E-bus plans for Vienna

Wiener Linien is testing a new generation of buses.

The Viennese public transport agency announced today (Thurs) it had recently started testing an electric bus (e-bus) on whether it could be used in the city centre. The vehicle could be implemented in its regular schedule next week, the company said, adding that it currently transported no passengers. The whole testing phase is scheduled to continue until the end of the month.

Most vehicles of Wiener Linien’s bus fleet have liquid gas-powered engines. They are considered as an eco-friendly alternative to petrol-guzzling buses. The latest type of liquid gas-powered buses went into operation in Vienna in 2005. Some of the older vehicles of this kind could soon be replaced by new e-buses.

More than two million people take buses, tramways and U-Bahn trains in the Austrian capital every day. Vienna’s public transport network features 4,360 stops. Investments in Wiener Linien’s services are expected to increase in the coming years due to the first coalition between the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the Green Party in Austria. The parties agreed on cooperating in the city parliament last year.

Reports have it that some ticket prices could rise later this year while people on low incomes get the chance to buy them at cut-price. At the moment, ticket prices are not arranged based on earnings. A single ticket costs 1.80 Euros. The price of an annual Wiener Linien pass is 449 Euros.

The share public transport takes in Vienna rose by six per cent to 35 per cent from 1993 to 2009. Cycling is getting increasingly more popular on a low scale. Its share doubled to six per cent during the same time period.

Asked about the Green Party’s outspoken stance against investments to the benefit of motorists, Vienna’s Mayor Michael Häupl of the SPÖ said after his faction decided to team up with the eco-campaigning party: “I prefer arguing with the Greens about one street or the other than being at odds about education issues with the ÖVP (People’s Party) all the time.”