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Warning for using Vienna City Card for train travel

A warning that there is a zero tolerance policy for fare evasion on the OBB train between Vienna and the airport. OBB is the Austrian train network. It runs the SBaan trains from Vienna airport to Vienna central. We had bought Vienna City Cards to travel from airport and around the city, which comes with a transit pass. That transit pass does not go all the way to the airport. Which is not clear on the transit map. Or the app. I am no stranger to riding public transit in Europe, so I would like to warn others.

If you want a transit pass that goes from the airport and includes city of Vienna, you have to go to an OBB ticket machine. Don't use the Wein app. It won't let you buy the correct ticket. You can get a one way CAT ticket (the nonstop train), but we wanted to ride the local (which is not that much slower). And we wanted to go back and forth from our airport hotel. I would advise double checking with the OBB ticket office because the website and app are not clear.

The reason that I know this is that my husband, son, and I were returning to our airport hotel when the fare enforcement team came on the train one stop before the airport. We showed them our passes, which we thought were perfectly valid, and got slapped with a €120 fine - each. What makes me upset is that we were not trying to evade fare paying. When I asked the enforcement agent what ticket I should have bought he just said I needed to use the machine and buy a different one. When my husband gave his credit card to the agent, I did notice that the team was taking fines from at least 6 other people.

We decided to cut out a second day of sightseeing because, even after checking with the OBB ticket booth at the airport the next day where the clerk just shook his head with mention of the City Card, I was still not confident that I knew what fare was necessary. I assume that a second offense would be much more.

Posted by
3840 posts

From the Vienna City Card website:

“The ticket includes all available transport connections between the airport and the city of Vienna.”

This is for the “transfer” Vienna City Card, I assume you bought the basic card? The transfer card is 17€ more over 2 days.

Posted by
9144 posts

That transit pass does not go all the way to the airport. Which is not clear on the transit map.

coupled with

the fare enforcement team came on the train one stop before the airport.

Is there any wonder why some folks caught like this think it is a scam or trap to stick it to the tourists

Posted by
1456 posts

This is also a common occurrence on the Berlin S-Bahn ticketing to Potsdam, the AB fare ends at Wannsee, one stop before Potsdam - riders NEED the ABC ticket to go to Potsdam from Berlin.

Posted by
208 posts

@periscope I've read plenty of stories about Schwarzfahrer/in getting busted on the U- and S-bahn in Berlin. When i was there in April I bought the Berlin Card that covered all zones, just to be on the safe side. I saw some gentlemen get busted by the fare controllers on the Ringbahn a few days later, too.

@ the OP, I am so sorry. 120 Euro x 3. Ouch.

Posted by
16956 posts

Thanks for the reminder. Your pain is our gain.

Posted by
13363 posts

Those getting caught using the wrong ticket to Potsdam from Berlin Hbf simply didn't pay attention to the transit map or ignored it. That tells you that Potsdam is in zone C

Posted by
2 posts

I bought the ticket through the app, which was not as clear as the website. The ticket machines are clearer.

As a contrast, we just arrived in Barcelona and the signs make it very clear that you need a special airport ticket. Also, there are fare gates, so that if you did have the wrong ticket, you wouldn't even be allowed on the platform. And if you arrived at the airport with the wrong ticket, you would just have to buy an airport ticket to get through the gate.

Other that this experience, I highly recommend Vienna. It has a nice feel.