Fifteen years after it was first proposed, Austria has finally officially introduced its Klimaticket, or ‘climate ticket,’ an annual ticket with unlimited access to all public transportation for the price of just €3 ($3.50) per day.
The implementation of the Klimaticket comes just after the country announced a strict new carbon tax. The government hopes that the accessible and affordable public transportation option will encourage more people to ditch their cars in favor of trains, buses, and trams.
The implementation of the ticket was spearheaded by Austria’s Green Party “superminister” Leonore Gewessler. Although the concept of a national public transportation pass is nothing new in Europe, what sets Austria’s apart is the low cost. The annual pass costs just €1,095 ($1,267). For comparison, a similar option in the Netherlands costs €3,066 ($3,500). Although the program has cost the government $278 million, it hopes that it will pay off by contributing towards the country’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040.
For customers, it’s not just the low price tag that’s alluring. The single ticket eliminates the need for multiple tickets for different modes of transportation and makes spontaneous trips easier as individuals no longer need to pre-purchase or estimate ticket costs. As for the environment, the benefits are clear. An electric train uses just 55 percent of the energy used by even an electric vehicle.
If successful, the Klimaticket could provide a blueprint for other countries looking to cut emissions with more comprehensive public transportation options. The Netherlands and Germany are both investigating implementing similar programs.
This story is part of our ‘Best of 2021’ series highlighting our top solutions from the year. Today we’re featuring policymaking solutions.