If you plan on using the excellent train network whilst in Switzerland or enjoy a mountain excursion, the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) app is one of the most useful apps to download.
Not only does the SBB app show the timetables for all trains across the network, users can also check details for buses, boats and cable cars, as well as fares.
But it doesn’t stop there. The SBB app also allows users to purchase tickets, save details of their trips and check information about train stations in Switzerland.
Whether you are travelling around Switzerland with a Swiss Travel Pass or are purchasing point-to-point tickets, the SBB app is an essential tool to assist with your planning.
The guide below will help you navigate the SBB app so that you can use it to your best advantage.
Read on to find out how to use the Swiss Railways SBB app.
Create an account
If you plan on purchasing any tickets via the app, it is worth creating an account before you get started. To do this, first click on the three horizontal bars on the top left of your screen. Then, tap on ‘Register’.
The app will open a new webpage (swisspass.ch). You should answer the questions on each page and tap ‘Next’ when completed.
(Note: On the first registration page you will be asked if you hold a public transport travelcard. In the majority of cases, tourists visiting Switzerland will NOT hold a public transport travelcard.)
Using the SBB app
Before you get started
If you have a Swiss Half Fare Card, be sure to add this to your Passenger info following these steps:
Settings → Edit passengers → check the Half-Fare travelcard box, then tap ‘Save’.
To search timetables and fares, tap ‘Standard Timetable’ at the top of your screen.
Tap the word ‘From’ and then type in the name of the town you wish to depart from.
Then, tap the word ‘To’ and type in the name of the town you wish to travel to.
Next, tap the line when the date appears and use the scrolling calendar to select the date you wish to travel and your preferred time of departure. Then tap ‘Done’.
If you want fares to show in your search results, click on the icon next to the clock (three straight lines with a o on them) and check the box next to Show prices in timetable. You can also select the different means of transport (ie train, bus, cableway) that you wish results to be displayed for.) Tap ‘Accept’ to confirm your selection.
A list of services will be displayed showing the departure and arrival time of each service.
Each listing also shows the following information:
- Train number – shown next to the train symbol (eg. IR70)
- How many stops the train makes en route – indicated by a o on the line between departure time and arrival time (eg. 1 stop on the S1 service departing at 09:51)
- The platform from which the train departs – indicated by Pl. with a number next to it (eg. Pl. 6 in the first example above)
- Which classes of travel (ie. 1st class and 2nd class) are available on that service
- The expected popularity of the service – this is shown by the people icons next to each class. The more ‘people’ that are shown are red, the busier the service is expected to be.
- The duration of the journey – shown in minutes
- Starting price of fares (if selected in Settings, as mentioned above)
You can scroll up and down to view all the different services.
To find out more about a particular service, tap on it.
If a service requires a change of train, this will be mentioned in the expanded listing. Details of arrival and departure platform numbers will also be displayed.
By tapping the three red dots on the right of the screen, you can choose to add this trip to your ‘My Trips’ within the app, add it to your calendar or share it.
By tapping the red bar at the bottom of the screen that says ‘Tickets from’, you can view a list of available fares for that service.
Be sure to select either one way or return and 2nd class or 1st class by tapping the black button under the Passenger information.
To purchase a ticket, first you should enter the Passenger information if you have not already created an account.
To do this, tap ‘Edit passengers’ at the top of the screen. Then, tap ‘Enter passenger information’ and enter the First name, Surname and date of birth of the first passenger. If you (or the first passenger) hold a Half-Fare Card, make sure you select the box. Next, tap ‘Save’ to save these details.
Repeat the process for any additional passengers.
Now, select the fare option that you would like to purchase by tapping the circle next to the fare type. (If, in the previous step, you confirmed you hold a Half-Fare Card, the reduced fare will be displayed.) Tap ‘Purchase ticket’.
Another way to search for train services is via the Touch Timetable, the second option shown at the top of the home screen.
When you tap ‘Touch Timetable’, you’ll be shown some popular options. You can also add your own options by tapping the pencil symbol on the bottom right of your screen.
To select a route, drag your finger from your preferred departure station to your preferred arrival station. The next screen opens with your departure and arrival stations already selected and you can then amend the date and time as per the instructions above under ‘Standard Timetable’.
Trips and Tickets
The Trips and Tickets icon records details of your upcoming and past trips.
My Swiss Pass
If you have purchased a Swiss Half-Fare Card, you can store the details of it within the app. This eliminates the need to show a paper version of your Half-Fare Card to the conductor onboard.
To your Swiss Half-Fare Card details, create a SwissPass login (if you haven’t already done so when Creating an account) and then complete the requested information.
By tapping the ‘Stations’ icon, you can search for information about a specific train station. Simply tap ‘Find station’, enter the station you are looking for, wait for it to appear in the dropdown box, then tap the station name.
Results displayed include the opening hours, parking information, a map of the station, information about equipment (such as step-free access to platforms, free WiFi, etc. ) and lockers.
When you have finished searching this page, simply tap ‘Done’ at the top left of your screen to return to the SBB app.
Day Passes Switzerland
In some instances it may be more economical to purchase a Saver Day Pass. A limited number of Saver Day Passes are available when booking in advance 1 to 60 days before the day of travel. Saver Day Passes are valid on all Swiss Railways services.
Purchase instructions are the same as described under ‘Standard Timetable’.
Take Me Home
This feature saves you from entering your ‘home’ station each time you search the timetable. By adding your ‘home’ station to the ‘Take Me Home’ area under ‘Settings’, you can simply tap the Take Me Home icon and the app will show you available services from your current location to your ‘home’ station.
You can quickly access the telephone numbers for Switzerland’s emergency services and the SBB Police by tapping the Emergency Call icon.
Now you are armed and ready to use the SBB app from Swiss Railways. It is an essential tool to help you plan your train travel in Switzerland.
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