How to buy a ticket from an SBB ticket machine – step by step

Have you ever found yourself standing in front of a ticket machine and decided that flying an airplane would be easier?

I have. And it wasn’t pretty. 

I’ve also witnessed my share of confused travellers who’d just arrived at Zurich Airport and tried to buy their ticket. That wasn’t necessarily pretty, either.

To spare you that same dilemma when you’re in Switzerland, I've put together a quick step-by-step guide on how you can buy your Long Distance Ticket without any sweat and tears.

How to buy a ticket in Switzerland

1. Find a ticket machine that looks something like this.

How to buy a ticket in Switzerland

2. Tap anywhere on the screen to wake the system.

Tap anywhere on the screen to wake the system.

3. Pick your preferred language.

How to buy a ticket in Switzerland

4. If your destination isn’t listed on the left, select "Alternative Connections".

How to buy a ticket in Switzerland

5. Enter your destination. Technically, you could change your departure point as well if you’re not leaving from the station you’re buying the ticket from.

How to buy a ticket in Switzerland

6. Start typing your destination until it shows up on the list.

How to buy a ticket in Switzerland

7. I recommend selecting the direct route here.

How to buy a ticket in Switzerland

8. Choose one-way or return.

How to buy a ticket in Switzerland

9. Choose first or second class.

How to buy a ticket in Switzerland

10. If you have a Half Fare Card, which costs 120 CHF and is valid for a month, you can buy a cheaper ticket. Without the Half Fare Card, you’ll pay the full price.

How to buy a ticket in Switzerland

11. Choose the date on which you wish to travel. 

How to buy a ticket in Switzerland

12. Double-check if everything was processed correctly. If you’re happy with the result, pay either by card or cash.

As you can see, using a ticket machine takes quite a few steps. Fortunately, it's quite intuitive and if you know what you want, you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.

However, those machines can do so much more than just sell normal tickets. But for more complicated journeys, like a roundtrip via different cities over the course of several days, I recommend you find a counter instead and skip the machines.

Oh. And don't forget to check out this post for more information about Swiss public transport. 🙂  

Bon voyage.

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