Vienna has an excellent public-transportation system with reliable, clean and convenient service. Moreover, taking public transportation into and within the city is a lot less stressful than dealing with Vienna’s heavy traffic.
The Viennese public transport system is made up of trains, trams, buses and an S-Bahn and U-Bahn network.
The fastest and easiest way to get around especially in the center, is to use one of the five underground lines. Though the numbers go up from U1 to U6 easily distinguishable by their separate coloration there is currently no U5. This is due to the fact that the U5 has initially been planned, but never been built, though there are plans to realize the U5 within 2020. The underground lines are neatly arranged and a solid way to get around the city without having to care about weather issues or traffic turbulences and cover all important spots in the inner city.
Tram- and Buslines
The Tram- and Buslines take you to any place you cannot reach with the underground lines, but especially in the outer areas it is import to check the last departure times, because the busses might not come in as regularly as in the center of the city.
Underappreciated by most Viennese the Schnellbahnen (suburban trains) are part of the Austrian Railways System (OEBB) and not the Wiener Linien and are the best way to get out of the city and/or to travel large distances, anywhere but in the center of the city. On the first view the “S-Bahn” – net can be a bit confusing, but it works well with the Wiener Linien net and is a viable alternative, within the city as well as in the outer areas. In the inner city area the Wiener Linien – Ticket is admissible in the S-Bahn as well. If you plan a trip to the Weinviertel, the wine regions of Baden in the south or even the Slovakian Capital Bratislava, the OEBB are the best way to get out of the city via public transport. The OEBB offers several services for Weekend Trips. See more at www.oebb.at.
For journeys in direction Salzburg the private railway company Westbahn might be a cheaper alternative to the public OEBB.
There is also a special Railway service to connect the inner City with the Airport at Schwechat. The CAT (City – Airport Train) takes 16 minutes non-stop from the Landstraße (Wien Mitte Station) to the Airport. The Schnellbahn S7 is the economic way of travelling between Vienna city center and the airport: Though it takes 25 minutes, with a 2 zone ticket for 4,10€ it is much cheaper than the 11€ for the CAT.
Public transport by night
On Weekdays after 0:30 am the Wiener Linien offer a Nightline bus service, which covers the most important routes. But be aware that it is possible to take a while, because the nightlines don’t come as frequenty, as during the day time and that it might be necessary to switch between busses, so be aware of your right route and the departure time of the busses.
On Weekends and holidays the underground lines continue their services through the whole night in 15-minute intervals, and are by far the cheapest and best mode of transportation at night and very popular within the partying folk.
Another option to get out of the city is by ship. Between Bratislava and Vienna the Vienna Twin City Liner cruises along the shores of the Danube every half hour.
Fares and Tickets
All public transport in the area around Vienna has joined the fare union Verkehrsverbund Ost-Region (VOR). This means that any ticket bearing the VOR symbol can be used on every means of public transport in the area. You can use the same ticket for a journey that involves trips by bus, tram, metro and/or train, and you can change as often as you have to without having to buy a new ticket.
Tickets are available for various fare zones. If you aren’t leaving Vienna, you need not worry about the zones at all, since all of Vienna is just one zone (zone 100). However, whenever you are crossing a zone boundary (zone boundaries are marked with a Z on the large network map), you have to pay for an additional zone. This may concern tourists in so far as a ride from the airport to the city on the S-Bahn is two zones (see Airport Connections). If you have a valid ticket for zone 100 (e.g. a weekly travel pass or a 24-hour ticket) you only have to pay the extra zones. You never have to pay for more than eight zones, no matter how far you travel.
These tickets are valid on all means of public transport (train, metro, tramway and buses including night buses) in Vienna and the surrounding area with the exception of the City Airport Train and the special airport buses.
Fares quoted below are valid as of January 2018
|Weekly travel pass||€17.10|
|Monthly travel pass||€51.00|
|Annual travel pass||€365.00|
If you are a student and under 26 years old, you can purchase the Semester Ticket for 75 euros, which is valid for 5 months. It is very important though that your main residence is registered in Vienna. This means that when you fill out the form for a Meldezettel, you register the address in Vienna as your “Hauptwohnsitz”. If you register your Vienna address as “Nebenwohnsitz” (secondary address), the Semester Ticket will cost you 150 euros.
Free travel for children
Children up to the age of six travel free of charge on the Vienna public transport network. Children up to the age of 15 travel free on Sundays and public holidays and during the school holidays in Vienna (this includes the week before Easter, July 6th through August 31st, and Dec 23rd through Jan 6th). An ID card may be helpful to prove a child’s age.
Yes, it is possible. No, it’s not advisable. Plain clothes ticket inspectors patrol the public transport network at all times. If you are caught without a valid ticket, you have to pay a penalty fare of €105 (this includes a free trip to the nearest police station if you are unable to show the ticket inspector a valid passport or official ID). Bear in mind that a monthly travel pass is available for less money.
Where to buy tickets
Tickets can be bought from:
- Ticket machines at metro stations. There is at least one at every entrance to the station. These very sophisticated (and slightly confusing) machines offer a great variety of tickets, including travel passes. They accept all coins and €10 notes and give change.
- Ticket machines in trams and buses. Avoid these! They offer only single tickets
- WL ticket offices. Look for the sign ‘Vorverkauf’ (‘advance tickets’). They can be found at all major metro stations and some tram stations. They are marked with a K on the city transport map.
- Railway stations. In the two main railway stations in Vienna (Südbahnhof and Westbahnhof), you’ll only get them from ticket machines and not from any of the counters.
- Most tobacconists (‘Tabak Trafik’). However, not all of them sell tickets. Those who do usually have a blue sign with the WL logo (see above) at the door.
How to validate your ticket
Tickets must be validated before boarding. To validate your ticket stamp the ticket at the blue machines located at the entrance of underground stations as well as on buses and trams. Tickets bought directly from the tram or bus driver are automatically validated and need not be stamped again.
Info Source: Horst Prillinger .