I will start off by saying, that my first day in Vienna was lovely and a day I will never forget. I got to see Circumhorizontal arc and had a wonderful stay at the Melia Hotel. However, my last day there wasn’t as great as I had hoped. Which is why I couldn’t wait to get the heck out of there.
So normally I’m not the biggest fan of the metro system, especially in foreign countries. You’re underground, you don’t have service or a phone plan in my case, all the stops are in a different language and getting off at the wrong stop can sometimes become dangerous. Normally, not in every station but in most, they are dirty and not the safest place to be. They usually have many pickpocketing going on and sometimes even worse. Being a solo female traveler, I personally prefer to stay out of any situation that can harm me (clearly), so I only use the metro system if it’s necessary. By necessary I mean, if something is super far and would cost me a fortune, then I will take the metro.
So my second day in Vienna, I woke up early, packed up my stuff, checked out and left it with the hotel lobby. I really wanted to go see the Schönbrunn Palace, because I heard it was breathtaking and what kind of a girl, doesn’t like a beautiful palace. I asked the hotel staff what was the best way of getting there and if there were any tours that I can take. They simply gave me a map of the metro and told me it’s the fastest and cheapest way to get there, otherwise it would be a 30min cab ride. They also mentioned that it was safe and clean. It seemed simple, so I took the map and headed to the subway station.
When I got there, I thought it was pretty strange that unlike MOST cities I’ve been to (which are many), they don’t have a single person working there. Normally you at least have someone to ask simple questions to, like which direction do I need to go to or which ticket should I buy.
I thought it was strange, so I ended up just buying a 24hr ticket so that I wouldn’t accidentally get the wrong ticket. But in all reality I was only really planning on seeing the palace and coming back to my hotel, to grab my bags and go to Prague. The ticket cost me 7,60 Euro, so I put into the machine 10 Euro bill and put the change in my front pocket of my jacket.
I heard the train coming in from above me, I asked someone which direction to go and quickly ran upstairs. I thought it was completely ODD and weird that there was no place to scan your ticket. There was no metal bar, it seemed like anyone can just go on the train for free, without anyone checking. It almost made me mad, because I thought I paid for no reason..
I quickly got on the train and found a seat. The train started moving and not even 2min past and a man was walking around the train checking people’s tickets. He asked me for mine in German and I gladly took it out to show him. He looked at my ticket and said “This is not validated!”, I looked at him with such confusion, as though he was crazy because I just bought the ticket 2min ago. I told him that I had just bought it and then showed him the exact change in my pocket from it and he said “It is no good, you have to get off train, NOW!”
I was soooo confused and said “WHAT!?! WHY???”. He clearly didn’t know English very well and was trying to explain to me in German the problem. He asked me for identification and I gladly showed him my passport and HE TOOK IT and wouldn’t give it back to me!
At this point I was getting really heated over this whole ridiculous situation, that made no sense to me. He was trying to have his other friend that worked there and spoke better English, to try and explain to me what the problem was. We got off the train and they told me again that my ticket is not validated and that I would have to pay a penalty fee of 103 Euros!
What?????!!!!??? For what!?!?!
I couldn’t stop saying “This is crazy!”
They were pointing out to me that another girl was also getting a ticket and that she was paying for it. I really didn’t care about her getting a ticket, I cared about the fact that I just bought a ticket and now, getting a ticket for buying a ticket!
They were showing me on the wall of the subway system, that it’s written that it needs to be validated! Of course, this was written in GERMAN!
No matter what I said, they were just not having it and didn’t care. All they wanted was the money and were getting mad at me, because I was “wasting their time”. What I can’t seem to understand is why the machine doesn’t print out the DATE and TIME! Like any normal metro system does! Or why no one works at that station, but instead they have a million people giving out tickets to everyone.
They told me I had 2 choices; 1 I would pay them the fee or 2 they are going to take me to the POLICE!
I was so frustrated, upset, hurt and angry, I didn’t know what to do. Again, I had no cellphone program or wifi, I was all alone and THEY HAD MY PASSPORT!
CLEARLY, no one wants to end up in a police station in a foreign country. They also said that if I go there, they will make me pay a even higher fee. I had no choice but to go to the ATM machine and give them the money.
Meanwhile, there were 4 more people getting tickets by some of the other guys that worked there. To me, I think it’s a complete scam to tourist, who can’t read German!
But I gave him the money and got my passport back.
I was given a receipt and a one way ticket to use. As if, I was ever gonna go on that ridiculous metro again.
I was let out of the metro at some random exit. Which luckily for me, I knew where I was, since I was exploring a big area of Vienna by foot and ended up grabbing a taxi from there, the day before.
I didn’t want to see the palace anymore or anything to be honest. I was so upset by that whole experience that lasted a little over 30min. All I wanted to do was grab my things from my hotel and get the hell out of that city.
Clearly, this is a reoccurring problem that keeps happening to tourist, every few minutes and no one seems to care. In 30mins I saw 5 people getting tickets, 6 including myself. Almost all of us had bought tickets, but they weren’t validated.
For this reason, I am not too fond of Vienna and probably won’t be back.