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1-2-3 Ticket: Everything you need to know about Austria’s nationwide rail pass

Known as the 1-2-3 Ticket, Austria's nationwide public transport pass just got one step closer to reality. Here's what you need to know.

1-2-3 Ticket: Everything you need to know about Austria's nationwide rail pass
Photo: DPA

Following the success of Vienna’s 365 ticket, in which residents of Austria’s capital city pay just €1 a day to use public transport, the Austrian government has flagged a similar scheme for nationwide travel. 

The government is hoping approve an annual ticket allowing unlimited travel on public transport all across the alpine state for €1,095 by the end of 2021.

The idea behind the 1-2-3 ticket is that eventually Austrian residents can choose to pay one euro per day for unlimited public transport in their own state, two euros per day for travel in two neighbouring states or three euros per day to travel throughout Austria. 

365 Ticket: Everything you need to know about Vienna’s cheap annual metro pass 

Plans for the Austria-wide ticket, also known as the ”climate ticket”, took a step forward on Friday, January 22nd, when Green party transport minister Leonore Gewessler announced Tyrol and Vorarlberg had signed a contract to go forward with the plans.

Salzburg also signed a similar contract last year.

Gewessler now says she hopes to approve the new ticket by the end of the year, with around 150 meetings being held in a bid to get all states signed up to the plan. 

When will the ticket be introduced?

The government plans to introduce the Austria-wide ticket first, and the federal tickets later. 

Once it is in place, passengers with existing season tickets should be able to exchange them for the 1-2-3 ticket, though those who wish to continue using their existing ticket may also do so. 

It is believed the Austria-wide ticket will be processed by ÖBB, Austria’s state railway company.

In rolling out the tickets at federal level, other transport organisations are involved.

The Kronen Zeitung reported earlier in January the Eastern Region Transport Association (VOR comprising Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland), wants all three options of the ticket to be introduced alongside the national ticket, saying this is the option preferred by passengers. 

Concerns were also raised last year by Upper Austria and Styria about overcrowding trains and buses.

Peter Gspaltl, head of the Styrian Transport Association, said the reforms to pricing needed to be accompanied by investment in expanding existing infrastructure.

He also said passengers wanted all three tickets to be introduced at the same time.

The Mayor of Linz, Klaus Luger, also voiced objections to the scheme in December, saying from a legal standpoint the plans went against the Austrian constitution.

He also said tariffs for local and regional transport should not be set by the federal government. However, Gewessler said on Friday that this report was already out of date.

 

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PUBLIC TRANSPORT

1-2-3 Ticket: Austria’s nationwide unlimited rail pass available from October

After several years of waiting, Austria's nationwide unlimited rail pass - now renamed the Klimaticket (climate ticket) - will be available from October, although some states have yet to sign up.

1-2-3 Ticket: Austria's nationwide unlimited rail pass available from October
A person boards a subway train in the Austrian city of Vienna. Photo by Samuel-Elias Nadler on Unsplash

Austria’s much awaited ‘1-2-3 Ticket’ – which gives unlimited travel across the entire country – will be valid for travel from Austrian National Day on October 26th onwards.

The idea behind the 1-2-3 ticket is that Austrian residents can choose to pay one euro per day for unlimited public transport in their own state, two euros per day for travel in two neighbouring states or three euros per day to travel throughout Austria. 

The ticket has been renamed the Klimaticket – meaning climate ticket – to highlight the positive environmental outcomes associated with rail travel. 

The ticket has been repeatedly delayed due to disputes over costs and the suitability of particular routes, however these look now to be settled.

The official announcement was made on Wednesday, with Austria’s Kronen Zeitung newspaper saying Austria chipped in an additional 100 million euros to make the project work.

How much will it cost? 

The ticket for the whole of Austria – including all nine states – will cost 1095 euros per year, although it will go on sale for an introductory price of 949 euros annually from October 1st.

Senior citizens and people under the age of 26 will only have to pay 821 euros per year – or 699 euros if they buy the ticket before October 26th. 

For those who want to travel through two states, it will cost 730 euros, while travel through one state will be 365 euros annually.

The 365 euro ticket has been in place for some time in the state of Vienna and has won International acclaim.

READ MORE: What is the 1-2-3-ticket? Everything you need to know about the new ticket planned to give unlimited public transport across Austria

Which types of travel are included – and which states are part of the plan? 

When it is launched, the ticket will be valid for all types of travel in Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Carinthia, Tyrol and Vorarlberg, including buses, trains, long-distance trains (i.e. ÖBB) and trams. 

Three eastern states – Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland – are however still holding out on the project. 

As it stands, ÖBB travel in these states as well as bus travel and S-Bahn services will be included in the ticket, along with travel on services operated by Wiener Linien. 

Other forms of regional and local transport will not be included in these three states. 

Transport Minister Leonore Gewessler said she was confident the other three states would sign up. 

“We’ll make it there as well, I’m certain” she said. 

“You really get a hell of a lot for your money.”

Why are these three states holding out? 

Broadcaster ORF says the fact that no solution has yet been found is also due to the resistance of the federal state of Burgenland.

The complaint relates to the fact that the ticket would dramatically increase the cost of travelling from Burgenland to Vienna, which is a relatively common commuter trip. 

As travelling from Burgenland to Vienna involves crossing Lower Austria, the price of a season ticket from Neudörfl to Vienna, for example, which currently costs 730 euros, would increase to 1,095 euros per year under the new scheme.

An estimated 25,000 people commute regularly from Burgenland to Vienna, based on pre-pandemic numbers

Transport authorities are pushing for Lower Austria and Burgenland to be treated as one state for the purposes of the pass, Der Standard reports, thereby allowing for a reduction in the cost for commuters. 

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