VCÖ laments lack of good connections to public transport

A fourth of Austrians need better connection to public transport, the Austrian Traffic Club (VCÖ) reported today (Weds).Club expert Martin Blum said supply was not keeping up with demand and it was especially important to give the rail priority over roads.He added that 60 per cent of Austrians regularly used public transport, which accounted for every fourth kilometre of mechanised travel or some 23 billion kilometres annually.Blum said 27 per cent of Austrians could not reach the nearest town on public transport within 30 minutes and that the situation was worst in Upper Austria, where the number rose to 63 per cent. Things were almost as bad in Styria, Lower Austria and Carinthia, he added.In Vienna, in contrast, anyone could reach the inner city within 30 minutes on public transport.In general, he noted, use of public transport increased as it became more available, but the country’s road infrastructure was better than its public transport infrastructure.”The railway network has been neglected for years,” he claimed, citing the rail link between Graz and Klagenfurt as an example. It took as long for a train to cover the distance between those two cities in 2010 as it had 40 years ago, thanks to lack of investment in the network.The goal, Blum said, should be to give at least 80 per cent of the population direct access to public transport.VCÖ recently reported that Austrians rode on public transport for more kilometres per capita annually than all other Europeans except for the Swiss and the Czechs.The club said the average Austrian travelled 2,890 kilometres on public transport annually, whereas the average Swiss went 3,320 and the average Czech 2,900.Meanwhile, a majority of Vienna residents taking part in a recent referendum backed a 24-hour underground train service at the weekend.Social Democratic (SPÖ) Councillor Sandra Frauenberger announced that around 54 per cent of people participating supported around the clock U-Bahn service on Fridays and Saturdays.Vienna public transport agency Wiener Linien said it would wait for the referendum’s final results which will be announced on 24 February.A spokesman for the firm, however, revealed a change in the U-Bahn’s weekend service schedule would take less than half a year to implement.