Postbus is the largest bus company in Austria. Every year, Postbus takes over 194* million passengers to their destination. The company also operates in areas where no other public transport connections are available. Approximately 70% of all Postbus passengers throughout Austria are schoolchildren who take the bus to school every day. The buses serve over 1,600 municipalities daily, providing public transport connections to even the remotest corners in Austria’s rural areas. Postbus is an essential pillar when it comes to public services in rural areas and has been a trustworthy partner to municipalities for many years.
Postbus: an eventful history
The history of Postbus begins more than 110 years ago. While in the 18th and 19th centuries people would still travel by stagecoach, everything changed in 1907 when the first motorised postbus was put into service. A total of 17 passengers were able to travel at the same time between Neumarkt and Predazzo in South Tyrol - at a maximum speed of 22 km/h. The project was to prove a tremendous success. In the same year, further lines were established between Linz and Eferding, as well as in the Helenental on the Baden - Heiligenkreuz - Alland route. Five years later - in 1912 - 17 all-year-round and eight summer lines with 150 buses from various manufacturers were already in operation. Later on, it was decided to build a single standard type - the "ET 13". By 1918, 100 units of this type were already in service.
100 years later
More than 100 years later, the world in Austria and at Postbus has changed fundamentally: in 2022, Postbus, Austria's largest bus company, will transport more than 186 million travelers to their destinations in Austria. In addition, there are more than 7 million travelers per year through the Czech subsidiary ČSAD AUTOBUSY České Budějovice a.s. The rapid development in the field of mobility also does not shy away from new business areas and drive technologies: This is how Postbus positioned itself as THE innovative bus company in Austria in 2018 and, for example, promotes innovative drive technologies as an alternative to diesel-powered buses. Today, the first electric and hydrogen buses are already in regular operation. In addition, Postbus operates its own micro public transport shuttle service.
Postbus in its present form
Although the history of Postbus goes back a long time, the company in its present form is still very young. After the legal status and affiliation of Postbus had changed several times after the turn of the millennium, ÖBB finally acquired 100 percent of the shares in Postbus AG in 2003. In 2004, ÖBB-Postbus GmbH was officially entered into the commercial register. One year later, the bus company with the brand "Postbus - An ÖBB Company": ÖBB-Postbus GmbH - as we know it today - was born. In July 2020, the two group companies ÖBB-Postbus GmbH (operational business - universal successor) and Österreichische Postbus AG (real estate and personnel office) merge to form Österreichische Postbus Aktiengesellschaft.
* over 7 million in the Czech Republic
Here you will find a detailed overview of the many milestones in Postbus history:
- 1907: Launch of the first Postbus line between Neumarkt and Predazzo in South Tyrol
- 1910: Commencement of international transport services: The Lofer - Reichenhall line is opened in collaboration with the Bavarian postal administration.
- 1913: The Reutte - Sonhofen (Tyrol-Bavaria) line is established using the first four Model ET13 buses.
- 1914: Outbreak of World War I - 180 automobiles are handed over to the military. During the war, the transport service is discontinued completely.
- 1918: Resumption of transport services
- 1927: Launch of transport services over the Großglockner.
- 1927: Establishment of LOBEG (Lastwagen- und Omnibus-Betriebs-GmbH) in Mödling.
- 1928: Foundation of the Bundesbahn-Kraftwagenunternehmung which in the early 1930s acquires LOBEG
- 1933: Bundesbahn-Kraftwagenunternehmung operates under the name "KÖB - Kraftwagenbetrieb der Österreichischen Bundesbahn".
- 1938: Annexation of Austria into the German Reich - Postbus is integrated into Deutsche Post. KÖB is renamed "ROB - Reichsbahnomnibusverkehrsgesellschaft mbH". Transport services are continued to a limited extent.
- 1945: Discontinuation of transport services in the final months of the war. After the end of the war, transport services are resumed and expanded considerably over the following years.
- 1948: Establishment of KWD (Kraftwagendienst der ÖBB). First agreement between the postal service and ÖBB on cooperation and mutual assistance. Exchange of routes parallel to railway lines
- 1948-1952: Postbus as a major client of the Austrian automotive industry: Production of new types for regular service, development of so-called "snow tyres".
- 1956: Presentation of a converted conference bus ("Khrushchev bus").
- 1964: Provision of transport services for the Olympic Games in Innsbruck.
- 1968: The "Bahn-Post Kraftfahrübereinkommen" (motor vehicle agreement between railway and postal service) comes into force.
- 1976: Provision of transport services by Postbus and KWD during the 2nd Olympic Games in Innsbruck
- 1979/1980: Launch of airport transport services in Vienna (Vienna West Station - Vienna South Station - Airport and Vienna International Center - Airport lines).
- 1984: Postbus is a founding member of the first transport association, the VOR (Verkehrsverbund Ostregion).
- 1988: Start of the "Bundesbus" cooperation between ÖBB’s KWD and Postbus - uniform appearance with yellow-red buses. This cooperation ends in 1997.
- 1998: In this year the "BahnBus" brand is introduced.
- 1999: Foundation of "Österreichische Post AG".
The 21st century at Postbus
- 2000: Postbus as an independent subsidiary of Österreichische Post AG named "Österreichische Postbus AG"
- 2001: Transfer of the shares in Österreichische Postbus AG held by Österreichische Post AG to ÖIAG.
- 2003: Acquisition of all Österreichische Postbus AG shares by ÖBB. Start of the "Omnibus" project, aiming to merge postal and rail buses.
- 2004: Since 01 July, "jointly operating company" consisting of Postbus and Bahnbus. Österreichische Postbus AG is split into ÖBB-Postbus GmbH (operating business - universal successor) and Österreichische Postbus AG (real estate and human resources).
- 2005: On 1 January, legal merger of Bahnbus and ÖBB-Postbus GmbH to form a joint bus company under the brand "Postbus - An ÖBB Company". On 22 September 2005, the new brand, including new design and uniforms, is presented to the general public.
- 2005: Purchase of a 97.75% stake in ČSAD AUTOBUSY České Budějovice, a.s.
- 2007: Postbus celebrates its 100th anniversary
- 2008: Postbus impressively demonstrates its capabilities as a mobility provider at the European Football Championship EURO 2008™ in Austria and Switzerland.
- Launch of the "ÖBB Sternebus" fundraising campaign - Since then, the ÖBB Group has collected almost one million euros in donations for "Licht ins Dunkel".
- With its training facility "Bildungswerkstatt", Postbus becomes a recognised training centre.
- 2010: ÖBB-Postbus GmbH receives the klima:aktiv award for its "Dialogue Marketing" campaign.
- 2012: The regional bus transport market is opened to competition. From this point on, transport services are put out to tender by the transport associations and no longer automatically organised on the basis of a Postbus concession. This means that the organisation of timetables as well as the equipment of the buses is now the responsibility of the transport associations. The design of the Postbus buses is increasingly being replaced by that of the transport associations.
- 2013: Postbus signs a purchase agreement for the acquisition of 700 new buses. This is the largest bus order in the history of Austria.
- 2015: Postbus places utmost emphasis on quality - a fact that is also confirmed by TÜV, with the certifications 9001 for quality management and 29990 for quality management for learning service providers.
- 2016: Product and brand relaunch of the Vienna Airport Lines: New buses with state-of-the-art design and USB sockets, Wi-Fi, paper-white departure boards, new stops including connections to all underground networks in Vienna, new website and app.
- 2018: Postbus sets new standards in innovation: Postbus deploys the first electric intercity buses throughout Austria.
- Postbus is the first company in Austria to test a hydrogen bus.
- A new approach to flexible mobility - micro-public transport - is also being tested. With the Postbus Shuttle, Postbus offers its customers a service between public transport and taxi.
- 2020: Merger of the two companies ÖBB-Postbus GmbH and Österreischische Postbus AG to form Österreichische Postbus Aktiengesellschaft.
- 2021: The first micro-public transport project is realised in the region "Zukunftsraum Donau Gusen" and the Postbus Shuttle takes off in three Upper Austrian municipalities.
- Postbus starts operating Austria's first e-ski bus during the 2021/2022 ski season.
- 2022: Following a successful tender for the first regular electric bus service in Lower Austria, Postbus implements the first regional bus system operated with e-buses in the southern Weinviertel region.
- Postbus is the first bus company in Austria to use hydrogen buses for intercity transport in the Villach-Land region.