For members


1-2-3 Ticket: Everything you need to know about Austria’s nationwide rail pass

Known as the 1-2-3 Ticket, Austria's nationwide public transport pass just got one step closer to reality. Here's what you need to know.

1-2-3 Ticket: Everything you need to know about Austria's nationwide rail pass
Photo: DPA

Following the success of Vienna’s 365 ticket, in which residents of Austria’s capital city pay just €1 a day to use public transport, the Austrian government has flagged a similar scheme for nationwide travel. 

The government is hoping approve an annual ticket allowing unlimited travel on public transport all across the alpine state for €1,095 by the end of 2021.

The idea behind the 1-2-3 ticket is that eventually Austrian residents can choose to pay one euro per day for unlimited public transport in their own state, two euros per day for travel in two neighbouring states or three euros per day to travel throughout Austria. 

365 Ticket: Everything you need to know about Vienna’s cheap annual metro pass 

Plans for the Austria-wide ticket, also known as the ”climate ticket”, took a step forward on Friday, January 22nd, when Green party transport minister Leonore Gewessler announced Tyrol and Vorarlberg had signed a contract to go forward with the plans.

Salzburg also signed a similar contract last year.

Gewessler now says she hopes to approve the new ticket by the end of the year, with around 150 meetings being held in a bid to get all states signed up to the plan. 

When will the ticket be introduced?

The government plans to introduce the Austria-wide ticket first, and the federal tickets later. 

Once it is in place, passengers with existing season tickets should be able to exchange them for the 1-2-3 ticket, though those who wish to continue using their existing ticket may also do so. 

It is believed the Austria-wide ticket will be processed by ÖBB, Austria’s state railway company.

In rolling out the tickets at federal level, other transport organisations are involved.

The Kronen Zeitung reported earlier in January the Eastern Region Transport Association (VOR comprising Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland), wants all three options of the ticket to be introduced alongside the national ticket, saying this is the option preferred by passengers. 

Concerns were also raised last year by Upper Austria and Styria about overcrowding trains and buses.

Peter Gspaltl, head of the Styrian Transport Association, said the reforms to pricing needed to be accompanied by investment in expanding existing infrastructure.

He also said passengers wanted all three tickets to be introduced at the same time.

The Mayor of Linz, Klaus Luger, also voiced objections to the scheme in December, saying from a legal standpoint the plans went against the Austrian constitution.

He also said tariffs for local and regional transport should not be set by the federal government. However, Gewessler said on Friday that this report was already out of date.


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For members


Five signs you’ve settled into life in Switzerland

Getting adjusted to Swiss ways is not always easy for foreign nationals, but with a lot of perseverance it can be done. This is how you know you’ve assimilated.

Five signs you've settled into life in Switzerland
No lint: Following laundry room rules is a sign of integration in Switzerland. Photo by Sara Chai from Pexels

Much has been said about Switzerland’s quirkiness, but when you think about it, this country’s idiosyncrasies are not more or less weird than any other nation’s — except for the fact that they are expressed in at least three languages which, admittedly, can complicate matters a bit.

However, once you master the intricacies and nuances of Swiss life, you will feel like you belong here.

This is when you know you’ve “made it”.

You speak one of the national languages, even if badly

It irritates the Swiss to no end when a foreigner, and particularly an English-speaking foreigner, doesn’t make an effort to learn the language of a region in which he or she lives, insisting instead that everyone communicates to them in their language.

So speaking the local language will go a long way to being accepted and making you feel settled in your new home.

You get a Swiss watch and live by it

Punctuality is a virtue here, while tardiness is a definite no-no.

If you want to ingratiate yourself to the Swiss, be on time. Being even a minute late  may cause you to miss your bus, but also fail in the cultural integration.

‘The pleasure of punctuality’: Why are the Swiss so obsessed with being on time?

Using an excuse like “my train was late” may be valid in other countries, but not in Switzerland.

The only exception to this rule is if a herd of cows or goats blocks your path, causing you to be late.

A close-up of a Rolex watch in Switzerland.

Owning a Rolex is a sure sign you’re rich enough to live in Switzerland. Photo by Adam Bignell on Unsplash

You sort and recycle your trash

The Swiss are meticulous when it comes to waste disposal and, not surprisingly, they have strict regulations on how to throw away trash in an environmentally correct manner.

Throwing away all your waste in a trash bag without separating it first — for instance, mixing PET bottles with tin cans or paper — is an offence in Switzerland which can result in heavy fines, the amount of which is determined by each individual commune.

In fact, the more assiduous residents separate every possible waste item — not just paper, cardboard, batteries and bottles (sorted by colour), but also coffee capsules, yogurt containers, scrap iron and steel, organic waste, carpets, and electronics.

In fact, with their well-organised communal dumpsters or recycling bins in neighbourhoods, the Swiss have taken the mundane act of throwing out one’s garbage to a whole new level of efficiency.

So one of the best ways to fit in is to be as trash-oriented as the Swiss.

READ MORE: Eight ways you might be annoying your neighbours (and not realising it) in Switzerland

You trim your hedges with a ruler

How your garden looks says a lot about you.

If it’s unkempt and overgrown with weeds, you are clearly a foreigner (though likely not German or Austrian).

But if your grass is cut neatly and your hedges trimmed with military-like precision (except on Sundays), and some of your bushes and shrubs are shaped like poodles,  you will definitely fit in.

You follow the laundry room rules

If you live in an apartment building, chances are there is a communal laundry room in the basement that is shared by all the residents.

As everything else in Switzerland, these facilities are regulated by a …laundry list of “dos” and “don’ts” that you’d well to commit to memory and adhere to meticulously.

These rules relate to everything from adhering to the assigned time slot to removing lint from the dryer.

Following each rule to the letter, and not trying to wash your laundry in someone else’s time slot, is a sign of successful integration.

Voilà, the five signs you are “at home” in Switzerland.

READ MORE: French-speaking Switzerland: Seven life hacks that will make you feel like a local