24. 04. 12. - 16:02
Ticket inspectors increasingly active
Around 60,000 people were caught using Wiener Linien’s services without a ticket in the first three months of this year, according to company officials.
Wiener Linien, which operates the public transport network of Vienna, announced that the number of fined issued to passengers for failing to show a valid ticket rose from around 50,000 between January and March 2011 to 60,000 in the same period of this year. The public transport agency added that it carried out more than twice as many checks in the past months than seven years ago.
Around 22,000 Wiener Linien passengers are checked by controllers for their tickets each day, according to the firm which is supervised by the Viennese government coalition and subsidised by the city. Wiener Linien pointed out that fare dodgers face fines of 100 Euros from next month. They currently risk a penalty of 70 Euros.
The increase is part of the capital city’s extensive ticket price reform. Single tickets will cost two instead of 1.80 Euros as of 1 May. The price for weekly passes will rise as well while monthly and annual tickets are set to get cheaper.
The Greens are especially proud of having convinced the Social Democrats (SPÖ) of slashing the price for annual passes from 449 to 365 Euros. They said in the city hall election campaign of 2010 that annual tickets should cost just 100 Euros. SPÖ Mayor Michael Häupl branded the idea as unrealistic and illusory.
Experts are at odds about whether the debt-stricken city will financially benefit from the disputed public transport ticket price reform. The number of daily passengers is expected to climb. This could help the city to additional incomes. At the same time, such developments will make an increase of investments into means of public transport unavoidable.
Extra earnings are more likely in terms of water supply and waste disposal fees. These charges were raised by around 30 per cent earlier this year. Ulli Sima, the Viennese SPÖ’s councillor for environment justified the decision. She said: "Ensuring that our water supply does not get privatised costs money."
The conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) which is, in contrast to federal politics, not part of the government in Vienna, accused SPÖ and Green Party of lacking an economic concept. The faction, which is headed by Manfred Juraczka, said the various fee hikes were "poorly planned rip-offs".
Apart from the upcoming public transport ticket price reform and the already introduced tap water and garbage disposal services fee hike, residents of Vienna also had to accept that a charge colloquially known as dog tax jumped. City hall officials started to charge 72 Euros a month per registered canine in January. Owners of dogs in Vienna had to pay only 43.60 Euros a month before the price reform came into effect.
Around 52,000 dogs are registered in Vienna but experts think that the actual figure is much higher. Reports have it that hundreds of Viennese citizens cancelled or changed their dog registrations in the past months. Most of them informed veterinary authorities that the animals were now living with friends or relatives in the nearby province of Lower Austria. A spokesman for the Viennese government recently warned that the city would carefully check such claims.