1-2-3 Ticket: Austria’s nationwide rail pass to be further delayed

The wait for the 1-2-3 Ticket - Austria's rail pass which allows for nationwide travel - is set to go on longer, due to resistance from one Austrian state.

1-2-3 Ticket: Austria's nationwide rail pass to be further delayed
A train bridge over the river Kamp in Austria. Photo by Raphael Cruz on Unsplash

The third stage of the “1-2-3 ticket”, or a ticket which would be valid on all public transport in the whole of Austria, is no nearer to completion.

Authorities had hoped to release the ticket at some point in 2021, however a new series of disputes may push back the release date further. 

Broadcaster ORF says the fact that no solution has yet been found is also due to the resistance of the federal state of Burgenland.

The complaint relates to the fact that the ticket would dramatically increase the cost of travelling from Burgenland to Vienna. 

As travelling from Burgenland to Vienna involves crossing Lower Austria, the price of a season ticket from Neudörfl to Vienna, for example, which currently costs 730 euros, would increase to 1,095 euros per year under the new scheme.

The idea behind the 1-2-3 ticket is that 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. 

This thereby builds upon the annual 365 Ticket, which gives access to public transport all across Vienna for €365 per year. 

While this may improve the situation for people who travel in their own state or travel regularly to a neighbouring state, those who cross three or more states are set to feel the brunt. 

Politicians in Burgenland are pushing for a compromise, which would keep costs closer to their current level. 

An estimated 25,000 people commute regularly from Burgenland to Vienna, based on pre-pandemic numbers

The Eastern Region Transport Association (Verkehrsverbund Ostregion), which manages transport networks in Burgenland, Lower Austria and Vienna, also wants more money for implementation of the scheme.

Transport Provincial Councilor Heinrich Dorner said the “minister must set up the budgetary resources accordingly”. 

READ MORE: What is the 1-2-3-ticket? Everything you need to know about the new ticket planned to give unlimited public transport across Austria

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Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Christmas illuminations in Vienna will also be scaled back this year as part of the city's energy saving measures.

Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Vienna, a city known for its Christmas markets and its New Year concert, is cutting back on public lighting in the face of soaring energy prices.

“There will be no Christmas illuminations this year on the Ring,” the famous boulevard that encircles the centre of the Austrian capital, city spokeswoman Roberta Kraft told AFP.

READ MORE: Five of the biggest challenges facing Austria right now

And the lights at the Christmas market in the square in front of the city hall would only be switched on at night and not at dusk, as in previous years, “which is to say about an hour later, on average, every day”, she said.

The city authorities said they had not calculated exactly how much they would save, but the move comes after energy prices have skyrocketed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its response to Western sanctions.

Last Friday, the Austrian Energy Agency announced that its electricity price index for September rose by more than 256 percent year-on-year.

READ ALSO: Inflation at 9.2% in July: How to beat rising prices in Austria

Austria, with its population of nine million, is very dependent on tourism and its end-of-year celebrations are a major motor of the economy.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down much international travel, more than four million people visited Vienna’s famous Christmas markets in 2019.

In 2021, around 30 of Vienna’s shopping streets were lit up for seven hours a day, from November 12 until early January.