Germany’s Flixbus launches domestic service in UK

Jill Petzinger
Jill Petzinger, Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Flixbus has modernised bus travel in Germany with its app-based flexible-ticket booking. Photo: Fabian Sommer/dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images

German mobility company Flixbus will begin offering domestic coach services in the UK from 2 July.

Flixbus, the market leader in Europe for long-distance intercity buses, will run coach services connecting London with Bristol, Birmingham, Guildford, and Portsmouth.

“This is just the beginning,” Flixbus UK managing director Andreas Schorling said in a statement. “We have great plans for Britain and want to become the market leader by 2025.”

“FlixBus will partner with local, authorised coach firms, which are often family run, and will start with four routes from London with fares starting from £2.99. Initially, the offer will entail around 200 trips a week,” the company said in a statement.

Flixbus already operates cross-border bus services between London and several European cities including Amsterdam and Paris, but this marks its debut for services between British cities.

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Flixbus, with its highly visible lime-green-and-orange buses, is one of Germany’s most successful startups, raising €500m (£456m, $561m) in July last year on a reported valuation of €2bn.  

The startup modernised bus travel with its app-based flexible-ticket bookings, likened to an Uber for buses, and onboard Wifi.

It also harnessed the growing trend for eco-friendlier travel, while drastically undercutting rivals on ticket prices.

It was founded in Munich, Bavaria in 2013, and now, as FlixMobility, includes FlixTrain in Germany. It also owns Eurolines and Turkish bus company Kamil Koç. Its model is to partner with local bus companies in other EU countries, branding their buses in its distinctive green livery.

The company launched in the US in 2018 to compete with Greyhound and serves some 100 destinations, and is planning to expand to Asia and South America in the coming years.

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In January, the company reported 37% year-on-year growth in 2019. It serves 30 countries, and 2,500 towns or cities, and said it transported over 62 million passengers last year.

Flixbus, like other transport providers, found itself at a complete standstill for nearly two months in April and May due to coronavirus lockdowns, which closed borders between European countries and brought domestic journeys to a halt. Up and running again, Flixbus currently requires passengers to wear facemasks onboard.