night in Zurich.
If my children or one of us happen to need to go to the hospital is another big issue. How do we get there during the night when no trains run? My neighbor took me to the hospital once when my son was sick. However, I could have waited to take him the next day. We haven’t had any real emergencies since moving here. But, that doesn’t mean we won’t at some point. I know that we can call an ambulance or ask a neighbor but it still doesn’t sit well with us. We want to make sure we can get to a hospital as quickly as possible.
This is the only reason we may break our decision to not buy a car and buy a small one. Yet, after thinking about it we decided that rather than buying a car moving to a city that has a hospital would make more sense. Then, we could continue to save money and not have to depend on a car. I love taking the train and in no way feel like I am suffering without a car. Actually, I think that the train is more relaxing.
Countries around the world should look to Switzerland as an example of getting public transportation right. With the rising cost of gas I think that more countries are going to make public transportation a priority.
In Switzerland, public transportation is easy, comfortable and affordable even if you have a large family. We will continue to take the train even when we have a car. The car will be used only when the train doesn’t make sense which I don’t see happening all that often.
Besides, on the train you can sit back and enjoy the view.
The photo above was taken in La Chaux-de-fonds where the train passes right through the city streets like a tram to reach the train station.
The photo of the cows enjoying their view wasn’t taken from a train but I think it nicely represents my point. :)
The pictures I did find that I had taken from the train were of snow.
I don’t want to even think about snow.
Right now, I want to cherish the sunshine on my face.
I have until November to worry about snow and then it will last until at least April or May!
Needless to say, I am enjoying my sun while it lasts.