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Austria Offers Youth Complimentary Rail Journeys in Exchange for Tattoos

by Holly

Austria has introduced an innovative initiative targeting young travelers, inviting them to obtain tattoos in return for free rail trips. Over the weekend, KlimaTicket Austria, a nationwide campaign promoting rail travel, set up booths at music festivals and extended an enticing offer of a year’s worth of complimentary travel to festival attendees who agreed to get a tattoo.

The ephemeral tattoo parlors, operating under the banner “Aktion geht unter die Haut” (Action that gets under your skin), have made appearances at several summer events.

This unconventional campaign rewards environmentally conscious festival-goers with rail travel valued at $2000, provided they choose from a selection of approved KlimaTicket tattoo designs.

As reported by Salzburger Nachrichten, six individuals took advantage of this unique promotion at the Frequency Festival over the weekend.

During the previous month, approximately thirty participants at the Electric Love festival also accepted the offer of free ink in exchange for free rail access. However, critics contend that this scheme is exploiting young people.

Austria’s Climate Minister, Leonore Gewessler, who herself attended the festival in St Pölten, asserted that all participants who chose to receive tattoos did so with full understanding and willingness.

“This has been carried out with great care. It is only done during daylight and only offered to people over the age of 18,” she explained to a local TV station.

Yet, Gewessler faced criticism after sharing a photo of a temporary tattoo on social media, which read: “Gewessler takes the lead.”

Florian Klenk, Editor of Vienna Newspaper Falter, accused her of displaying extreme “cynicism,” using young people’s skin as a platform for political gains.

Despite the controversy, the organization defended the campaign, highlighting the popularity of the tattoo artists at the festivals.

“The feedback at the festivals was extremely positive,” stated Jakob Lambert, Director of One Mobility GmbH, the operator of the KlimaTicket initiative, which offers an integrated public transport pass priced at €1,095 ($2000) annually.

Lambert clarified that many participants already had existing tattoos and opted to add one more to their collection.

Launched in 2021, the KlimaTicket, translating to “climate ticket,” aims to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change by encouraging Austrians to switch from private vehicles to public transportation. Currently, 245,000 people in Austria possess a KlimaTicket, which grants unlimited travel for around $6 per day. The initiative was introduced fifteen years after its initial proposal.

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