Friday, 1 July 2016

Fern, Flix and Mega (and Post?)

This artificial (?) picture ...
...announced the arrival of Flixbus in the UK coach travel market. Cheap fares are a feature, but the cheapest (€9 to Paris as above) are hard to find. This blog was written on Wednesday evening 29th June.
Fares for immediate travel on Thursday were ...
... but for the more popular journeys on Friday, prices had risen muchly.
The better "near at hand" prices begin on Tuesday 5th July.
If you can stand an eight hour journey, these prices do offer good value.

The other snag with this system is that services rarely serve city centres. The stop in Paris is at Porte Maillot ...
... one of the former gateways to the walled city. It is some distance from the centre and a trip on Metro line 1 would almost always be necessary. The actual stop (on Avenue Pershing) ...
... is not particularly well-placed for the Metro station. And don't get in the wrong queue when you are waiting to return home.

 Ne vous placez pas dans la file d'attente 
 du bus pour l'aĆ©roport! 

So where did Flixbus come from? It emerged after coach services were deregulated in Germany and has only been around since 2013.
Its posh blue and orange motors soon became a familiar sight on the autobahns.
But there was competition in the "open" and deregulated market. The state owned Postbus company arrived ...
... together with green and orange Meinfernbus.
Both businesses (blue and green) do not generally own any coaches! The system is that the marketing and sales company delegates operation under contract to local operators. Here is a Flixbus vehicle betraying its true ownership on the front windscreen.
Erfmann-Reisen runs coaches in its own right.
This aspect of the business is therefore very similar to our own National Express.

Then barely one year after it started its first route, Flixbus merged with its rival.
The joint network is huge! So vast that it cannot be shown in a blog.
At first the coaches carried a joint brand, but adopting the more attractive green livery.
"Wir sind eins" = "We are one."

The Meinfernbus name has all but disappeared. Flixbus reigns supreme.

Then on Wednesday (29th June) came the news of further expansion.
Flixbus have bought the Europe operations of Stagecoach's Megabus, reputedly still a loss making business.
This has gone down well in "The City" with an immediate jump in the group's share price. This was the Flixbus announcement.
Note that by the end of July, Flixbus will serve 20 countries with major branches in France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. But as far as we know, Megabus on the UK will remain as Megabus.

Here's the detail of its explansion:-

In summer 2015 FlixBus launched its Italian subsidiary in Milan and entered the recently liberalized French market with "FlixBus France".
In November 2015 FlixBus announced its new entity FlixBus B.V. in the Netherlands and with this the very first national Dutch intercity bus network. After Germany, France and Italy, this is the company's fourth national market, while the company's international lines also connect cities in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden and Denmark.

In January 2016 FlixBus announced its entry to the markets of Central and Eastern Europe with the new branch FlixBus CEE.
Blaguss, a coach company based in Vienna.

This includes six countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Croatia) with new lines in the making. In March 2016, the company launched first lines to the United Kingdom and Spain.

An amazing story which has now taken yet another step forward.

fbb acknowledges an e-mail from regular Hampshire correspondent Peter which prompted this blog.

 Next "topless" blog : Saturday 2nd July 


  1. Just some clarification, Megabus will continue to operate coaches in Europe but as a contractor to Flixbus. Interestingly Sir Brian owned Polskibus did a deal recently to offer Flixbus tickets via the Polskibus website and now with Arriva Poland

  2. For the moment i thought it read FOXbus buys Megabus lol.