Eating on the Vienna subway has been banned for almost five years. Almost a thousand warnings have been issued this year alone. What happens now?
Since January 2019, food has been banned in Vienna’s subway: croissants, cheese sandwiches, and the like must stay outside! The ban on eating on the subway network was introduced almost five years ago and was met with plenty of skepticism and criticism, as a “Heute” survey showed. However, Wiener Linien took a different view.
“Every day, around two million passengers use the stations and vehicles of Wiener Linien. Where many people come together, a certain degree of rules and consideration is needed to ensure pleasant and conflict-free interaction. Our passengers have been asking for a ban on eating for many years. A vote showed that the majority wanted a general ban on eating,” it said.
One year after the ban was introduced, in January 2020, 647 warnings had already been issued. Then came the coronavirus, and the eating ban faded into the background, not least due to the introduction of the mask requirement. Accordingly, the number of warnings also fell sharply. Wiener Linien monitored compliance with the mask requirement. The security staff usually first point out the ban on eating verbally before an additional charge is due. Violations of the house rules cost 50 euros.
Since the mask requirement was lifted in February 2023, the situation has changed. According to Wiener Linien, 968 warnings have been recorded this year.
There were hardly any fines: “Our passengers got used to the ban on eating very quickly, which is why in most cases it remained a warning,” explains a spokeswoman. There were 237 assaults on Wiener Linien staff members last year, ranging from physical to verbal abuse. It was impossible to find out how many of these were related to the ban on eating.
And what about extending the ban to streetcars or buses? At present, Wiener Linien rejects this idea. An extension is not currently being considered, they say, in response to a “Heute” inquiry. So, snacking is still allowed on streetcars and buses.
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