A few months ago, I traveled to Vienna to see my family. While I was there, I used the public transportation system and made observations of the other modes of transportation that are used in the city and compared them to the various modes of transportation that we have here in Seattle. In my opinion, Vienna’s transportation system is superior.
When people ask me what my favorite things about Vienna are, one of the answers, if not the first, will be “public transportation system.” Why? First of all, there is no need for a car in Vienna. They actually are quite a nuisance to have and to drive in the city, and you must be a gutsy driver to be up for the task. A Vespa or motorcycle would be nice to have, especially if you travel frequently out of the city where an S-Bahn (train) does not travel to.
Bikes and scooters are also a popular option, no matter what season it is, what your age may be, or what your profession is. In Vienna, they also have bike lanes that are taken very seriously, compared to here, where the majority of us ignore the bike lanes.
Then there is the public transportation: Not only is it quite cheap, but is it extremely reliable and can bring you around the city. There are four public transportation options: buses, trams (street trolleys), the U-Bahn (subways) and the S-Bahn, which are faster suburban trains, which go to towns outside the city. They always come on time, and you can mix and match to make your perfect route. Also most, if not all stops, are within a reasonable walking distance.
Transportation in Seattle is a different story. Unless you have a car or someone to drive you, traveling can become extremely inconvenient, especially if you need to travel outside the city and need to be somewhere at a certain time, which is frequent for a lot of people. Not to mention that traffic in Seattle is now worse than ever with the increasing population.
Even though Seattle has a bus system, the stops are very limited, especially right now with all the budget and route cuts. To even get to a stop, you frequently have to drive or bike there. Not to mention that the buses here don’t always show up on time, or even show up at all. The reliability is definitely not the best.
Seattle is an advocator for bikers, but bikers share the road with cars, buses and other motor vehicles. Not only do I find that dangerous, but also semi annoying: bikers are not as fast as cars, and do not have that much protection if they get hit.
I personally believe that Seattle is too widespread, and not as condense as Vienna. You are not able to walk from one destination to the next, for example if you need to get from Pike Place Market to Capitol Hill.