Vienna public transport price reform ahead

Vienna’s public transport pricing system will be reformed, Social Democratic (SPÖ) Mayor Michael Häupl has confirmed.Häupl reacted to recent newspaper reports claiming that his party and the Greens will restructure the Wiener Linien ticket price scheme. The mayor said today (Weds) prices will be altered to make the system fairer and “more social.” He explained people without a regular income will have to pay less for annual passes than others. At the moment, public transport agency Wiener Linien charges 449 Euros for the annual ticket regardless of the purchaser’s income.The SPÖ-Greens city government is tipped to implement the price reform this autumn after Häupl said today the coalition intended to present what it had agreed upon in the current talks so far next month.Before the Greens agreed on a coalition cooperation with the Viennese Social Democrats after last year’s election, the left-wing party called for free public transport tickets for unemployed residents of the city.Häupl said today his party’s coalition partner’s demands used to be “unrealistic.” He added: “Now they are part of a government and have certain responsibilities.”The mayor criticised the People’s Party (ÖVP) over various suggestions regarding the Viennese public transport network, claiming that the opposition party would ignore financial aspects when publicly calling for diverse changes. The party headed by former Federal Family Issues State Secretary Christine Marek asked the city government to get active regarding the extension of the underground network to the province of Lower Austria which encircles the capital. The Viennese ÖVP department also suggested a certain bonus system for people who often use public transport.Häupl ruled out that the price for an annual public transport pass will be slashed to 100 Euros for everybody. The Greens – who are headed by Vice Mayor Maria Vassilakou – demanded such drastic price reductions ahead of the most recent city ballot in which all major parties except the Freedom Party (FPÖ) suffered losses.The mayor added the government was working on incentives to convince more people to use buses, trams and U-Bahn trains instead of their cars to get to work.Wiener Linien has more than two million passengers per day. The company’s network consists of 118 routes and 4,360 stations. A single journey ticket costs 1.80 Euros, while the price of a weekly travel pass is 14 Euros.The capital city’s public transport network came third in EuroTest, a recent study which investigated the quality of services in 23 European cities. Munich, Germany, reached first place in the rankings ahead of Finnish capital Helsinki.