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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article6 September 20231 min read

Austria offered free public transport pass for a tattoo

In order to get more people travelling on public transport, the Austrian climate ministry and Klimaticket embarked on a unique and divisive campaign this summer: offering free annual travel passes for people who get a “Klimaticket” tattoo.

The novel promotional campaign has taken place at two festivals in Austria this summer, where festival attendees were invited to get a tattoo incorporating the pass name “Klimaticket” in exchange for 12 months of free public travel across Austria. The campaign received around 10 participants a day at each festival, with the offer of free public transport limited to the first three people at each event who got the Klimaticket tattoo.

Klimaticket is the annual pass allowing unlimited travel on all buses, trains, trams and cable-cars in Austria’s public transport network, introduced to support Austria's goal of reducing car use by 16% by 2040. The annual pass costs €1,095 or around €3 a day.

The campaign was promoted by Leonore Gewesseler, the Austrian Climate Minister and Green MP, at the recent Frequency Festival in St Pölten in August. Gewesseler insisted that the promotion was unproblematic during a local TV interview following the event, with the offer only available “during daylight and only offered to people over the age of 18”.

The campaign has proved controversial. However, Ms Gewessler reassured that “the people who get the tattoos mostly already have some” and representatives from Klimaticket have said that response from festival attendees has been “extremely positive” and the campaign had been well received. There are currently no more events planned for 2023, and it remains undecided on whether the free ticket offer will resume next year.

Although it is too early to know how successful the promotional campaign has been, the Klimaticket has been praised as a way to reduce carbon emissions and improving the local environment through subsidised public transport. In order to meet environmental and climate obligations, more countries may adopt similar subsidy schemes over the next decade – and use attention-grabbing campaigns to advertise them.




Publication date
6 September 2023
  • Collective passenger transport
  • Austria