Flixbus

Last updated

FlixMobility GmbH
Type Private
Industry Transport, Travel, Travel technology
Founded2011;10 years ago (2011)
FoundersDaniel Krauss, Jochen Engert, André Schwämmlein
Headquarters Munich
Area served
Europe
United States
Services Intercity bus service
Revenue€500 million (2018) [1]
Owner General Atlantic [2]
Holtzbrinck Publishing Group
Silver Lake Partners [3] [4]
Website www.flixbus.com
A bus in the brand's green livery Flixbus mobility provider bus side.jpg
A bus in the brand's green livery
Setra in the pre-merger blue colour scheme Flixbus.jpg
Setra in the pre-merger blue colour scheme
Setra S 431 DT FlixBus Setra S 431 DT - Berlin ZOB.jpg
Setra S 431 DT

FlixBus (German pronunciation: ['flɪksbʊs]; styled FLiXBUS) is a German brand that offers intercity bus service in Europe and the United States. It is owned by FlixMobility GmbH, which also operates FlixTrain and FlixCar.

Contents

FlixBus does not own any buses and does not employ drivers; its services run in co-operation with regional bus companies. Local partners are responsible for the day-to-day running of routes, while FlixBus is responsible for permits, network planning, marketing, pricing, quality management and customer service and retains 25–30% of the ticket price, remitting the remainder to its operating partners. [5] This business model is highly scalable and has enabled the company to grow quickly. [6] As of 2018, the company has a 90% market share of intercity bus travel in Germany. [7]

FlixBus emphasizes the sustainability of its buses, lower prices, and free Wi-Fi on board. Customers can choose to offset their carbon footprint when buying a ticket online. The offset costs between 1–3% of the ticket price and goes to internationally certified climate projects. [8]

History

FlixBus' second logo, used from January 2015 until 4 May 2016 Flixbus 2015 logo.svg
FlixBus' second logo, used from January 2015 until 4 May 2016
A Hector Rail-liveried Taurus locomotive hauling Flixtrain-liveried ex-DR UIC-Z passenger cars near Gottingen FlixTrain approaching Gottingen.jpg
A Hector Rail-liveried Taurus locomotive hauling Flixtrain-liveried ex-DR UIC-Z passenger cars near Göttingen

FlixBus was founded in 2011 in Munich by Daniel Krauss, Jochen Engert and André Schwämmlein and launched its first three routes in February 2013 in Bavaria, Germany. It was founded to take advantage of Germany opening up its bus market to competition in 2013. [7]

In January 2015, the company merged with MeinFernbus. [9]

In November 2015, FlixBus acquired Liinita, a start-up company developing a carpooling service to retail stores, shopping centers and restaurants which had been funded by the Business Incubation Center (BIC) of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Government of Upper Bavaria. [10] FlixBus used technology developed by Liinita to start its charter business. [11]

In May 2015, it entered the liberalized French market with "FlixBus France", [12] and in August it launched an Italian subsidiary in Milan. [13]

In November 2015, FlixBus announced the establishment of a new subsidiary called FlixBus B.V. in the Netherlands, creating the very first national Dutch intercity bus network. [14] At that time, it also had routes to Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden and Denmark. [15]

In 2015, FlixBus controlled 71% of the German market (measured in kilometres driven by the company). [16]

In January 2016, FlixBus announced it was entering Central and Eastern Europe with a new subsidiary FlixBus CEE, covering Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland, Slovenia and Croatia. [17] [18]

In March 2016, the company launched its first routes to the United Kingdom and Spain. [19] [20]

By March 2016, the network included approximately 120,000 daily connections to 1,700+ destinations in 28 countries. [21]

Effective 1 July 2016, FlixBus acquired Megabus Europe from Stagecoach Group, with Stagecoach remaining as contractor to operate the services. [22]

On 3 August 2016, FlixBus announced the acquisition of Postbus, a German competitor, from Deutsche Post for an undisclosed sum. [23]

In September 2016, FlixBus announced plans to expand to Scandinavia. Together with Danish small and medium-sized enterprises, FlixBus announced plans for a network in Denmark. [24] On 28 February 2017, FlixBus announced that Danish bus company Abildskou, based in Aarhus, would become its first bus partner in Denmark. [25]

In May 2017, FlixBus announced it would take over the Hellö coach network from Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) in August 2017. [26]

In July 2017, FlixBus announced it would enter launch its first routes to Portugal. [27]

Starting on 24 August 2017, FlixBus cooperated with Czech train company LEO Express to take over the operation of the Locomore rail service between Stuttgart and Berlin (via Hanover and Frankfurt) in Germany. [28]

On 24 March 2018, FlixMobility acquired the open-access operator Hamburg-Köln-Express, which operated a route between Hamburg and Cologne, and integrated the HKX route into the Flixtrain network alongside the above-mentioned Locomore service. [29]

On 15 May 2018, FlixBus announced its expansion into the United States market, operating from a main hub in Los Angeles. [30] [31] In March 2019, the company launched service in Houston, San Antonio, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Biloxi, Mississippi. [32] [33] [34]

In April 2019, FlixBus acquired Eurolines and its Isilines brand from Transdev. [35] [36]

In May 2019, Eastern Bus, which operates along the Interstate 95 corridor between New York City and Richmond, Virginia, reached a deal with FlixBus to operate the East Coast network for FlixBus. [37]

In August 2019, FlixBus bought Turkish bus company market leader Kâmil Koç from private equity firm Actera Group. [38]

On 2 July 2020 FlixBus launched intercity coach service in the United Kingdom, with initial routes from London to Birmingham, Bristol and Portsmouth (calling at Guildford). At the same time it resumed its services from London to mainland Europe. [39]

In July 2020, FlixBus entered the Baltic market and launched routes to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. [40]

On 21 October 2021, FlixBus announced that they had acquired the US operations of Greyhound. [41]

On 22 October 2021, FlixBus announced a partnership with a Brazilian bus company called Expresso Adamantina to start its operations in Brazil. [42]

Operating companies

FlixBus claims not to own any buses, [43] contracting all services to small-to-medium or mittelstand bus companies, which it calls "bus partners". [44]

Passengers

Per statistics published by the company in February 2018, 60% of the company's customers are female and 33% are between the ages of 18 and 25. [45]

Accidents and incidents

Controversies

Working conditions

FlixBus has been accused of forcing its partners to have its drivers work excessive hours at low wages; however, official inspections have found that resting, driving and working hours in the market were much better than some media reports had suggested. [51]

Use of infrastructure without toll payments

In 2015, Cologne closed its city center long-distance bus station because of the congestion associated with buses, forcing FlixBus to move its Cologne stop. [52]

Unlike competing train services and trucks, buses do not pay any road toll in Germany, which has been called a hidden subsidy by SPD and Alliance '90/The Greens politicians, as well as by Rüdiger Grube, chairman of Deutsche Bahn, one of FlixBus's main competitors. [53] bdo (an association of German bus companies) responded by saying that buses already pay for infrastructure they use in the form of various taxes (ex. mineral oil tax), while billions of subsidies are paid to national rail provider Deutsche Bahn. [54]

Dominant market share

Following the acquisition of Postbus in 2016, FlixBus gained control of roughly 80% of the German long-distance bus market, which was criticised by various media outlets [55] [56] [57] as a de facto monopoly and harmful to competition. It was also suggested that FlixBus' control of the market could lead to higher prices and less service to smaller destinations.

Passenger name records

On 25 June 2018, the Belgian Government announced that it was running a pilot project with FlixBus and Eurostar for which it is collecting all passenger data for FlixBuses and Eurostars crossing the Belgian border. The move was criticised as decreasing the attractiveness of public transport. [58] [59]

Lack of responsibility during the COVID-19 outbreak

In Sweden FlixBuss AB, the Swedish affiliate, posted information on their channels about increased safety and security measures as a response to COVID-19. However the company received many complaints on their social media page and in Swedish media that these measures were only empty words. Buses were completely filled and lacked any enforcement of the COVID policies. [60] [61]

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References

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