From the perspective of Austria’s Transport Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens), the climate ticket launched in 2021 should be a complete success. The government member euphorically declared that her expectations had been exceeded. As usual, because from the perspective of this department, all of the project priorities are successful.
It is worth seeing that the Austrian Transport Minister, who describes herself as the Climate Protection Minister, reports that national connections that were run by private companies on their own must be discontinued because they could no longer keep up with the network map. However, these were not included in the climate ticket because the green ministry wants to give trains priority over long-distance buses and planes.
For example, the national Flixbus connections from Graz to Salzburg and Linz as well as from Klagenfurt to Vienna did not survive the Climaticket. These words are uneconomical, which is why the operator Blaguss Reisen is determined to stop using them. The long-distance bus routes from Graz to Vienna and Vienna Airport operated by the competitor are also not part of the climate ticket, as the Gewessler Ministry will not have included long-distance bus connections if there is an alternative by rail. It doesn’t matter whether the journey time is longer or whether it involves several changes. Train before bus and plane was the motto that has been set since Leonore Gewessler took office.
Not all transport is included
Incidentally, these are not the only transports that are not included in the climate ticket. It is quite annoying for passengers at Vienna Airport that neither the City Airport Train Night of the Vienna Airport Lines (operated by Postbus AG, which is wholly owned by the state via ÖBB) is included. This also has its reasons, because it is not that the two operators did not want it, but rather, analogous to national long-distance bus services (with the exception of Graz-Klagenfurt), that it is not politically wanted.
Regardless of this, Leonore Gewessler presented real jubilant information in the National Council. It couldn’t have been expected otherwise, because in Austria it is common political practice that members of the government always present their project as a success. Even if it was a total flop – keyword “Austrian department store”. However, the Austrian Climate Ticket, which according to the minister has around 260,000 customers, cannot be said to be a total flop.
With an increase of 7.7%, the mobility budget for 2024 now amounts to a total of €5.92 billion (2178 dB), according to the federal budget (BVA). The increase of €423.4 million can be attributed in particular to €290 million higher payments for the climate ticket, which also includes €120 million. € for the free version for 18 year olds. The minister also stated that many drivers have bought a climate ticket and should use it more. In general, the network map would be a “milestone in the mobility transition”.
The FPÖ rejected everything, other opposition parties made suggestions for improvements
The opposition criticized, among other things, that there had been too little preparation. Many people would use the Climaticket for trips and excursions that they would not have otherwise undertaken. This would result in overcrowded trains and buses. The railway companies and the transport associations had far too little lead time to increase capacity. In many cases, the clients have still not responded to so-called ordered transport.
The FPÖ MPs criticize pretty much everything related to the Austrian climate ticket. We agree with the campaign that 18-year-olds should get free travel for a year when they come of age, nor with the sales price of the climate ticket. There is talk from this political camp of “wasting mobility”. The other opposition parties only express selective criticism or suggestions for improvement that concern primary investments in infrastructure, but they appear necessary but generally agree that the climate ticket is a useful thing for citizens. There is some criticism of the way the minister communicates, as negative aspects are largely ignored, and the tattooing event at a rock festival seems to have seemed inappropriate to many MPs.
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