There is no doubt that Vienna’s Public Transportation is nothing short of amazing. No matter where you are, you are bound to be close to a bus/tram/train stop and it generally is efficient and on schedule. This previous post gives a great overview of the system.
However, now that I cruise around town with two toddlers in a double stroller I have realized that I often need to do a bit more advance planning. After speaking with some parents, I know that I’m not the only one who was initially overwhelmed with how to get from A to B while pushing a stroller/Kinderwagen. If you’re traveling with one child in a small, easily collapsible stroller, this may not be a big challenge for you. But, if you have multiple small children, a sleeping child, or a stroller full of groceries and shopping bags then things become a little trickier.
Here’s what I have learned in my travels around town:
For the most part, the U-Bahn is a piece of cake. All of the stations are said to have at least one elevator or ramp and all of the U-Bahn trains have been updated to be disability (thus stroller) friendly. There are stroller designated areas on all trains just inside the doors indicated by round blue and white stickers depicting a stroller. The only challenge can be that the elevators seem to be serviced and repaired with regular frequency. If having access to an elevator is essential, you may want to check ahead to make sure they are not out of service. The Quando app for smartphones from Wiener Linien lists all elevator outages.
Buses are also very stroller friendly. Wiener Linien has updated all buses to low-floor models providing easy access. Each bus has one designated area for strollers on the second entrance from the front indicated on the door by the blue and white stroller sticker. This area tends to fill up with passengers, especially during morning rush-hour, but I’ve found that people are generally very good about making space for strollers.
One rule to note is that technically only two strollers are allowed in this area at any given time. I am on the bus all the time with three, four, occasionally even five, strollers crammed into this area and no one cares. However, I was kicked off one morning for being the third stroller to board, so there are some drivers who do follow this rule.
The tram system contains a mixture of old and new trams. The new trams are a low-floor style making for easy entrance and every car has a stroller designated area (indicated again by the blue and white stroller sticker). Large side-by-side strollers don’t fit well on these trams but it can still work. Just be prepared for some dirty looks from other passengers trying to squeeze by.
It is the older style, non-low-floor, trams that cause many of us stroller-pushing parents stress because of several steps required to enter the tram.
There is a stroller designated area in the front car just behind the driver and supposedly you can ask the driver to help you carry the stroller up the steps. I have not found this to be realistic as my German is very basic and I have two kids and a stroller to load. I do what many others do and wait around for the next low-floor tram. Stops with an electronic departure board show the time of the next low-floor tram indicated by a flashing handicap sign. This information can also be found in the monitor section of Quando as well as the actual Wiener Linien website.
The S-Bahn system is similar to the tram system with a mixture of old trains requiring steps to enter and newer low-floor trains that are easy to roll a stroller onto. Unfortunately, the monitors in the S-Bahn stations do not indicate when the next handicap accessible/low-floor train is coming and I have not found a source for this information online. As a result, I tend to avoid the S-Bahn when I’m traveling solo with my kids. The few times I have had to do so, I have found the other passengers to be very understanding and helpful. In general, the S-Bahns spend a little more time at each stop than the trams do giving you a bit more time to haul you kid(s), stroller, and gear up those steps when necessary.
Hope this assists fellow parents in planning their trips.
Contributed by Kerry