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Europe Trains Guide Forum  |  General discussion  |  Train fares and tariffs  |  Understanding "international TCV tariff tickets"
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Author Topic: Understanding "international TCV tariff tickets"  (Read 12727 times)
mevl
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« on: September 29, 2010, 02:23:50 am »

I need help understanding how "international TCV tariff tickets" work. When I read the tips it says that you have to start your journey in an Eastern European Country, yet this example is given ( on http://europetrainsguide.com/Countries/Switzerland/Switzerland-SBB/CFF/FFS/VFS.html): St.Gallen-Zurich-Lucerne-Interlken-Berne-Lausanne-Geneva ticket valid for two month with unlimited stopovers on the route costs only 63.2 euro (with standard TCV tariff price)

I checked and St. Gallen is in Switzerland, so how does this work?  Will this trick help me with my itinerary?

I've spent weeks trying to find a reasonable price for Lauterbrunnen to Milan (actually Vernazza) leaving early on Oct. 23.  I'm wondering if I should I wait until Oct. 10 to book a possible SuperSaver ticket?  Should I use Switzerland or Italy's train websites to book, or won't it make any difference?

I booked Eindhoven to Lauterbrunnen for two and paid over $250Cdn on Bahn.  I'm starting to think two -five day Flex pass for $800, or skipping the trains altogether and flying to Italy would have been a smarter move.

Thanks for letting me ask all these questions.
Marian
Agassiz BC Canada

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tUt
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« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2010, 10:06:19 pm »

So... there are two types of tariffs for trains in Europe, one is domestic (each country/railway company sets their own tariff) and international (this one is used for standard international travel and for purchasing tickets not in the country where you plan to use it, like buying Budapest-Vienna ticket in Berlin etc.). TCV tariff or as its now also called - SCIC-NRT is one of the international tariffs.
Generally domestic tariffs is almost always cheaper, than international, but in some cases it is not like this. So it makes sense to purchase international ticket for domestic/within country use instead. But such "trick" is only useful only if you intend to make multiple stops on your way (in your case in Visp, Brig, Domodossola etc.). Is it your intention?

If you need only to travel from Lauterbrunnen to Vernazza in a cheapest way, then it's better to follow other option: SBB (Swiss railways) sells special discounted tickets for travels from Switzerland to Italy, but those aren't sold from any station. Closest to Lauterbrunnen station from where you can buy such discounted ticket is Spiez (only 20 minutes from Interlaken). As of now Spiez-Milan discounted tickets for October 23 are sold for as low as 30 CHF (32 CAD). Can buy those here - https://www.sbb.ch/mct/wi/shop/b2c/pipSchritt_0.do Lauterbrunnen-Spiez one way standard fare is 17.2 CHF (18 CAD). So full route Lauterbrunnen-Milan will cost you only 47.2 CHF or 50 CAD.
Standard fare Lauterbrunnen-Milan is 98 CHF, that is the price you'll pay if you purchase your ticket at the Lauterbrunnen train station. As you can see, it really makes sense to purchase discounted ticket from Spiez online in advance + standard till Spiez, in such way you'll save app.50%

For Milan-Vernazza part it's much better to purchase domestic Italian ticket instead of international one, since Italian domestic tariff is rather cheap. Standard fare starts from 12.7 euro (18 CAD), most expensive option involving faster InterCity train cost 22.3 EUR (31 CAD)

Resume: you can make whole Lauterbrunnen-Vernazza trip for as low 68 CAD, which is quite good price for such route.

p.s. feel free to ask additional questions in case you having troubles with any of the above info  ;)

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mevl
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« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2010, 11:19:51 pm »

Wow.  Thanks for your help tUt.  Yes, we can't stop but must travel to Vernazza in one day.  I asked SBB for a quote and this is what they offered: Tickets:
1 person without reduction:
CHF 110.00 / Lauterbrunnen - Domodossola
CHF  44.00 / Domodossola - Milano Centrale

That's $300 for 2 people and only to Milan!  I do think SBB could improve their website and have a page showing the sale prices and when they are available.

I thought I'd share this website with you in case you've never heard of it: http://www.viarail.ca/en/deals/from-vancouver
If you book less than 2 weeks ahead, you can almost always take the train right across Canada for under $200 Cdn (140E) one way.  I expect Europeans will find it very slow... it takes more than 3 days and nights!  It is a nice way to see Canada though.

I'll book those tickets now.  Thanks again tUt.

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tUt
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2010, 11:44:32 pm »

I asked SBB for a quote and this is what they offered: Tickets:
1 person without reduction:
CHF 110.00 / Lauterbrunnen - Domodossola
CHF  44.00 / Domodossola - Milano Centrale
That's standard fare, so obviously it would be much more expensive than discounted one. But anyway, kind of strange...why SBB quoted fares for two tickets instead of one direct  ??? This "break" via Domodossola makes it even more expensive...

p.s. thanks for the website link, maybe one day we will expand and add pages about Canada as well
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mevl
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2010, 11:46:22 pm »

Oh no.  The 30E tickets are not at the right time.  I need to leave early on the 8.05 EC51.  Even though it says the price is 61E each, when I try to buy them it ups the price to 81E each.  Is that because we don't have a 1/2 price card?
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tUt
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« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2010, 12:01:51 am »

The 30E tickets are not at the right time.
Well, that happens with discounted tickets, they are in limited number, so sometimes they already sold out for the train you want...
Even though it says the price is 61E each, when I try to buy them it ups the price to 81E each.  Is that because we don't have a 1/2 price card?
Yes.

p.s. Just rechecked, there are still 47 CHF tickets left from Visp (next station towards Italy after Spiez), thus you might go with combination Lauterbrunnen-Visp + Visp-Milano discounted, that might be an option since SBB promised to reintroduce SuperSaver tickets from mid-October again, thus you can expect cheap ticket Lauterbrunnen/Interlaken-Visp (maybe 20 CHF or even cheaper). Even if you won't be able to buy SuperSaver Lauterbrunnen-Visp full fare is 48 CHF.
Other option is to hunt for Click&Rail, but now Click&Rail page on SBB wesbite is down, so can't really tell more about this option for you. No Click&Rail for Italy anymore, so it's not an option at all afterwords
« Last Edit: September 30, 2010, 12:07:13 am by tUt » Logged
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mevl
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« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2010, 12:21:49 am »

Yes, I see them.  It looks like the regular price?  I'm starting to figure this all out - following the train down and seeing the costs from the different stations.  :)

Now I'll have to be brave and hit the Trenitalia website :)
Thanks again for your help. 
Marian
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tUt
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« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2010, 12:42:51 am »

Yes, I see them.  It looks like the regular price?
Yes, so all the hopes to save is for SuperSaver till Visp or even Brig, so you will use international ticket for the shortest leg possible, while discounted SuperSaver for as longest leg possible.

Found another option: different route to Milano lies not far from Luzern (to be precise - Arth-Goldau). From there you can still buy for 45 CHF tickets for morning trains to Milan or same offer but from TrenItalia for 29 euro (http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=c79686605528a110VgnVCM1000003f16f90aRCRD, need to choose SMART 2 price from selection of tariffs, SMART 1 tickets for 19 euro are already sold out), the only minus here is that Lauterbrunnen-Arth-Goldau cost from 55 CHF to 68 CHF depending on route, so once again - all the hopes for SuperSaver ticket.
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