Would you get a tattoo in exchange for one year of free public transit access?, Source: Depositphotos

Free public transport pass for a tattoo: Austria’s shocking pro-climate act

Free public transport pass for a tattoo: Austria’s shocking pro-climate act

The promotion is meant to make public transport attractive to young people in a way that makes it look rebellious

Back in October 2021, Austria launched Klimaticket - an annual pass, which grants access to all public transport networks in the country. Unlike, Germany’s more recent ‘Deutschlandicket’, it’s not that affordable as it comes up to 1,095 euros for 12 months.

Rather than find ways to lower the price of the pass, the country’s authorities have decided to promote it in a somewhat unusual and edgy way – by inviting music festival goers to get a tattoo of the name of the pass. In return, in addition to sporting a new tat, the inked volunteer would get a free Klimaticket for one year.

Apart from the obvious issue with the fact that the body modification act can last a lifetime, whereas the reward is of a somewhat limited nature, it was only the first three people who volunteered at a festival that would get the free pass.

The campaign organisers have said that ten people a day have opted for the tattoo at each of the festivals where the Klimaticket was promoted (sometimes even personally by the Austrian climate minister Leonore Gewessler).

Controversial way to promote public transport

That means that many who got the tattoos turned their bodies into a promotional billboard for the government’s travel scheme and received nothing for it.

The government’s marketing routine has stirred controversy in the generally conservative Austrian society.

Der Standard newspaper has apparently described the offer as “sustainably stupid” while the Salzburger Nachrichten called it “naked cynicism”. The climate minister has tried to defend it by saying that this has been only offered to people over the age of 18 and the ones who have opted for it have already had other tattoos on their skin.

It remains to be seen how successful the promotional campaign has been, and there’s no word if the controversial campaign will be repeated next year. Currently, 245,000 Austrians (out of 9 million in total) use Klimaticket, with the youth and elderly having the right to discounted fares.



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