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GETTING AROUND VIENNA




With so much to see, central Vienna is best explored on foot. Footpaths are well maintained, with signposts marking major sights and attractions. Traffic-free areas offer pedestrians the opportunity to shop and sightsee away from tooting horns and congestion. Numerous cobblestone plazas, gardens, parks and cafés offer plenty of places to stop, draw breath, check the map and enjoy a cup of coffee. Viennese drivers are dissuaded from driving in the city centre by a complicated and frustrating one-way system and fairly expensive parking tariffs. However, if the legwork gets too much, the public transport system is cheap and efficient to use. One ticket buys access to five underground U-bahn lines, 29 trolley car tram routes and 127 bus routes. Fridays and Saturdays subways run 24 hours, and there are always night buses.

Green Travel

As one of the greenest cities in Europe, Vienna has invested heavily in an impressive array of environmentally-friendly transport initiatives. A highly efficient public transport system and 1,300 km (800 miles) of bicycle paths offer viable ecofriendly alternatives to driving through the city. Over 1,000 rechargeable electrically powered ebikes are available for hire at very affordable rates from nearly 100 strategically positioned stations throughout the city. Almost every part of the metropolis is accessible by public transport and timetables for trams, buses, underground and trains neatly dovetail each other. Inexpensive tickets and discounted fares for combined use of all modes of transport ensure the network is very popular with locals and tourists alike.

The ultimate green transportation in Vienna are the pedicab taxis known as Faxi Taxi ). These have fixed, inexpensive rates for runs to public transport hubs but can carry only two passengers with minimal bags

Cycling is important to Vienna’s environmental concerns, and an entire vehicle-free housing development has been built in the capital. “Bike City” focuses on the needs of cyclists with the whole complex benefitting from easy access bicycle paths and excellent direct links to public transportation.

Walking

There is no better way to see the city than to walk around Vienna at your own pace. Major sights and attractions are conveniently clustered together in close proximity and attractive streets are peppered with inviting cafés and cake shops. The area around Kärntner Strasse, Stock-im-Eisen-Platz and Graben is entirely traffic free. Numerous tour companies offer multilingual guided walks with a wide variety of cultural themes and historical topics. Contact the Wiener Tourismusverband  for more information

Exploring Vienna on foot is not without its hazards. Trafficrarely stops at pedestrian crossings, so it is wise to be cautious when crossing the road. British and Australian visitors should remember that motorists drive on the right. In addition, keep an eye out for cyclists; some official cycle lanes are actually on the pedestrian pavement, and bikers have legal right of way. At all times, pedestrians should take care not to walk along bike paths and tramlines, as this is prohibited. On the Ringstrasse, trams run against the traffic, so looking both ways is essential. Jaywalking is illegal in Vienna, and this law is enforced by police – even if the roads are quiet. To avoid a hefty fine, it is important to abide by the signals at the pedestrian crossings; do not cross a road when a red figure is showing

Fiaker

Traditional horse-drawn open carriages or Fiakers, many driven by a bowler-hatted and whiskered coachman, are a novel and relaxing way to get around. Remember that part of the route is on the busy Ring strasse. You can hire a Fiaker at Stephansplatz, Heldenplatz or Albertinaplatz. A 20-minute ride from Stephansplatz to Michalerplatz with Carriage Company Wulf costs around €55 for four persons, rising to €105 for an hour.

Cycling

With 1,300 km (800 miles) of dedicated bike paths, Vienna is a great city for cyclists. A 7-km (4-mile) cycle path round the Ringstrasse takes you past many historic sights, and there are also bike paths to the Prater and to the Hundertwasserhaus . If you are a keen cyclist, look out for Radkarte, a booklet illustrating all of Vienna’s cycle routes, which is available from bookshops. Bicycles can be rented at some train stations (discounts are given with a train ticket), or from any of the 100 or so Citybike stations. To use a Citybike, you need to register first with a debit or credit card, either online or at the station’s terminal, for a one-off fee of €1; when the bike is returned, the charge (maximum €4 per hour) is calculated automatically and debited from your account. Some cycle lanes are on pavements, and cyclists have right of way. It is permitted to ignore one-way rules in residential districts.

Guided Tours

 Vienna Sightseeing is the largest operator of group tours by bus. But there are also hundreds of individual guides with expertise in specific buildings and periods, as well as themes like cuisine. Trams are a good way of seeing the 19th-century buildings in the Ringstrasse because you can choose where to get on and off. Organized tours are run by the Tram Museum in a 1920s tram from a meeting point at Otto Wagner’s Karlsplatz Pavilions . Private groups may also hire a vintage tram to go to the Prater or a Heuriger, or simply to tour the city.

DDSG–Blue Danube organizes tours on the Danube River and the Danube Canal to sights such as Otto Wagner’s Nussdorf locks. From April to October the Twin City Liner, a high-speed catamaran, makes a round trip to Bratislava three times a day. From May to September, cycling enthusiasts can book tours through Pedal Power (pedalpower.at) or Vienna Explorer, which offers ebikes for older folks and seats for children. Segway public tours run from April to October, and the 3-hour excursion includes a brief lesson on how to ride the Segway personal transport.

Driving

Priority is always given to the right unless a yellow diamond indicates otherwise. Unlike in other EU countries, Austrian stoplights blink rapidly in green before switching to amber. Trams, buses, police cars, fire engines and ambulances all have right of way. Vienna’s speed limit is 50 km (30 miles) per hour. Police carry out checks with infrared guns and can issue fines on the spot. The limit for alcohol is 0.5 mg per ml of blood (about 1/3 litre [11 fl oz] of beer or 1–2 glasses of wine). Spot checks are common and anyone exceeding the limit is likely to face a hefty fine and loss of licence.

EU drivers need no extra documentation. But North American and other non-EU drivers are required by law to have an international driving licence to complement their own country’s documents.

Parking

 Parking regulations can be confusing. The standard red circle with red X inside, denoting a forbidden zone, in Vienna also has Anfang (beginning) and Ende (end) signs to mark the zone. The City of Vienna operates a park and pay scheme in districts 1–9, 12, 14–17 and 20 from 9am to 10pm Mondays to Fridays . Parking disks are sold at newsagents (Tabak Trafiken), some banks and petrol stations. Usually, a maximum stay of 2 hours is allowed in any space. In other districts, a blue line by the kerb indicates a pay and display scheme. Underground parking in the city centre can cost €8 for one hour or €40 per day.

Taxis

Taxis are not flagged down, like they are in New York or London. They wait at official taxi stands outside stations, hotels and elsewhere. There are taxi apps for Android or Apple devices, and taxis can be summoned by phone on 60160, 40100 and 31300. A short ride can cost €10, with surcharges outside normal hours or for baggage. The fare to the airport is fixed at €36. A 10 per cent tip is expected. Uber, Blacklane and MyDriver are smartphonebased taxi services. Limousine services, both to the airport and for city destinations, are also bookable.

Vienna’s Faxi Taxi pedicab is a quick way to get around the centre of the city . Find them at taxi stands or flag one down in the street. Journeys up to 2 km (1 mile) cost €5. One-way journeys more than 2 km cost €10.

Public Transport

Vienna’s transport network is made up of trams (Strassenbahn), buses (Autobus), underground (U-Bahn) and commuter trains to outlying districts (S-Bahn). The city’s transport system, Wiener Linien, works on an honour system. The absence of ticket barriers at stations speeds transit, but tourists must never travel without a ticket, as there are spot checks on-board, with fines of over €100 demanded on the spot. Tickets cannot be purchased on the tram or bus. Smoking is banned in stations and on public transport. Children under 6 travel for free year-round while those aged between 6 and 14 qualify for half-price single tickets. The latter can also travel free during holidays providing they can show proof of age. Rush hour runs weekdays from about 7am to 9:30am, then again from about 4:30pm to 6:30pm.

Tickets and Travel Cards

 Vienna’s public transport ticketing system is less confusing than it appears at first glance. Buying a ticket in advance is the easiest option. Tickets are sold at newsagents (Tabak Trafiken), from ticket machines at stations or over the counter at U-Bahn and S-Bahn offices. Vienna city is zone 100 of the regional fare system; a standard ticket covers all areas of the city and allows passengers to change trains and lines and switch from the underground to a tram or a bus, as long as they take the most direct route and don’t break their journey. A single ticket costs €2.20 bought in advance or €2.30 on board.

Weekly season tickets (€16.20) are valid from Monday to Monday at 9am. These are good value for anyone using public transport for more than four days. The 8­Tage­Karte (€38.40) is best for groups of travellers and consists of eight strips which, when stamped, are valid for a day. Up to eight people may stamp the same ticket; start with strip one or you will invalidate the other seven. Also available are 24-, 48- and 72-hour tickets costing €7.60, €13.30 and €16.50 respectively.The Vienna Card is a 24-, 48- or 72-hour ticket (€13.90/18.90/21.90) valid on all transport. It comes with additional discounts and benefits and only needs punching once.

GETTING AROUND VIENNA GETTING AROUND VIENNA Reviewed by MELANIE INFINITY on January 09, 2020 Rating: 5

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