Passenger Registration Costs ÖBB Punctuality

After registration Before registration: ÖBB and Postbus will break the 500 million passenger mark in months rather than years. Six million guests missed the 2030 target. The Railways admits that “punctuality is naturally affected by the increasing number of passengers”.

280,000 climate tickets were sold and more tourists from abroad ensured an increase of 15 million passengers in 2019 compared to the year before the pandemic. “Revenues are strong,” said ÖBB boss Andreas Matta. Railways could not maintain the results achieved.

The pre-tax result EBT was almost 112 million euros. 42 percent or 81.6 million euros less than in 2022. It wasn't a bad surprise, it was just a bit ahead of plan. There are several reasons for the decline: in 2022, the State Railways benefited from the transfer of a subsidiary within the group for 50 million euros. The biggest impact was an increase in personnel costs of 267 million euros. At the end of 2023, it employed 45,041 people, 670 more than at the end of 2022, and the two-year wage contract was higher.

“We raised the ticket price by only 5.8 per cent, which is an important step so that it is not a driver of inflation,” says Matha. Electricity costs for the group were more than 55 million euros.

However, the ambitious expansion strategy in freight transport is currently not working. “At first glance, the result looks good,” Manuela Waldner, chief financial officer of ÖBB Group, said at the annual press conference. “In fact, it's been the toughest year in 20 years.” Price conditions were favorable for truckload companies. As a result of the slowdown in the industry, the efficiency of rail freight transport decreased by 8.4 percent.

According to the balance sheet, RailCargo received €131 million in tax money from transport service orders from the Austrian public sector. However, a positive result (EBT) of 13 million euros was reported for the entire rail freight group through accounting improvements alone. Now the volume has increased again. “We want to further develop international traffic and expect higher volumes,” declares Waldner.

ÖBB is sticking to its freight strategy. They rely on long delivery distances; Railway boss Matha declares they want to fight back “compared to the road”. Merchandise sales recently totaled 1.9 billion euros. Total group sales were 5.022 billion euros. Total public benefits for railways are 3.7 billion euros (2022: 3.5 billion). Of this, 2.1 billion will go towards tunnel and rail expansion. The central government, states and municipalities order transport services from railways with 1.5 billion euros.

Investments reached a maximum of 4.5 billion euros. Most of the money goes to the Koralm, Semmering and Brenner base mines. As Matthä emphasizes, the first new trains from the long ÖBB order list do not finally start rolling until 2030. By then the railways has ordered 330 new trains, with 30 slated for this year and 40 next year. This includes 33 new NightJets, which will double the number of passengers from 1.5 million to three million by 2030. Lately, massive delivery delays have been one of the reasons for more than usual problems with ÖBB operations – in addition to timeliness problems at Deutsche Bahn, multiple construction sites, frequent storms and passenger rush.

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The acquisition of South German Regional Railways with 1,000 employees in February will put financial pressure on ÖBB for the time being. Overall, the team is looking to deliver better results this year. Matta: “We need that to pay back investments in new rolling stock.”

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