Doing stuff in Innsbruck and Austria - one of a series of pages for Americans abroad:

Riding the bus

        As in most European cities, riding the bus is the way most citizens get around Innsbruck. The busses provide very convenient transportation, and you can't claim to understand the culture if you don't understand the busses.

        The main premise is that everyone wants fast efficient transportation. Some of the results that may surprise an American are (1) long distances between bus stops; (2) fast starts, turns, and stops; (3) a hustle off - hustle on approach at each stop; and (4) drivers who drive away from persons arriving the slightest bit late to get on the bus. Most everyone travels faster this way - but a few people don't travel at all.

        There are three ways to pay:
1. Buy a bus pass for a week or a month, either from a machine (as at the Marktplatz nexus) or at the Tourist Information. Passes cost less than the price of one fare a day and let you ride as much as you like from Igls through all of Innsbruck to Hungerburg and Arzl (but not Rum, Thauer, and Hall). If you'll use the bus much, this is the only way to go.
2. Buy tickets for individual rides, again usually from a machine. One of these pre-bought tickets must be validated each time you get on a bus; that requires sticking it into a box (inside the bus) that stamps the ticket with the time and date. The ticket is then good for that ride, but not thereafter.
3. Pay the driver when you get on. This is the most expensive and cumbersome way to ride the bus.

       If you have a pass or a pre-purchased ticket, you should get on at the middle or back doors. Only if you need to pay the driver do you get on at the front. One is expected to get on quickly. Opening a middle or rear door requires pushing a button (usually green) on the side of the bus.

       As on American busses, front seats are reserved for the elderly or infirm if they are present. Wheelchairs, baby carriages, bicycles, and large luggage ride in the middle. It's courteous to help someone with the first two.

       Getting off the bus is trickier than an American expects. Once an upcoming stop is announced, someone must push a button to alert the drive to stop to let passengers exit, or else the driver may speed past the stop assuming no one wants off. "Wagen hält" means that the bus should stop. A button must also be pushed to get any one particular door to open - even though the bus has stopped and other doors have opened. Many Americans have been seen standing impatiently waiting for bus doors to open - with the bus stopped, and other doors of the bus open - not knowing that the push of a button at that particular door is required too.


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