Climate ticket in Austria: One year through the republic for 1095 euros

Status: 10/26/2021 8:11 a.m.

As of today, a new, inexpensive annual network card for buses and trains is valid for all of Austria. The climate ticket makes it easier for commuters to say goodbye to their cars, while experts fear an investment jam.

By Nikolaus Neumaier, ARD Studio Vienna

The start of the new climate ticket was deliberately scheduled for today’s national holiday. With it, the ecological traffic turnaround should take a big step forward. The ticket has been advertised for weeks – also with an early bird discount, with which the annual ticket for all of Austria could be ordered at a price of 949 euros. According to the Austrian media, 70,000 tickets have already been sold.

Nikolaus Neumaier
ARD studio Vienna

As of today, it costs 1095 euros. There are also cheaper regional tickets that are only valid between two or three federal states. Environment and Transport Minister Leonore Gewessler from the Greens is already speaking of a success. According to the minister, many people wanted to be “climate-friendly on the road”. The minister’s self-imposed goal is 100,000 climate ticket holders in one year.

Commuters have to calculate precisely

The Austrian federal government and the provincial governments of the federal states want to promote the switch from cars to public transport. Savings for the individual should provide an incentive for this. But how high these are often still depends on where you live and the distance traveled.

The showcase ticket is valid for all of Austria: For trips from Vienna to Bregenz, from Innsbruck to Linz or from Feldkirch to Graz, as often as you want. In the case of shorter distances, e.g. between two federal states, you have to calculate exactly whether the Austria-wide annual ticket is actually worthwhile.

Plans have been partially implemented

Price examples are circulating in Austria for orientation: For commuters who drive almost 80 kilometers from Krems in Lower Austria to the federal capital Vienna, buying a new annual regional ticket for the three federal states of Lower Austria, Burgenland and Vienna pays off. Instead of 1837 euros, they only have to pay 915 euros. On the other hand, those who live in poorly developed regions should carefully consider switching to the train. For some, the climate ticket will be a more attractive offer than only regionally valid season tickets. Vienna remains unrivaled cheap. In the capital, the annual ticket costs just 365 euros a year, as before.

In Austria, enthusiasm for the ticket is still limited. Critics complain that only a part of the previous plans was implemented. In fact, Minister Gewessler wanted a so-called 1-2-3 ticket: In other words, an inexpensive regional ticket for one federal state, a slightly more expensive ticket for two federal states and then the ticket for the entire Republic of Austria. She couldn’t get that through.

Success of the Greens

Experts like Sebastian Kummer from the Vienna University of Economics and Business also doubt whether the hoped-for ecological benefit will materialize. His fear is that the further expansion of the bus and train system in the federal states could stall because too much money is being used as a subsidy for the climate ticket.

Politically, the climate ticket is recorded as a success for the Greens. You had advertised with the promise in the election campaign. In the recent government crisis, which led to Sebastian Kurz’s resignation as Chancellor, the Greens emphasized with reference to the climate ticket that they absolutely want to continue the coalition with the ÖVP.

Compared to Germany, the new Austrian annual pass is very inexpensive. Deutsche Bahn requires more than 4000 euros for its “Bahncard 100”. In Switzerland, the general subscription costs around 3,000 euros. However: Germany is significantly larger than Austria and therefore also has a significantly larger rail network. The public transport network in little Switzerland is much better developed than in Austria.

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