The Austrian Klimaticket, a $ 3.50-a-day national pass to combat climate change, was released this week. CNN reports. The ticket is valid for all public and private rail, metro and bus networks across the country, and with a price of $ 1,265 (€ 1,095) for an annual ticket, the price is around $ 24 (€ 21) per week or $ 3.50 per day.
Country-wide travel passes have already been adopted in some parts of Europe, and Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany are among the countries offering discount programs and other incentives to encourage the use of public transport. But Austrian Air conditioning (literally “climate map”) is the most affordable option so far, and marks a major step towards the nation’s goal of becoming climate neutral by 2040 – one of the most ambitious green plans so far. The federal government has set aside $ 277 million (240 million euros) to support the new initiative, with current annual costs estimated at about $ 173 million (150 million euros), CNN reports.
Austrian Green Party “super minister” Leonore Gewessler, who manages national transport, the environment and the energy sector, expressed excitement over the initiative at a press conference announced last month. And she’s not the only one: The demand for discounted tickets for early issuance for a pass initially knocked down the Klimaticket booking page.
“I think you can see how happy I am. This is a great day for climate and transportation. If anything has shown us this summer, it is that the climate crisis has already arrived with us, ”Gewessler said via Financial Times.
As part of its 2030 Mobility master plan, the Austrian government intends to reduce the use of private cars across the country by about 16% by 2040, reducing it from 70% of total annual mileage to 54%. At the same time, the authorities aim to increase public transport from 27% to 40% of total annual mileage, while at the same time doubling active travel, such as walking and cycling, from 3% to 6%.
“One of the things I like about Klimaticket is that it applies to all modes of public transport, a concept that should be replicated elsewhere as it removes the hassle of looking for and buying more tickets,” European rail travel expert Andy Brabin told CNN. “It’s potentially revolutionary because it removes some of the barriers to using public transportation and makes spontaneous travel much easier because you don’t have to worry about buying tickets, which can often be expensive in the short term for longer trips.”
If Klimaticket proves successful, it could become a plan for other nations to introduce their own affordable options for convenient travel across the country. Austria is a relatively small country, so it can be difficult to implement this type of initiative. Bureaucratic hurdles also have the potential to disrupt business. The development of Klimaticket has been at the center of fierce negotiations over the past two years, and especially rural regions of Austria are rejecting tax dollars used to subsidize public transport that does not see such high demand in their area, CNN reports.
“I think there is an appetite for something like Klimaticket in Germany,” said Keith Barrow, editor of the British magazine Today’s Railways Europe. “The Greens’ success in the recent federal election could encourage them to emulate their Austrian counterparts and advocate for a national annual public transport pass.”
Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.