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Public Transportation in Vienna: Borderline Organized Crime

Public Transportation in Vienna: Borderline Organized Crime

Old Feb 4th, 2016, 01:41 PM
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Public Transportation in Vienna: Borderline Organized Crime

Honestly, after my experiences here, I recommend that you just skip Vienna altogether because there are so many better places to see, but if you do bother with it, BEWARE of their metro system. They have an oh-so-clever little system that purposely makes the validation process of their metro system confusing to tourists so that they can charge them huge fines for not validating correctly, EVEN IF YOU PURCHASE A TICKET.

When my husband and I explained that we could not find the place to validate our 48 hour passes that we had just purchased, the people at the metro screamed at us like we were criminals, told us we were stupid for not figuring it out and that it was our responsibility, and then threatened to take us to the police if we did not fork over the cash immediately (we're talking 200 Euro). I saw several other tourists in the same situation around us. We spoke with the police and they are in on the scam as well.

I was so disgusted and appalled by this treatment and could not believe it even happened that I started to look around the internet, and sure enough, this is not a new thing. I even read that these ticket patrol officers often laugh and take pride at making tourists cry and enjoy counting how much money they get in fines each day. It is a disgusting, disgusting system and I think more people need to know about it. Basically, Vienna is trying to make tourists pay for their public transport by creating ridiculous fines and rules that are targeted at punishing and intimidating them.

I found Vienna to be very xenophobic in an off-putting way, but if you do decide to go, you have been warned.
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Old Feb 4th, 2016, 01:47 PM
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I gather you speak German.
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Old Feb 4th, 2016, 04:57 PM
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Frankly I'm amazed. Have been to Vienna several times and not had any problems with the public transit. It all seemed straightforward, assuming you familiarize yourself with the instructions in advance.

If you don't do this, perhaps that is a good reason to be confused. But IMHO if you travel to other countries it's your responsibility to understand the rules and regs of public transit, driving/parking rules etc.

If you were unsure why not ask the concierge in your hotel to explain it?

And I'm sorry - but your hysterical tone doesn't really add a lot to your story - especially the note about how xenophobic people in Vienna are. We always found them to be perfectly pleasant (aside from a grouchy waiter or two that you can find in every country).
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Old Feb 4th, 2016, 07:17 PM
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Like nyt, I have visited Vienna more than once, and had no trouble with validating my transport passes - and yes, I did encounter an inspector on my very first ride on one trip.

If you think the Viennese transport police are bad, from what I read you should absolutely avoid Budapest.
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Old Feb 4th, 2016, 11:43 PM
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I had been to Prague and Budapest before this and had absolutely no problems and a great time. The place we bought our tickets in Vienna was a machine outside with nobody to ask and no signs of any kind. We went down to the metro, walked directly to the officer and showed our tickets, and that's when they started screaming in our faces about the fine. I'm sorry, but to me, there is nothing about that that is justified. It is CLEARLY an intentional way to trick foreigners into paying fines and that is the part that I find very unsettling. If we had not just bought a ticket and were trying to get a free ride out of the deal? That would be a different story. But we weren't. This is a system that purposely tries to take advantage of people -well-meaning people at that- and I find that really disturbing and feel that more people should be aware of it. I'm glad those of you who commented had a great time and no problems, but after having been to multiple places without any problems right before, I was flabbergasted by the unacceptable treatment I experienced in Vienna and hope to help others avoid a similar experience.
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Old Feb 4th, 2016, 11:56 PM
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I seriously doubt anyone is going to give up their chance to go to Vienna based on your anecdote.

Most police and officials in uniform everywhere are unpleasant. You must have led a charmed life up until this point to have found this experience so shocking.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 12:08 AM
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(As an aside, I was in the NYC subway and saw a pair of New York City transit police assault a white man who was obviously ill, pick him up by his shirt front and throw him into a mound of garbage bags that were piled up in the station. I see many tourists who've posted they've been to New York many times and never encountered anything other than wonderful people. One's individual experience, good or bad, may not be the whole story of life....)
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 12:18 AM
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"Most police and officials in uniform everywhere are unpleasant."

Sandra!

There is not much you have to know about Austria, you need a vignette to drive on the motorways and you need to compost your ticket on the trains/buses, oh yes, riding a bike on across tram lines make you fall over.

That they shouted at you is just silly and you should report them. Every time I end up talking to the police (seems annually at the moment) I nearly always end up seeing photos of their kids and discussing educational opportunities within the police force
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 12:19 AM
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Organised crime, is a very nasty thing you do not want to get involved with. They don't need to shout.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 12:23 AM
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I really don't think this system is in place to fleece tourists. The reason they have people checking is you could buy a ticket, not validate it, and use it indefinitely - therefore scamming the transit system. By validating it you can only use it for the set time you purchased it for.

This is common in many large cities in Europe and North America (I am sure it is common other places as well).

Did he have to be rude - no.

My guess is that if you had watched what others were doing there was a device before you got to the platform to validate your ticket.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 01:35 AM
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"We went down to the metro, walked directly to the officer and showed our tickets, and that's when they started screaming in our faces about the fine."

While I generally agree that the Viennese are not the most approachable people, there is something suspect with this statement. Officers (plain clothes or in uniform) do not issue tickets to persons simply standing on the platforms, or persons who approach an officer with a ticket. They board the train, tram or bus and once the doors close, announce, "Fahrkarte, bitte" or something similar. At that point, anyone without a valid ticket is escorted off at the next station or stop and issued a fine.

Or, they check passes at the top of the escalators from the platform, to catch anyone trying to exit without a valid fare card.

Still, if you have used public in Prague and Budapest (especially Budapest!), then you should be savvy-enough to know where and how to validate your ticket.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 03:16 AM
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It's funny -- people who write to complain about being "scammed" by the Paris metro ticket checkers always claim that the personnel screamed or yelled as well.

And yet those of us who live here have never heard any of this shouting, even though we see ticket checkers every day.

Has the meaning of the words 'yell' 'shout' 'scream' been changed since I went to school?
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 03:43 AM
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I had no trouble understanding the system when I went to Vienna, and unless I'm much mistaken there are English language options in the ticket machines.

Like all such systems, it's set up for local users and travel patterns, but the idea that's designed to fleece visitors is beyond paranoid nonsense - the whole world doesn't revolve around tourists. It may not go out of its way to explain everything, but it doesn't take much pre-visit research to come across a webpage like this, which explains exactly what to do:
http://www.wien.gv.at/english/transp...lic-transport/
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 04:24 AM
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OP has just registered here only to rant here.

From the name, I derive she is from India. I am sorry, Veriti, that you had this unpleasant experience, but in every European city, public transportation works like this. You buy a ticket and you have to validate it by sticking it into one of the little stamp boxes which are everywhere at the gates or on the platforms or inside the cars.

I understand that you were not familiar with the system, but your wording is totally inacceptable. Accusing police of being involved in a scam reveals that you are from a Third-World-Country.

In future, better read a guidebook carefully, especially the chapter on public transport. Lesson learned, I hope.

And do not blame this wonderful city for your own ignorance.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 04:39 AM
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I cannot imagine that these transit officials started shouting at you for no reason. Is it possible that your attitude left something to be desired?

In my limited experience most people who end up being shouted at approach the officers with a bad/rude attitude and do not comply with requests or instructions.

And I have had transit official stop me to examine my ticket in Vienna, Prague, Budapest and St Petersburg and none behaved this way - although those in St Pet do seem to be fairly grim. But this is a country still working on establishing a tradition of consumer service. But none of them ever said more to me than "Da OK".
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 04:53 AM
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Well it makes a change from speed cameras that can pick out tourists and fine only them anyway.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 05:05 AM
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IMO this is nothing more than a simple troll post. Why? It is made simply to complain and in the hopes that a whole bunch of others will boycott some location or business.

The poster tries to cast it all as some sort of good-intentioned "warning" and it is: a warning of how NOT to act.
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 05:28 AM
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Seems as though Viennese transit cops should be a little more understanding for naive tourists - 200 euros is way way too much for this crime - I have sympathy for the OP though no one else seems to.

Again the word "troll" thrown about - the OP was outraged and thus feels a need to post - put yourself in his/her shoes and you may be more sympathetic.

The word "Troll" should be banned as the accusations are often simply wrong - why would someone take so much time to post if just having a hidden agenda?

OP needs however to know there is no free ride and to board a conveyance sans valid ticket- cancelled - is always a no no.

caveat emptor!
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 05:45 AM
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I'll admit some of this behavior by the officials feeds into to my preconceived notions and interactions I have had in that part of Europe. But really - how about a compromise - a light fine or a stern warning. Wouldn't that be in the best interest of Austria rather than posts like this - there is one very similar from a few years ago. I find that there are variations in ticketing, validating that do vary from country to country. Now imagine if you don't speak that language or even fluent English; it would be confusing.

I had an experience like the OP's in Italy - forgot to validate ticket as we was running to catch the train. The conductor came up to us, looked at our tickets (we had purchased round trip), did alot of fairly loud talking (shouting?) in Italian and took the tickets. We were not sure what might come next - when we exited the train we scampered out of the station, wondering if we would be stopped by the station police. The mistake only ended up costing us a few E's to purchase the one way ticket back to our base - you can be sure we did remember to validate
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Old Feb 5th, 2016, 06:08 AM
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Vienna has more tourists than it has room for already, doesn't need to encourage more.
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