Imagine getting to see your favorite band perform for free or going to the museum without paying for the ticket. This dream can come true if you don’t travel in your private car in Vienna! Austria’s most populous city has decided to reward people who commute using public transport, cycles or just walk. Apart from the natural advantage of you getting a healthy dose of sunlight, fresh air, and exercise, you also get free concert or museum tickets! It will also cut down the CO2 level in the air.
A smartphone app has been launched that will be tested by one thousand users from February 26. In six months’ time, it will be open for public use if the experiment is a successful one. How does the app function? It tracks and registers the means of transport you are using. By doing so, the app calculates how much CO2 you are saving when compared to a car ride. Vienna city council member Peter Hanke said, “We want to reward CO2 reduction with a cultural experience.” He also commented on how the “culture tokens” may nudge people to make more eco-friendly choices.
Once you have saved 20 kilograms of CO2, you will be rewarded with a token. According to Christina Hubin, project leader, this amount of CO2 can be easily saved in 2 weeks if you commute without a car in the city. What do you do with the token? You need to exchange it for tickets at any of the four cultural institutions that are participating in this endeavor. A classical concert venue, a theatre, the Vienna Museum, and an art exhibition space, are a part of this initiative. For the first six months, the institutions will not be compensated.
The city has around 1.8 million inhabitants and a smooth public transport network. The annual travel cards for public transport come to 1 euro per day only. The conservative People’s Party (OeVP) and the Greens have formed a coalition and aim to be climate neutral by 2040. The government’s target is ten years ahead of the EU’s plan.