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21. 03. 12. - 15:52

U1 'to be extended to Therme Wien'

Vienna’s U1 line could have its final stop at Therme Wien soon, according to reports.

Several city newspapers report today (Weds) that the underground train service – which will be extended towards the capital’s southern city limits – might lead to the popular spa instead of the region of Rothneusiedl. This would mean a shorter than initially planned extension of the service which will stop operating for seven weeks between Reumannplatz and Stephansplatz stations this summer due to maintenance work.

The extension of the busy U-Bahn line will be finalised in 2017, according to Viennese public transport agency Wiener Linien. The company refused to comment on the papers’ claims. The Viennese coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and Green Party did not issue a statement regarding the speculations about a shorter than scheduled extension either.

Financial bottlenecks could be the decisive factor which tempted decision-makers to extend the U1 line only to the city’s biggest spa. Traffic experts warn that SPÖ and Greens will fail in making a switch to means of public transport more attractive for motorists if the underground line does not lead further into the south. There are no park & ride facilities near Therme Wien at the moment. Analysts do not expect many of the thousands of people who do not live but work in Vienna who are getting to the office by car each morning to head for the U1’s possible new final stop at the spa to take the U-Bahn.

Reports have it that the Viennese SPÖ and Wiener Linien bosses already agreed about creating new U1 stops at Troststraße, Altes Landgut, Alaudagasse, Stockholmer Platz and Therme Wien. A settlement was reached at the SPÖ Vienna board’s recent summit in Rust, Burgenland, according to the Kurier. A trip on the U-Bahn from Therme Wien to Stephansplatz in the heart of the city would take around 20 minutes.

The number of public transport customers is expected to increase sharply in the coming years – regardless of whether the city manages to get a significant number of drivers to use trams, buses and trains instead of cars. The need for higher investments into the network of Wiener Linien – which has 2.2 million passengers a day – is not the only financial issue the SPÖ-Green Party coalition is confronted with these days.

The chiefs of the Viennese fire brigade warned only a few weeks ago that investments of 45 million Euros were needed in the coming years to guarantee full performance capacities. The fire fighters of Vienna are engaged in more than 30,000 operations each year. Residents of the city call their emergency number around 1,000 times a day.

Another disputed topic is Vienna’s generous subsidisation of cultural institutions. Several museums and theatres are financially supported by the city hall but also by the state to make ends meet. Many galleries and stages are given no chance to survive without these cash injections. Several business magazines and independent observers of the city’s cultural scene recently criticised the city coalition for planning to provide the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien with more than 36 million Euros this year. The Ronacher, the Raimund Theater and the Theater an der Wien are part of the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien association.

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