Six fun facts about public transport in Vienna
Vienna’s public transport system may not sound like the most riveting of topics but anyone who has spent time in other European capitals will agree the city does transport rather well.
One Viennese woman missed the city's transport so much, she even wrote a love letter to Vienna public transport authority Wiener Linien.
The Local Austria has compiled its own list of fun - although perhaps useless - facts about Vienna transport. The next time you find yourself sitting next to a stranger on a tram, why not break with taboo and impress them with your Wiener Linien knowledge?
It’s pretty big
With 172 kilometres of tram lines, the city’s tram network is the seventh largest in the world. In total Wiener Linien vehicles - trams, buses and u-bahn trains - cover 208,00 kilometres per day, which equates to 76 million kilometres per year. Considering Vienna is only the 48th most populated capital city in the world, that’s pretty impressive coverage.
An excuse to party
The Viennese love their transport so much, the opening of a new escalator is reason enough to hold a party. When Wiener Linien announced that the refurbished escalator in the city’s Schottentor station would be reopened in December 2015, 14,000 enthusiasts signed up to attend the ironic event ‘Big Opening Rolltreppe [escalator] Schottentor’. Hundreds of people turned up on the day to witness the official cutting of the Wiener Linien ribbon and then ride the new escalator. But - to steal a joke from the organisers - the party escalated quickly, leading to the station having to be shut and police being called out to calm the crowd.
While we're on escalators, Vienna has pretty speedy ones. In fact, the escalators on Vienna’s underground network are some of the fastest in Europe, running at an impressive 2.34 km/h. Only Prague’s are faster - 3.24 km/h according to Heute - while Germany’s U-bahns run at a comparatively slow 1.8 km/h.
Most honest drivers
Vienna has a good claim on having the most honest public transport drivers. In 2012 bus driver Wolfgang Ruthner found €480,000 in a bag left behind by a passenger and handed the whole lot to police, who were able to track down the cash’s elderly owner, although why she was carrying such an amount remains a mystery. Just last year tram driver Roland Fischer found a purse containing €12,000 and handed that in too. The transport service tracked down the relieved owner, who had been on her way to buy a car when she lost her purse.
Most beautiful stations
More opinion than ‘fact’, but some of Vienna’s stations are as much architectural wonders as transport stops. Many were designed by Austria’s esteemed architect Otto Wagner around 1900 with the founding of the city’s first train network. A leader of the Art Nouveau movement, Wagner designed the stations in his classic Jugendstil style. When the city’s rail network was upgraded to the U-Bahn in 1960s and 70s, these stations were carefully restored and Wagner’s designs were preserved.
The Viennese are very proud of the fact that it’s possible to travel around their city on just €1 a day. Visitors beware, however, as the €1 a day just applies to people who have bought the annual travel pass (€365) and actually a 72 hour travel pass is about €12. The great thing is though, once you have validated a ticket you probably won’t need to get it out again. Although there are sporadic ticket inspections for the most part the transport authorities trust passengers to buy a ticket and most people do.