Austria is offering free public transportation for a year, but you have to get a specific tattoo first

Austria railway
Austria is offering one year of free public transportation to people who get "KlimaTicket" tattoos.Tinieder/Getty Images
  • Austria is offering a year of free public transportation to people willing to get a tattoo.

  • The tattoo must include "KlimaTicket," the name of Austria's eco-friendly public transport pass.

  • The country's climate minister promoted the campaign, which received some backlash.

Austria is offering free public transportation for one year to people willing to get the name of its local travel pass — KlimaTicket — tattooed on their body.

Austria first introduced KlimaTicket in October 2021 to promote public transportation as a "climate-friendly alternative to motorized individual transport," its website said.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said road transport is the largest source of carbon emissions, and the country aims to reduce private car use by 16% by 2024.

A popup tattoo parlor shop has appeared at different events across the country this summer, Euronews reported, sporting a banner that reads: "Action that gets under your skin."

KlimaTicket's official Instagram account touted one such event in a July post ahead of a local music festival. The post included an infographic showing different tattoo illustrations, including a railcar with the word "KlimaTicket" on the front and a mouth ingesting a pill that says, "klima."

In the comment section, some people laughed at the prospect of asking young residents to permanently alter their bodies for public transportation. Six people have so far participated, however, the outlet reported.

Austria's climate minister, Leonore Gewessler, supported the campaign by attending the Frequency Festival and sporting a fake tattoo. Euronews reported that the tattoo read, "Gewessler takes the lead." In a second video the minister posted about the campaign, the comment section was mixed with both praise and alarm.

Gewessler defended the campaign in a recent TV interview, the Telegraph reported.

"This has been carried out with great care. It is only done during daylight and only offered to people over the age of 18," she said, adding that "the people who get the tattoos mostly already have some."

Still, some prominent voices spoke out against the stunt, including Henrike Brandstötter, a lawmaker for the liberal NEOS party.

"Offering people money for putting advertising under their skin reveals an unacceptable view of humanity from a government minister," the translated X post read, according to the Telegraph.

Representatives for Gewessler and KlimaTicket did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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