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The essential rules you need to know for using Vienna's U-Bahn

Julia Hjelm Jakobsson
Julia Hjelm Jakobsson - [email protected]
The essential rules you need to know for using Vienna's U-Bahn
What are the rules of riding the Vienna U-Bahn system? Photo by Taras Kasich on Unsplash

When using the U-Bahn subway system in Vienna, you should keep certain things in mind if you want to avoid paying fines or having Viennese locals rolling their eyes at you.


Vienna is famous for having one of the most efficient subway networks in the world.

On top of that, it is one of the cheapest, and for only €365, you can get an annual ticket for the whole network.

Furthermore, getting around the city with public transport is easy and something enjoyed by many, but there are certain things you need to know in order to follow the rules.

Some rules for traveling within the subway system are unwritten, while others are written and listed on the website of Wiener Linien, the state's public transport company.

Here we list some of the most important unwritten and written rules. 

Buy a ticket and validate it

Vienna's subway network does not have ticket barriers, and even though it may seem tempting to enter without a ticket, it is recommended not to do so. If you are caught by controllers from Wiener Linien, you will have to pay a fine of €103, and they are famous for not accepting any excuses.

Buying a ticket might not be too bad though, since Vienna is famous for its affordable public transport system. Apart from the considerably cheap yearly ticket, you can also buy a monthly ticket for €51, a day ticket for €5.80, a weekly ticket for €17.10, and a single ticket for €2.40. All prices are available on Wiener Linien's website.


After buying your ticket, always remember to validate it in one of the validation boxes, which are normally placed at the entrance of a U-Bahn station. If you do not do this, your ticket has no value, and you will face the same fines as if you had not bought it. You can also choose to validate them after as you are buying them.

Stand on the right side of escalators

In Vienna, there is an unwritten rule that says you should stand on the right side when using escalators at subway stations. People who do not follow this rule are immediately identified as tourists by the locals.

 If you are caught standing on the left side, be prepared to face annoyed facial expressions and some aggressive "Excuse me!" (Entschuldigung!) to make you move as fast as possible to the other side.

Always stand on the right side of the escalators. Photo by 𝗔𝗹𝗲𝘅 𝘙𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘳 on Unsplash.

Buy a ticket for your dog, and use a muzzle

Dogs are allowed in the subway, and if you have a yearly ticket, your dog can join your travel for free. If not, you have to buy an extra ticket, except for when the dog is so small that it can be placed in a dog carrier.

All dogs need to wear a muzzle and be on a leash if you do not want to face a fine - if they are small enough, they can be carried in a carrying basket or container.

Don’t drink alcohol or eat smelly food

You are not allowed to drink alcohol while using the Viennese public transport.


Eating is allowed, but even though there are many food stands at the subway stations, it is not the best idea to feast on a smelly kebab or sausage inside of the subway. If you do so, you tend to get disapproving looks from other passengers.

Do not put your feet on the seat in front of you

This is an unwritten rule for all public transports in Austria. If ticket inspectors catch you with your feet placed on the seat, you can expect both a telling-off and sometimes also a fine for 'Verschmutzung' (dirtying the seat).

Don’t smoke e-cigarettes or skate around the stations

You are not allowed to smoke anything inside of Vienna's public transport system, including electronic cigarettes. You are also not allowed to bike, rollerblade, or skate inside the stations and subways. You can bring your bike, roller blades or skateboard on the subway by carrying or leading them. Bikes are allowed to travel with you during certain hours.

Do not try to talk to strangers

Small talk is not something common while traveling on the Viennese subway. Trying to make conversation with a stranger is seen as more strange rather than polite.


If you definitely want some contact with other passengers, stick to short eye contact and a discreet smile; if you overdo it, it tends to be frowned upon. In general, keep to your own business like most locals.

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Don’t try to open already closed doors

If you use the subway frequently, you will come across people rushing to subways that are about to leave and trying to open the doors even if they are closed. It is recommended not to do this since you hurt yourself and others. Also, there is no reason to perform this dramatic action since the next subway is likely to arrive within 4-5 minutes.

Do not play loud music

Even if you forgot your headphones, do not consider playing music out loud. This will not only annoy everyone around you but also means that you are breaking the rules since it is actually not allowed. Doing this can lead to a fine or might temporary ban you from using the U-Bahn network.



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