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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
The City of Vienna is rolling out a number of energy saving measures for the coming winter. Photo by Minsu B / Pexels.

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.

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VIENNA

Vienna: How to get up to €1,000 to buy a cargo bike

Austria's capital is offering to subsidise the purchase of cargo bikes (electric or not) for private individuals. Here's how to apply for the funds.

Vienna: How to get up to €1,000 to buy a cargo bike

If you are considering purchasing a transport bicycle and live in Vienna – where those bikes are becoming more popular – you can apply for up to €1,000 in financial support from the City of Viena.

“Transport bicycles are bicycles with added value. They can carry the weekly shopping, the things needed for an excursion, or children after a day out at a playground. All this without emitting harmful emissions. A win-win situation for people and the climate,” said Martin Blum, Managing Director of the Vienna Mobility Agency.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to claim your €200 voucher for electronics repair in Austria

The purchase of cargo bikes for private individuals is subsidised by up to €1,000. In addition, “special bikes” such as wheelchair cargo bikes or wheelchair rickshaws, mainly used to transport people with walking disabilities, will also be subsidised.

“In order to advance climate protection in Vienna, a variety of measures are needed. In addition to expanding public transport, sharing services and cycling infrastructure, we are also promoting transport bicycles,” said Mobility City Councillor Ulli Sima.

How much will the City finance?

Private individuals with their primary residence in Vienna have the opportunity to receive a subsidy. A maximum of 50 percent of the purchase price is refunded.

For transport bicycles without an electric motor, the maximum subsidy is €800. The maximum support for cargo bicycles with an electric motor is €1,000.

The subsidy applies to newly purchased transport bicycles and retroactively.

READ ALSO: Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

Transport bicycles purchased after March 1st 2022, can be submitted for funding. The City of Vienna’s transport bicycle subsidy for private individuals will run until the end of 2026.

How do I apply for the subsidy?

The applications are made online and in two steps.

The first requires applicants to send documents with details on the bike and its cost and their own data, including your proof of residence.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about cycling in Austria

After the request is approved and you buy your cargo bike, the second step needs to be completed. It involves sending the invoice for the cargo bike, including a picture of it, and other information, including your bank account details, so that the payment can be made to your account.

In other words, the funding comes only after you’ve purchased the bike, but it is confirmed beforehand – so you don’t need to worry about buying a bike and ultimately paying the total price for it.

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