As train travel across Austria becomes more popular, Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) now recommends booking a seat in advance and has confirmed there is a possibility of compulsory reservations in the near future.
There is currently high demand for long-distance routes during busy travel dates, like public and school holidays, and there have been complaints about overcrowded trains, including reports of passengers being removed on busy routes.
A decision is now expected to be made in the coming weeks about whether to introduce compulsory seat reservation following an analysis of international train travel models and consultations with ÖBB passengers.
Speaking to the Kurier, an ÖBB spokesman said: “We are looking at all the options.”
Other possibilities on the table include moving short-haul travellers to local trains to free up seats on long-distance routes, as well as expanding real-time information about capacity. ÖBB also wants to provide more information about alternative trains with more capacity.
According to ORF, the number of rail passengers in Austria has increased this year due to higher fuel prices, the waning of the pandemic and the introduction of the Klimaticket annual pass that offers subsidised rates for train travel.
In recent weeks, capacity on long-distance routes has even been above pre-pandemic levels, especially on cross-border routes.
ÖBB has already confirmed there will be up to 10,000 additional seats available on busy holidays like Ascension Day, Pentecost and Corpus Christi.