The Austrian Federal Railway ÖBB was given a legal personality of its own on 1 January 1993. Its board was granted considerably more leeway in its decision-making power. The transport policy framework within which the ÖBB is set has changed in that bilateral truck transport with EU countries was liberalised in the wake of Austria's accession to the EU in 1995. More investment in rail transport was to strengthen the railway's competitive position. Higher taxes for the use and maintenance of cars nevertheless did not really affect competition between road and rail. In the seven years since the reform, the ÖBB kept its staff expenditure level unchanged. Revenues from goods transport rose, which has continuously improved the expenditure/revenue ratio (excluding government payments) since 1995. The company's labour productivity rose by more than 36 percent between 1992 and 1999. Most railways in Western Europe were even more successful in their efforts to improve efficiency. The Swiss Railway SBB was even able to further boost its already high productivity level by another 50 percent. Both companies were faced with a 10 percent decline in transport prices between 1995 and 2000. The transport-specific expenditure per ton and passenger kilometre dropped by 2 percent for ÖBB, and by 16 percent for the SBB. Accordingly, over the past five years the SBB was more successful than the ÖBB in their efforts to improve business results. The ÖBB is still in a position to explore rationalisation potentials, mainly by concentrating its network and by outsourcing some activities. Both ÖBB and SBB have taken preparatory action to open their network to other railway transport businesses in accordance with Directive 91/440/EEC governing fair competition. So far, two quite insignificant contracts have been signed in Austria, and none in Switzerland.
Ausgliederung, Privatisierung, Vergleich Schweiz/Österreich; Erfolge der ÖBB-Reform 1992; Positive Outcomes of the ÖBB Reform of 1992
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