No, you can’t eat on subway trains (U-bahn) in Vienna, Austria and here’s what may happen if you do

Food ban graphic on subway (U-bahn) train in Vienna, Austria – copyright OhMyVienna

A recent article in the Austrian newspaper Heute reminded me about an article I had planned on writing for a while here on Oh My Vienna.

An article about eating on subway trains (called U-bahn in German) in Vienna, Austria or, more to the point, why you can’t eat on an underground train, and what could happen to you if you do.

That’s because, a couple of times over the last few years, I have seen people eating on U-bahn trains in Vienna and, not only found it annoying, but also knew it was against the law.

Here then is what you need to know about eating on the U-bahn in Vienna, whether you are a resident of the city or just planning on making a visit to the Austrian capital.

No, you can’t eat on subway (U-bahn) trains in Vienna, Austria

The ban on food and drink on subway trains in Vienna came into effect in January, 2019 a few years after I had moved to Austria’s capital city and, frankly, I was thrilled.

Especially when stickers went up on the U-bahn trains reminding people (see photo above).

After all, it is never pleasant to be trapped in an enclosed subway carriage while someone close to you is scarfing down a Käsekrainer (sausage filled with melted cheese), or sitting next to you dropping flakes from a fresh croissant all over your clean coat.

That is why Wiener Linien, the company that operates the subway system, not only banned eating on subway trains in Vienna, but also enforces that ban.

That means, whether you have just bought a Käsekrainer, a burger, a pastry from Ströck (a local bakery chain) or any of the other wonderful food available in this fabulous city, while you can carry it with you on the train (in a bag please), you cannot eat it while you are still on the train.

Of course, there are always those who don’t know about the ban on food, which is why if you are caught eating food on a Vienna subway train, a Wiener Linien employee will likely warn you first that it is not allowed.

You can still eat on a U-bahn platform in Vienna, just not on a train

How much is the fine for eating on the subway in Vienna?

According to Wiener Linien, there have been almost 1,000 documented warnings about not eating food on Vienna’s underground trains in 2023 so far.

Warnings, I might add, that are Wiener Linien’s nice way of dealing with the problem as, by rights and the law, they could fine you €50, and force you to pay.

You can, however, still eat on the subway platforms — with so many snack places next to or in subway stations, I would imagine some would go bankrupt if you could not — just remember to put your food away before boarding a train.

You can eat on Vienna’s buses and trams

Oddly and, annoyingly I might add, you can still eat on Vienna’s buses and trams.

Oddly, I say, as both are also operated by Wiener Linien, who have apparently decided the ban is not necessary on those modes of transportation in the city.

What the rational for that is, I have no idea, but if you are a snacker on public transportation it is still allowed on the bus and on the ‘Bim’ (what the Viennese call their trams).

About Michelle Topham

I'm a journalist, and the founder of Oh My Vienna. I have been living in Vienna since 2016 as an immigrant, because 'expat' is just a fancy word that means exactly that.