EXPLAINED: How Austria is making train travel safer this Christmas

EXPLAINED: How Austria is making train travel safer this Christmas
Will you travel by train this Christmas? Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP
From more trains and a ‘new reservation model’, Austria has unveiled a new set of ‘anti-coronavirus measures’ to make Christmas travel safer.

Austria’s national railway authority (ÖBB) has put in place a set of rules to be put in place over the festive season to minimise the spread of coronavirus. 

Over the Christmas period, a ‘new reservation model’ will be adopted, while more trains will be added, reports ORF. 

Masks have been required on all public transports and at all stations since September

New reservation model: ‘a chessboard’

According to the new reservation model, passengers on the trains will be better distributed in a manner which incorporates a greater amount of distance. 

Where a seat has been reserved, the seat next to it will be kept free – with a special notice telling people not to sit. 

The ÖBB said the model would resemble a chessboard, with free seats next to occupied seats. 

Understanding that making people stand in cramped areas may lead to an increased risk, the ÖBB has said that passengers will be allowed to sit if a train is full. 

“If a train is full and that is not possible due to the high number of passengers, you can also take these seats.”

Seat reservations will be available from December 18th to January 10th for one euro. 

More train services

In order to cater for the increased demand over the Christmas period, additional train services are set to be added. 

In total, this amounts to the addition of more than 10,000 seats per day, the ÖBB told ORF. 

The days when additional train services are set to be added are the 23rd, 24th, 27th of December, along with the 2nd and 3rd of January. 

The focus of the additional train services will be in and out of Vienna to the West and to the South. 

Restrictions remain on trips to Italy

Despite the additional services, restrictions on trains between Italy and Austria will continue to result in fewer services. 

On the 11th and 12th of December there will be no long distance rail between the two countries, ORF reports. 

According to ORF “all EC and RJ connections to and from Italy must be canceled for two days without replacement and cannot be used as replacement rail services.”

Passengers are advised to switch to regional train connections instead over the coming days. 

From Sunday, December 13th, fever and temperature controls are set to be put into place, along with a requirement of a negative coronavirus test. 

 


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