Trams around the Ring

21 Sep

A number of years ago now the City of Vienna changed the pattern of tram traffic on the Ringstraße. I’m afraid it is my belief, and not only mine, that they only did this to make money (granted, off the tourists, which may make the change more palatable to residents), uncaring of the inconvenience to anyone taking the Ring trams regularly.

That is, in the good old days, there were two lines that went in circles around the first district. You only had to know that the one on the inner ring, the Nr. 1 tram, went clockwise and the one across the Ring on the outer circuit, the Nr. 2 tram,  went counter-clockwise. In those days you could get anywhere on the Ring quickly and without changing. And if you were a tourist you could get an overview of this incredibly important thoroughfare for the price of a normal ticket.

Inconvenience Nr. 1: It took me, a regular passenger around the Ring, at least five years to get used to the new patterns. At first I kept ending up in the 4th district when I was trying–late, as usual–to get to the Konzerthaus. In fact, last week I was at Schwedenplatz and a little old lady confided in me that she has lived in Vienna for 90 years and has never adjusted to the change. She wanted to know if the tram she was boarding would take her to the Opera. It would, but just barely, being the one that now trundles off into the 4th.

Inconvenience Nr. 2: There are now a number of places I can only reach by changing twice, where before I only had to change once. (Tip to public transportation authorities: Passengers love this.)

Inconvenience Nr. 3: Where before I had two possibilities for getting to the Konzerthaus, for example, I afterwards only had one (until the 71 was extended to the old Stock Exchange). (Next tip to the public transportation authorities: Passengers love this even more.)

All of this was done, ostensibly, in the name of making life easier for passengers. Hard to believe. I am actually one of the lucky ones. At least for me one trip I take regularly (two or three times a year to visit a friend in the 2nd district) has become easier through the changes.

Why did I mention money at the beginning? Because below is a photo of the travesty now called the “Ring Tram”–a special tram that goes all the way around the Ring, for which you need to buy a special ticket that costs about three times as much as a normal ticket. 😦 Not a good move.



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