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The Viennese government has disclosed details about the upcoming U1 extension.

Officials to spend €600mn on U-Bahn extension

The Viennese government has disclosed details about the upcoming U1 extension.

Viennese Social Democratic (SPÖ) Finance Councillor Renate Brauner said yesterday (Weds) thousands of jobs would be created by the expanded service of the underground train line. She said her party, the Greens and public transport agency Wiener Linien agreed on extending the service with five new stations towards the southern city limit.

Greens Vice Mayor Maria Vassilakou explained that the U1 U-Bahn would have its final destination at Therme Wien, Vienna’s only spa, in 2017. The service currently connects Leopoldau in north-eastern Vienna with Reumann Square in Vienna-Favoriten.

Vassilakou said adding an alternative route to the upcoming service would be possible. She said every second train could lead to the Rothneusiedl area instead of Therme Wien. The Greens Vienna party chief said this option would allow the Viennese government to react flexibly to the city’s growth.

The SPÖ initially wanted to extend the service towards Rothneusiedl but put the project on hold due to high costs. Around 600 million Euros will be invested into the recently agreed five-stop extension in the coming years, according to Brauner who said that the city and the state would split the costs.

Therme Wien chiefs and officials working for Favoriten district – where the spa is situated – welcomed the news. They look forward to rising visitor figures thanks to the spa’s upcoming integration into the U-Bahn network – but also expressed concerns about more individual traffic in the area.

People’s Party (ÖVP) Vienna chiefs issued similar warnings yesterday. The party said southern Vienna must brace for a wave of commuters looking for a parking spot to switch to public transport. The opposition party – which is headed by Manfred Juraczka since last month – said the U-Bahn construction project would not solve any of the city’s problems.

Vassilakou promised to check Therme Wien's vicinity for properties where park & ride facilities could be set up while the Freedom Party (FPÖ) announced that the city government should have extended the U1 line southwards years ago.

Vassilakou’s urban planning department and Brauner’s financial issues office have held talks with Lower Austrian decision-makers in the past months to seek cooperation possibilities. Karl Wilfing of the ÖVP in the province of Lower Austria – which borders the federal capital – said more efforts were needed to improve the popularity of park & ride.

Wilfing suggested to reduce parking fees at multi-storey car parks in the western district of Vienna-Penzing and Donaustadt in the city’s north-east to raise usage numbers. Around half a million people travel to Vienna for work every day – most of them by car. Wilfing also appealed to the Viennese coalition to back an S-Bahn network reform. He said trains should operate more often, especially during rush hour. S-Bahn trains connect towns and cities in Lower Austria with the major stations of Vienna.

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