Please sign in to post.

Austrian Federal Railways system website issues

Has anyone else had difficulties trying to use the Austrian railways website? I've been trying to buy the Vorteilscard and tickets for over a week with no luck. They are very slow in answering webmail inquiries (two or three days) and when I called them on the phone they speak very little English. It sounds like they're in a room with 50 other people so it's hard to make out what they are saying in either language. I gave up.

Their website is also difficult to use. Oh, I can look up the schedule alright, but when I go to purchase the Vorteilscard or tickets it gets really goofy. First, there is not an obvious place to log in when you've already registered with the system. You must go to purchase something, then click on the OBB logon and then you get to a log in screen. So choose your purchase and so far so good, but then you click on it to place it in the "basket" and the English page reverts back to German. You then try to purchase despite the German language and click on the credit card option to pay and nothing happens. That's as far as you can get.

So I finally got one response back to a webmail inquiry and they said they were aware of difficulties and technical support was working on it. That was three days ago. They also suggested the difficulty occurs most often with the Internet Explorer web browser. But I'm using Safari on a MacBook. So I also tried Firefox, Chrome, and IOS on my Iphone with no luck. I'm wondering if they're just not optimized to use the Apple products. You'd think they'd be more concerned about lost revenue, but who knows. I will give kudos to the Swiss Travel system. Their rail site works very well. I had no issues with them.

Posted by
4645 posts

I'm just curious as to why you are buying as Vorteilscard. They really don't pay off unless you live here and use it all the time. SparSchiene tickets are the way to go for saving money as a short term tourist. What are your travel plans for Austria?

Edit - I see from another one of your posts that you are doing Salzburg to Vienna and the Vienna to Munich. For Salzburg to Vienna, take Westbahn where you buy the ticket in the train. Easy. Vienna to Munich, use the DB website if oebb is giving you problems.

Posted by
18241 posts

Since I don't need a ticket from them, I'm not going to go through the purchase process to find out. The German Rail website has always worked for me, so I that's what I use whenever possible. For instance, for Munich to Vienna, you could use either site, so use the German one. Another trick - sometimes you can use the Bahn site and ticket from Freilassing, which is in Germany right across the river from Salzburg.

Posted by
183 posts

Are you trying to buy an international ticket? (travel outside Austria?) If so I've had similar issues. OeBB is just not fully integrated w other railways. Better luck buying tickets at the service counter in railway stations. Is there a reason to buy before you arrive in Austria?

Posted by
16 posts

Emily: I could definitely be wrong. I thought the Vorteilscard was a method to get a discount, much like the Half-fare card in Switzerland. And for a senior (I'm 62) it's only $29. We'll be traveling from Lucerne to Salzburg or thereabouts for 3 days and then on to Vienna for 3 days before heading back West to Munich. I already have the tickets to Salzburg (from the Swiss rail system). If the Sparschiene tickets are lowest price and there's no additional discount for the Vorteilscard, then I agree, it doesn't make sense. Thanks for the heads up and your other tips.

Posted by
16 posts

Zonderpaard: My only desire to purchase in advance is to minimize the cost, so I do look for the advance Sparschiene tickets for the longer, more expensive legs of the trip. But assuming the cost difference isn't that great, I have no problem purchasing them in-country too. Also, as an inexperienced world traveler, I get a little nervous not having all the transportation details nailed down. Maybe I need to loosen up a little and go with the flow.

Posted by
4645 posts

What you are spending on the Vorteilscard equals the cost of the SparSchiene ticket from Vienna to Munich - and you wouldn't have even purchased the ticket yet! And then there is your partner, who still needs a ticket. Just keep things simple and get SparSchiene tickets for the two of you for the Vienna to Munich trip. As mentioned before, Westbahn is the best way to travel between Salzburg and Vienna.

Yes, Vorteilscards give a discount, but do not make sense for someone making only two train journeys. I have a Family Vorteilscard as I live here.

Posted by
183 posts

Mj, try for a Sparshiene ticket at the service counter when you arrive in Salzburg if you don't get it ahead of time. They only sell a limited number of seats at the Sparshiene prices, but it's worth asking for. If they don't have that see what else they can offer you, and you might ask about the Vortielscard, too, since they can sell you one of those on the spot.

The ticket counter is open into the evening there every day.

Have fun!