The public transport system in Vienna happens to be a well-developed one. If you wish to travel to any part of the city, you can do so on underground lines, trains, trams and buses, and reach your destination in next to no time. Wiener Linien, the principal transport operator in the city is in charge of ninety different bus routes of which twenty-four run during the night hours, twenty-nine tram lines and five underground systems. During public holidays and on weekends, the people of Vienna have the metro service at their disposal all through the night.
To put it simply, the public transport in Vienna is the best among all of the European cities. Although that may be difficult to prove, the system can definitely be ranked as one of the best in every department. While the network of trams and buses in the city is seemingly extensive, the underground system is still undergoing expansion and there are suburban railway networks running some way out into the outer limits of Vienna. The best part of it all is the integrated feature of the public transport in Vienna that allows you to travel on any means of transport with the help of just one ticket.
Let us now describe the various means of public transport in the city that you can take for exploring around the many places of attraction around this historic European city of Vienna.
Buses and streetcars in Vienna
Take a bus or streetcar on any route of your choice in the city and it is likely that you will come across a low-floor vehicle. They have been made abundant on the streets of Vienna so as to facilitate easy alighting and boarding for the individuals who suffer from restricted mobility. These low-floor streetcars are now in operation on almost every other route with the exception being line number thirty which serves the purpose of no more than a booster train. The streetcar stations are fitted with a blinking wheelchair symbol to indicate how long a vehicle will wait at the stop before departing.
Trams in Vienna
Trams rank as the most frequent means of public transport in Vienna, dating back to the early eighteen hundreds and having undergone a couple of upgrades ever since to keep up with the advances in technology. Tramlines criss-cross almost the entire city with most of the services running to and from the city-center, akin to the alignment of spokes on a wheel. Certain routes also run special services during night hours to facilitate transit of the local people.
Trams running on routes one and two are the most popular with tourists. They run along the Ringstrasse and offer a view of some of the popular tourist destinations across the city: University, Burgtheater, Votivkirche, Rathaus, the Parliament building, Hofburg Palace and the Opera House. However, these routes no longer traverse the entire ring circuit and you will be required to change over to connecting services at the many overlapping stations in order to complete your journey.
It maybe worth noting that a new yellow tram has been introduced that traverses the entire Ringstrasse network. With a running audio commentary inside describing the various tourist spots along the way, one can safely conclude that this tram has been introduced purely for the tourists. Travelling on this tram is also costlier than on the standard trams on the aforementioned routes.
Compared to the other means of public transport in Vienna, the subway system is modern with the first phase starting operations as recently as 1978. While the Red U1 line runs along a north-south direction, the east-west route is served by the Orange U3 line. The City station at the Vienna City center is the cross-over point of the two lines. The Purple U2 line originates from the Karlsplatz station and terminates in the twenty-second district at Aspernstrasse. It also has a stop at Messe Wien which is close to the Vienna Convention Center. The Green U4 line serves as the link between the north and the west, travelling in a loop around the eastern half of the city-center. The Brown U6 line is the oldest of all, operating trains that are similar to the old trams that were in operation at the turn of the century. Designed by Otto Wagner, the better part of this line is raised and not underground unlike the others. Note that there is no line U5 which was not built owing to a bureaucratic mess, an event Viennese people are sure to remember forever.
This is the suburban railway service in Vienna, originating from within the city limits and travelling out to the outer suburban districts. It comprises numerous branch lines that run services in more than one direction. While services along most of the routes are quite frequent, the frequency along the central trunk line amounts to just under a few minutes. The service is primarily run by the Austrian Federal Railways.
Getting around in Vienna
There are numerous places from where you can buy your travel tickets- machines at various tram and bus stops, ticket offices, TABAK or tobacco and newspaper stalls, and also online. Being an integrated transport system, you can travel on all means of transport on this single ticket, provided you have it validated by either the bus or tram drivers, or at the designated places in all stops and railway stations. Travelling to the Greater Vienna regions is no longer considered an issue with numerous bus and tram routes in operation along those districts. Enjoy your stay in the city and travel on the public transport in Vienna to explore the various tourist attractions in a fast, cheap yet highly efficient manner.
vienna tramway map by