The government wants Austrians to ditch their cars and take to public transport as vehicle emissions remain persistently high.
The Alpine republic’s Klimaticket is the annual public transport pass that allows the user “to use all scheduled services (public and private rail, city and public transport) in a specific area for a year: regional, cross-regional and nationwide,” according to its website.
The cost is supposed to be a big enticement as it works out at roughly only €3-a-day if you are over 21 years old and under 65 years old.
And, the website says, “the KlimaTicket is more than just your ticket for all public transport. It is also the ticket with which we aim to reach the Paris climate goals together”.
But after being available for two years, the takeup remains at less than 3 per cent of Austria’s population, suggesting it has largely failed to reduce car emissions by very much.
When it was first introduced, there was a boom but since then it has stagnated.
The few who do continue to use it find it very helpful, however.
In Vienna, one resident described how it worked for her.
“The climate ticket is a wonderful solution. I travel the Linz-Vienna route very often. And, of course, it’s a great time saver because the train is faster,” Ruperta told Euronews.
A worker living in Hollabrunn and commuting to Vienna also likes it.
“I live in Lower Austria and commute to work only by train, but then I use the ticket in Vienna for other means of transport like bus and tram,” Marc said.
Majority still reliant on cars
But unlike Ruperta or Marc, Christine is in the car-reliant majority, and her views, rather theirs, remain prevalent in Austria.
She decided not to buy the Klimaticket since she could only get to work by car. And when she needs to go by train, she continues to buy tickets individually as she has always done.
“I can’t imagine that we as a family will ever do without a car. I think especially in rural areas, people are going to need a car for a while longer,” Christine explained.
Even though Austrians are the most frequent rail travellers in the EU, some parts of the country are still poorly connected, especially of course in the mountains. But according to one mobility NGO called Verkehrsclub Österreich, the Klimaticket is still a great success.
“Satisfaction surveys have shown that the main reason for buying this Klimaticket is not having to worry about buying tickets anymore, in other words: convenience,” Michael Schwendinger said.
“You have this ticket, you can hop on and just use public transport, and I think that has to be more or less the goal for all transport providers in Europe,” he added.
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