Bits and BobsFestivalgoers who get tattooed with Austria's public transport logo receive a year of complimentary public transportation.

Austria offers free rail travel if you get a tattoo

Around 10 people per day participated, but free rail travel was limited to the first three with the KlimaTicket design.
Around 10 people per day participated, but free rail travel was limited to the first three with the KlimaTicket design. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock/Nejron Photo

Austria has raised eyebrows by introducing an unconventional incentive to promote its country-wide public transport scheme. Festivalgoers are being offered a year of free public transport if they get a tattoo reading 'KlimaTicket,' the name of the transportation programme.

This unique campaign was spearheaded by Leonore Gewesseler, Austria's Green MP and climate minister. She endorsed the initiative at the Frequency Festival in St Pölten by donning a temporary tattoo herself.

The scheme operates through pop-up tattoo parlors that have appeared at various events this summer. Attendees are invited to tattoo 'KlimaTicket' in exchange for a free year of Austria-wide train travel.

Visitors at the events where the tents were present were given the chance to choose from various tattoo designs related to public transport, sustainability, and climate change, without any cost. Campaign organisers note that approximately 10 individuals per day at each festival have participated.

Nevertheless, the opportunity for complimentary train travel was restricted to the initial three individuals who received the KlimaTicket design at each occurrence. While the promotion has been embraced by some, it hasn't been without its share of controversy.

Critics argue that encouraging young adults to get tattoos for a transportation ticket is questionable behaviour. Social media users have expressed concerns about the campaign's impact on youth. Some have accused Gewesseler of exploiting young people's skin for political advertising.

Despite the criticism, Gewesseler defends the campaign, stating that it was executed with care. She highlights that the tattoos are offered only to individuals over 18 and during daylight hours. She also notes that most of those who participated already had tattoos.

The scheme has garnered mixed reactions, with some labelling it "sustainably stupid" while others praise it for creativity. The company selling the climate ticket reports positive feedback from festivals. However, the future of this eyebrow-raising campaign remains uncertain, as no more events are planned for the year, and its continuation in 2024 is yet to be confirmed.

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