Thinking of a trip to Vienna?
Well, let me teach you how to use the amazing public transport.
What it’s made of.
The transport system is a combination of buses, trains and trams. Yep, trams. Vienna has an extensive tram network that is actually used to take people from one place to another, and not to slowly list around the city like a sad old man collecting tourists like stamps.
Who uses it.
I don’t know… people? All people?
Cars are expensive.
Where to get tickets.
At any train station and major bus/tram stations. There are little red ticket machines that you can use and even have an English setting for us foreigners who’s German is haphazard at the best of times.
When to get tickets.
You can buy single tickets to wherever it is you are going, 24/48/72 hr passes, weekly passes and monthly passes (although you need to go to a ticket office for those). If you are going to do more than 4 trips in a day (including station transfers) then it is cheaper just to buy the 24hr pass. If you’re here for a week and will spend an inordinate amount of time getting from site to site, I recommend buying the weekly pass.
Walking is good and all, and centre Vienna is pretty small, but if you have a pass you can just jump on the nearest bus to the next stop if your feet are tired. Just make sure it’s going the right way first.
How to use it.
The tickets are for the whole public transport system – there aren’t seperate tickets for the buses, trains or trams. It’s all one beautiful cohesive universe.
It gets different when you want to get out of the city. Quick reminder – Vienna is a city in Austria. Austria is not one big city. I know it gets confusing in Europe, but you’ll get the hang of it.
If you’ve bought a ticket for a single trip, you’ll need to validate it on one of the little validating machines. Just punch it in like a timecard. It’ll make a stamp noise and you’ll know it’s good. If you have a pass, you won’t need to validate.
Then you just find your train/bus/whatever and… well… get on it.
It’s a bit of a trust system. Keep hold of your ticket until you get off as you might be checked at the next station. I hear it’s a pretty hefty fine if you don’t have your ticket.
Otherwise, yeah, it’s really straightforward.
The only downside is that (at least to our knowledge) there isn’t an app to do all this with. Still a bit archaic with the paper tickets. But otherwise it’s pretty close to perfect.
If you are a bit lost for what train to take, there are train maps all over the place. Each track has a corresponding number and colour – for example, our mainstayer is the Red U1. You can also see where the tracks cross over and where the main stations are.
Why use it.
There are a few other discount cards that grant you access to the public transport system, namely the Vienna Pass and the Vienna City Card. These cards also grant you free or discounted access to major attractions.
The weekly pass for the public transport costs €17.10 (as at 11 May 2018). The Vienna Pass costs €154 and grants you free entry into loads of museums and attractions and includes a ride on the hop-on-hop-off bus. The Vienna City Card costs €29 for a 72 hour pass and grants you discounts to about 60 different attractions, bars, cafes etc.
Therefore, if you are considering one of these cards, I recommend doing your research as to what attractions you want to go to and when before purchasing one as it is certainly not worthwhile for the transport alone.