Tag Archives: trams

Navigating Vienna’s Public Transport with a Stroller

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:

U-Bahn

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

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.

Trams

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.

S-Bahn

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

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Introduction to Vienna’s Public Transport

If you are new to Vienna and overwhelmed by the amazing public transport system, look no further than this guide to figure it all out!

Vienna Transportation for New Arrivals

Welcome to Viennese public transport, one of the most efficient systems of transportations in the world.  Half of the Viennese population does not own a vehicle and relies solely on public transportation.  We only use our vehicle on road trips because Viennese transportation is THAT hassle free. You may feel overwhelmed if you are new to Vienna but in a few weeks, you too will be an expert navigator.

Buses, trams and U-bahns, oh my!

Based on our  experiences, the best way to get to know your host city and avoid becoming disoriented is to ride the buses and trams.  Avoid the U-Bahn if possible (sometiems you can’t)  at first unless you have clear directions of where to exit (not stop, I mean exit the station) or don’t mind being confused in trying to get to your destination after exiting a U-Bahn (yes, there are many street exits from each station).  Vienna’s system includes stops and transfer points for all three modes of transportation.  The system is quite efficient and mostly on time (it’s the Austrian way!).

Do I need a ticket?

Yes, you need a validated ticket for your ride (don’t forget to stamp/validate your  tickets before your ride or as you hop on, more on that later!).

Transportation is patrolled by plain clothes Wiener Linien officers who check tickets.  They will show you their ID and say “ticket please” (“Fahrkarten bitte”).  If you don’t understand, but witness a bunch of people looking through their pockets or purses, this is what is happening. If you get caught without a valid ticket, you will be required to pay  100 Euros per person in your party.  Don’t have cash on you?  That’s ok, they will walk with you to the nearest ATM. 

Where do I get a ticket?

Tickets are available for sale at the local Tabak stores, train stations and on the buses (costs slightly more) and you can also purchase them online. If you purchase them online and register with Wiener Linien, you can download the Wiener Linien app and any ticket you purchase or have purchased will show up on your phone. You can also purchase it from your phone if you have the  app. If you store your ticket in the app, just pull it up on your phone and show it to the officer if asked. Make sure your phone is always charged. Please note that Tabak stores are closed on Saturday afternoons and all day Sunday. Plan accordingly.

You can buy single ride tickets, day (Tag), weekly (Wochen), monthly (Monate) and, the mother of all passes, the annual/year (Jahre) pass.  When you consider and compare the cost of a monthly pass and the cost of an annual pass, the annual pass is the much better deal coming up to 1 Euro per day for unlimited transportation access in Zone 100 which is basically all the districts in Vienna.

The annual pass costs 365 Euros if you pay in full.  Wiener Linien recently added a monthly payment plan for these passes.  It costs 10 Euro more than paying outright, but it splits your payments into 12 monthly payments of 31.25 Euro which is automatically withdrawn from your Bank Austria account. Compare that to paying 45 Euro for a monthly pass!

To purchase an annual pass, you can either go to a ticket office at one of the train stations or you can go on-line, upload your picture and enter your information/pay or select the payment plan and the pass is mailed to your home.

Adults with an annual passes can bring along two kids (up to 15 years) starting at 12pm  on Saturdays for free. Annual card holders may transport their bikes and bring their dogs for free anytime.

Children under 6 ride free year round and children under 15 ride free on Sundays and on local public and school holidays.

For school children, Wiener Linien offers the Top Jugend Ticket.  This ticket costs 60 Euros for the entire year (September to September) for children 6 – 15 years old who attend school in Austria.  It must be used with a valid school ID card.  When school begins in August, ask your school official where to get the ID card for the Top Jugend Ticket.

  • Please note that if you want to purchase a pass at the Wiener Linien site that is not a tourist pass (24, 48, 72 hours), you must make sure you are in the “Deutsch” version of the site (use Google Chrome to translate the page).  The English version is made available to visitors and does not include all the passes available to those living in Vienna.

How do I know where I am going? 

Every mode of transportation displays its end stop.  You will see it on the front of every bus, tram or U-Bahn.  At each stop, the stops for that line are also posted along with each stops.  The stop where you are standing has a black dot.  Look at the last stop listed AFTER the black dot.  That is the direction you want to look for on the bus or tram.

If you have the time, just hop onboard whatever route you plan to use most often to orient yourself and ride it back and forth.  You really can’t get lost.

Ready to Ride?

You have your ticket. You figured out where you are headed. Now you are ready to embark on your adventure!

First thing you need to know is that when a bus, tram or U-Bahn pulls up to the stop, you must press the button next to the door to enter the vehicle (the same is true for exiting!).  If you are running to catch a bus or tram and the doors are shut and you are at a stop light, make your way to the driver’s door which the driver can open until he needs to get moving.

Once on board, if you have a weekly, monthly or yearly pass, there is no need for you to stamp your ticket because the valid dates are already printed it.  Just board and take your seat.  If you have a single ride ticket or a day pass, you must stamp your ticket in the blue box located on buses or trams or upon entering the U-Bahn.

Stops are announced and/or displayed on an electronic board within the vehicle.  On buses, in particular, it is important to press one of the many available stop buttons to indicate that you need to get off.  If no one is at the bus stop waiting and no one on the bus signals a stop, the bus will skip the stop. And, to exit any tram or U-Bahn, you also have to press the button on the door in order for the door to open.

AnachB.at

Remember how I said you can’t get lost?  Well, this blurb helps ensure you NEVER get lost.  All you need to do is download the application “AnachB” (AtoB) from the iTunes or Google Play store. This app is brilliant and much more user-friendly than the one provided by Wiener Linien’s website.  The app is like the Google Maps for Viennese transport.  They have a website as well, AnachB.at, in case you do not own a smartphone or wish to print out directions.

Once downloaded, you can punch in your physical address or stop location and then type in your destination. Voila! You have door-to-door directions to include walking (how many meters), stops and transfers (where) with the direction of the transport line you need to be on, and maps. They also have information on disruptions to service but that part is in German only.

Random Hiccups

Occasionally (this has happened to me once), your bus or tram or UBahn will stop at one of the stops along the route (sometimes not even yours) and will say something gibberish in German on the loudspeaker.  You will then see a mass exodus of people.  My advice: follow the people!  It is likely that, for some reason or another, the service is terminating at that station instead of the usual end point.  Walk along the route until the next vehicle comes along or you reach your destination – whatever comes first.

Do not take it personal if  you run up to a tram or bus and the driver doesn’t wait for you.  They have a schedule to keep.  The only exception is that when it is snowing or raining, they seem more amenable to waiting for you.  Thank them (Danke) – it will make their day!

On  other occasions, buses and trams may be late.  This is a rarity (at least for me), but it does happen and when it does, don’t worry.  One will come by to pick you up (remember Austrian efficiency?!).

Weather

Vienna can be really hot and really cold.  The older trams have no air conditioning but heating (it can get toasty!).  I have nicknamed them the “hot trams”. Try to ride those in the winter time.  The newer trams (the ones closer to the ground for disabled persons indicated on the blinking wheelchair on the electronic board at your stop) have air conditioning and also heating.  Try to ride those mostly in the summer.

For more information:

Contributed by Milena

Vienna Public Transportation – the Oeffi’s!

In Vienna, you hear everyone talking about the “Öffis” (public transport system; an Austrian abbreviation for “öffentliche Verkehrsmittel” since that’s a mouthful!). In short, everyone LOVES the Öffis – it’s fast, convenient, and affordable (the yearly pass costs 365 Euros or 1 Euro per day! Check the ticket site to see all options and prices). The buses, trams, and subways connect a huge geographic area and once you spend a little time riding around town, you’ll find it’s pretty easy to navigate the system.

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The Wiener Linien site has limited English but provides a great “getting from A to B service” that helps newcomers get around town more efficiently (and we all know, Austrians LOVE efficiency!). If you have a smartphone, download the quando app to navigate around Vienna!

Note that you must buy and validate your ticket (get it stamped) before you board an Öffi as Vienna uses the “honor system” of paying for transport. If you get caught without a valid ticket, you will have to pay 100 Euros fine, and there are MANY ticket checks, so be prepared!

You can purchase single fare tickets on the bus and trams but it’s more economic to use weekly/monthly/yearly or 24-/48-/72-hour tickets which you buy in advance (all but the yearly card can be bought at a local Trafik; you can order the yearly ticket online).

Children ages 6 and under do not need a ticket and kids under 15 do not pay on Sundays, holidays, or Viennese school breaks.

If you have small kids, taking the bus and subways are easy options if you are traveling with a stroller as the older trams have very steep steps. Note that the tram driver is supposed to help passengers with strollers board (enter at the front of the tram and ask for help; in my experience other passengers generally offer to help).

For more information: