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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

The smartphone apps that make living in Austria easier

It’s well known that we all spend too much time on our phones, but there are some useful apps that make living in Austria easier.

The smartphone apps that make living in Austria easier
Some mobile phone apps make living in Austria easier. Photo by Cottonbro on Pexels.

For anyone with a smartphone, using an app is a part of daily life, whether it’s for transport, banking, essential admin or social media.

There are some apps that are more useful than others though – especially when it comes to living in Austria.

Here are the top apps that every international resident in Austria should have on their phones.

WienMobil

This is the official app of the Wiener Linien – Vienna’s public transport operator – making it an essential tool for anyone living in the capital city or the surrounding area.

The WienMobil app covers all forms of transport in the city, from trains to buses and ride sharing vehicles, and shows all the different forms of transport available for a selected route.

FOR MEMBERS: Ten destinations by direct night train from Austria

Tickets can even be purchased and stored in the app, which means users don’t have to carry a physical ticket when they are going about their daily lives.

WienMobil’s transport partners include Citybike Wien, Europcar, Taxi 31300 and Westbahn.

ÖBB

ÖBB is Austria’s national rail operator and the ÖBB app is useful for anyone that regularly travels by train in Austria – or for anyone visiting the country.

Users can purchase tickets within the app and receive notifications about delays or changes to a service, as well as view information about platforms at specific train stations. 

City, weekly and monthly tickets can also be purchased in the ÖBB app.

Handy-Signatur

Before the pandemic, the Handy-Signatur was a little known app that most people didn’t understand, let alone use.

Then the Covid-19 Green Pass was rolled out, along with many other digital services, and the Handy-Signatur suddenly became an essential app.

But what is it exactly?

The Handy-Signatur is essentially a mobile phone (known as a Handy, in German) signature which turns your phone into a virtual ID card. It allows you to legally sign official documents without having to print them out and sign them by hand.

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s Handy-Signatur and how does it work?

There is just one prerequisite for the Handy-Signatur – you need an Austrian or German mobile phone number to use it.

Also, it can be tricky to set up the Handy-Signatur as it requires registering at a registration authority, or at FinanzOnline – Austria’s online portal for the tax office. But once you’re in, it’s a practical tool to have.

However, it’s worth noting that the Handy-Signatur will become known as ID Austria in the future and all signatures will be automatically switched over to the new app.

Green Pass

The Green Pass, or Grüner Pass, is the nationwide app that is used to show proof of 3G (vaccination, recovery or a negative test for Covid-19 ).

Since 3G rules were introduced in Austria in spring 2021, the Green Pass has become an essential part of going to cafes, restaurants and events, and an easy way to show compliance with the rules.

READ MORE: Austria’s Green Pass: What counts as proof of 2G?

The app works by scanning in an official government certificate of vaccination, recovery or negative test. The app then displays a barcode that can be scanned by personnel at 3G or 2G venues and locations, as well as the expiry date of the certificate.

Additionally, the Green Pass is used at airports, at ski resorts when purchasing tickets and is recognised across the EU.

At the time of writing, there was no indication of when the 3G rules would be phased out, so The Local expects the Green Pass to be in use for the foreseeable future.

ÖAMTC

The Austrian Automobile, Motorcycle and Touring Club (ÖAMTC) recently announced that the average price of diesel in Austria hit an all time high of €1.477 per litre.

And prices are set to rise even more in the coming months with the introduction of Austria’s carbon levy of €30 per tonne of fuel from July 2022.

FOR MEMBERS: How to save money on fuel costs in Austria

So what can people do to protect their bank balance from the increased cost of fuel? Use the ÖAMTC app to find the cheapest deals in your area.

In the ÖAMTC app, users can search by petrol or diesel (depending on their vehicle) to view details of current prices at petrol stations in the selected area. For example, type in an address in Vienna and it will display all nearby fuel prices on a map or as a list. 

In these high cost of living times, every little bit helps – even if it’s just saving a few cents on a litre of fuel.

Der Die Das

For anyone learning German and struggling with the articles der, die and das, help is at hand with the Der Die Das app.

Type any German word into the search function and it will bring up the correct definite article, as well as for any alternative forms of the word. It also has a useful explainer about some exceptions to the use of articles.

Even better, it’s free to use. Simply download and start impressing your German-speaking friends with your new-found Deutsch skills.

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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Vienna legally

Got an unwanted mattress, fridge, or sofa? Here’s how you can legally get it off your hands in Vienna.

How to dispose of unwanted furniture or whitegoods in Vienna legally

If you find yourself with a large piece of furniture or big household appliance that has seen its prime and is not bound to the trashcan, then you might be wondering where to dispose of them – legally, that is.

Even if it is not uncommon to see furniture or appliances next to the big trashcans often placed near households and apartment complexes, it is illegal to leave them there.

Different cities have different methods – some will even pick up trash at specific times and places. To know how your city deals with bulky waste (Sperrmüll), you can google “Sperrmüll + the name of your city”.

READ ALSO: Why does Vienna’s waste department have a helicopter and a military plane?

Vienna has several waste collection points where you can leave bulky waste, electrical appliances, hazardous waste (in household quantities) and other old goods for no charge.

The use of the Wiener Mistplätze is subject to certain quantity limits and requirements, but they are to avoid industrial use. Therefore, most households will have no problem with the limitations.

Here you can find several collection points in Vienna.

It is worth pointing out that delivery to those sites can only be made by cars with Viennese license plates, on foot or by bicycle. Furthermore, no trailers or company cars are allowed to leave trash at these collection points.

What can you bring to the collection centres?

This is the place to bring large sheets of plastic foil, bulky or large metal parts and electrical appliances, for example.

Additionally, you can bring small amounts of bulky waste, wood, styrofoam, large cardboard boxes, green waste and used tires to any waste collection centres.

Depending on what you are disposing of, you might need to go to the Rinter centre, one of the larger ones.

READ ALSO: Hasta la mista, baby? How to vote for your favourite Vienna trash can joke

The centres also have a separate division where it is possible to donate old items still in good condition, the so-called 48er-Tandler-Box.

Tableware, small furniture, electrical appliances, clothes, toys and other items can be reused and bought at a low price at the 48er-Tandler reuse shop.

Most centres are open only from Monday to Friday during business hours, but others are also available on Saturdays.

What to do if I don’t have a car?

If you don’t need a car but still need to dispose of a large appliance, the Viennese solution varies.

Some will take public transport with a couple of friends trying to help them carry an old sofa via the u-bahn, although that can get a little tough at peak hour. 

Alternatively, you can borrow or rent a vehicle to try and save costs.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

But Vienna City also has a service that will pick up the trash for a low fee – even if it is located in the attic, a basement or a courtyard.

It’s the Entrümpelungsdienst und Sperrmüllabfuhr der MA 48. You can also ask for the “dump service” when the city of Vienna brings a trough (the smallest can fit 12 cubic meters).

Once you fill it up, they will remove it and take it to the appropriate place.

Costs will depend on the amount of trash, the size of the appliance, and where in the household it is located.

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