In Vienna motor vehicles are permitted to use designated bays along the rail so long they use them responsibly, following traffic rules. If car drivers park along these roads they must make sure they leave enough space for trams to pass unobstructed. In any case, the rail doubles as road for motor vehicles.
At the weekend, when riding on one of the trams to the Prater Park, we witnessed drama involving a tram and a private car.
It was late in the afternoon after wandering around town that we got into tram number 1 at Schwedenplatz. On reaching Rudolf von Alt-platz, in the third district, the tram stopped for longer than usual and all passengers were wondering what the problem was. After some time, the tram driver announced that the delay was caused by a small private car that was parked too close to the rail line. Sure enough, if he’d tried to pass, he’d have knocked off the rear view mirror. The motorist had parked their vehicle inconsiderately.
The tram driver pressed the horn several times to alert the owner of the car in case they were somewhere close by and had a legitimate reason to have parked there and that way. The owner was nowhere to be seen.After waiting for sometime, the driver made a number of phone calls. After about ten minutes, the fire brigade truck and a police arrived within minutes of each other. They all talked with the tram driver in low tones; probably trying to establish if the driver of the offending vehicle had been given enough time to rescue their car. Before the police arrived, the firemen seemed to be discussing whether to lift the tiny car out of the way, but they seemed not to be in agreement. All parties took photos of the car’s number plates.
As spectators and the police watched, one fireman went back to the fire truck, took out cutters, and went straight to the offending vehicle. It remained to the spectators’ imagination to guess what he was going to do to the car. Suddenly, the owner emerged from nowhere . She was a woman in her early fifties. She signalled the police and the firemen to move aside, to which they compiled. Without addressing any of the people around, she unlocked her car, got inside and drove away mumbling inaudibly.
“What will happen to the woman after this?” That was the question in most spectators’ minds.
Was she going to get away with it after the firemen and the police had been summoned to the place because of her? What about the delay which might have cost Wiener Linien some money?
One spectator volunteered to give answers: ” I don’t know. I hope that Wiener Linien won’t send her a bill for delaying the tram and that the fire brigade department and the police will just let her off with a written warning for wasting their time.”
‘”How sad that somebody can risk their car and a possibility of pumping out a couple of thousand Euros because of careless parking. She must have been very upset-minded to park her car so close to the rail line.” That was what one passenger said.
After that dramatic incident, the train continued on its route.