Hard to predict? – Trains overcrowded: ÖBB struggles with passenger return

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Hard to predict?  – Trains overcrowded: ÖBB struggles with passenger return

“If you don’t have a seat reservation, get out” – a phrase that passengers hear on ÖBB trains. Annoyance among passengers and excessive demands on employees seem to be no exception lately. The national mask obligation (valid until June 1) has not even fallen yet. Competitor Westbahn has already smelled a rat.

Happened last Thursday in a Bundesbahn-Railjet in Vienna-Meidling: “We will not leave as long as passengers are standing in the aisles – this train has no standing room! If you don’t have a reservation, please get out.” The conductor has to repeat the request several times until the last stragglers get out of the car grumbling, even in the first class some of them sit together before the delayed train leaves.

“Take the next train, you will get a 25 euro voucher at the counter, thank you for your understanding”, said the speaker politely but firmly. There doesn’t seem to be much understanding.

Unusually high number of customers
It was to be expected that there would be a lot going on on the day of the Rammstein concert in Klagenfurt and just before a window day. Nevertheless, the railway currently has an unusually large number of customers. Climate ticket, appalling fuel prices, but also the desire to travel after the corona pandemic has leveled off are probably the main reasons.

In recent weeks, the occupancy figures of the “pre-Corona period” have already been significantly exceeded, by up to ten percent, they say. Long-distance cross-border traffic and especially southern and western routes is in high demand, confirms ÖBB spokesman Bernhard Rieder when asked about krone.at. “Environmentally friendly travel is all the rage!” he says cheerfully.

“Enough space during the day”
Capacities are exhausted during rush hour, “but we have plenty of space on all routes all day.” Overcrowded trains are the exception. We offer extra trains especially for the holidays and ask you to reserve a seat in time for the planned journey (such a reservation costs the traveler three euros extra, please note).

“With a focus on voluntary reservations, steering is still possible at the moment. If utilization continues to increase, further control measures should be considered. A general reservation requirement is is not currently being considered,” says Rieder.

Rumors about new measures
There have been recent rumors of a possible reservation requirement and unofficially it is said that short-haul travelers could be transferred from long-distance trains to local trains to free up capacity. In any case, real-time information about the occupation of trains should be expanded. The federal railways apparently want to go into more detail about planned measures in the near future – meanwhile it goes on: “Please book!”

“No Rocket Science”
For the upcoming Whitsun weekend, the only ÖBB competitor, the Westbahn, feels its chance and is already slandering the negative BB headlines: “Foresee that with the temporary decline of Corona and the cheap climate ticket, demand will increase noticeably, that was really no rocket science now. That’s why we are shortening our timetable again on June 12,” says general manager Thomas Posch.

The Westbahn’s double-decker trains were far from congested this past long weekend. Posch: “Once again, we call on the responsible authorities to quickly accept our offer of talks about alternate ticket recognition between Westbahn and ÖBB before further eroding passenger confidence in the rail system.”

Tangente is also always closed on Fridays
Last but not least, the ÖBB considers the passenger himself responsible: “To be honest, you have to say that it is more a steering problem than a capacity problem,” the APA quoted an ÖBB insider as quoted a week ago. “De Tangente is always closed on Friday afternoon, no matter how many lanes you build.”

Source: Krone

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