The Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) is part of the critical infrastructure and has a special responsibility for Austria, as public transport is to be guaranteed even in times of crisis.
The most important objectives are the health protection of employees, the protection of customers and the maintenance of operations, as well as the capacity to act of the ÖBB Group. The communication with the national authorities is bundled and works efficiently and fast.
Thanks to the untiring commitment of the employees, public transport can be ensured for many relevant professional groups and important goods deliveries.
Measures in freight transport
ÖBB has a key role to play in maintaining the flow of goods in Austria and in Europe and can increase its capacities in freight traffic at any time if required. Due to the area-wide production network in 12 EU countries, continuous processing of services to many countries is possible and guarantees reliable planning. Despite the current situation, freight trains and connections in Austria and Europe continue to run according to timetable and without restrictions – even to countries with entry restrictions for individuals, as the traction vehicles and personnel are exchanged at the borders.
Measures in passenger transport
Due to the measures taken by the Federal Government against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent appeal to reduce social contacts, fewer passengers are recorded. Therefore, ÖBB has restricted its timetables for the safety of employees and passengers, but not during peak hours in order to keep the passenger density low. Especially in local transport, the comprehensive maintenance of rail and bus services is important to ensure that the passengers in this in exceptional situations, particularly important groups of people, such as employees of the health care system, the police or the food trade, can reach their place of work.
Measures to protect the health of employees and users
Numerous measures are being taken to reduce the risk of contact between employees, such as suspending ticket checks, cordoning off the front boarding area and front seats in buses and reducing the number of staff at staff ticket offices while maintaining passenger information. Increased cleaning and disinfection in trains, buses, stations and stops is also taking place. To protect the employees in the administration, teleworking is being promoted and the training of around 1,600 apprentices is being converted to tele-learning and self-study.
Measures have also been taken at construction sites and infrastructure projects. As the investments and construction activities of ÖBB Infrastructure are important for the economy and jobs, ÖBB is making great efforts to continue its activities. Especially in the case of large tunnel construction projects, work cannot be stopped so easily, as specific and complex protection and support measures are required.
In these difficult times, ÖBB is showing that it plays a particularly important role in maintaining public life at the necessary minimum standard, supplying the population with urgently needed consumer goods, food and medicines, and ensuring that the public is provided with the best possible service.