A new entrant is joining the battle for Intercity coach travel in the UK… and it’s FlixBus, who will commence domestic service in the UK.
FlixBus is an established operator in Europe who carried over 62 million passengers last year. Their entry into the market will allow them to compete with National Express and MegaBus.
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 (covering 200 trips a week).
They will be launching the following routes first:
- London – Bristol
- London – Guilford
- London – Birmingham
- London – Portsmouth.
They will use six coaches from different local firms to operate these services.
The company will also relaunch its Europe to London services, connecting Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels.
As we’re in strange times still, hygiene and safety are of the highest priority to the company, so every coach will be disinfected before every ride and undergo a thorough cleaning process.
In line with local regulations, passengers will have to wear masks as will drivers when away from their seat.
The row immediately behind them will be kept clear and only half of the remaining seats will be sold to help keep a safe distance between passengers.
Andreas Schorling, Managing Director FlixBus UK, said he
“…cis confident the company would be the cheapest way for people to travel between the cities they are servicing – and expects to quickly add to their destinations.
“With the lockdown restrictions easing, people will want to start travelling to see family and friends, go back to university or college or travel for work and we will offer a safe, comfortable and affordable way to do this. On top of that, travelling by coach is the greenest way of travelling in Britain. As we are partnering with local firms, we will also be giving a boost to businesses that have been hit hard by COVID-19.”
“To start with, we will be connecting London, Birmingham, Bristol, Portsmouth and Guildford to Europe’s largest intercity bus network, with more UK cities to come. This is just the beginning – we have great plans for Britain and aim to grow to market leader by 2025.”
A challenge to the two incumbents?
With the arrival of FlixBus in the UK, National Express and MegaBus will be paying close attention. Whilst National Express has focused on their network (and price when forced to compete) and Megabus fighting on price primarily.
FlixBus will form a challenge to this situation and see where it can either squeeze into a middle ground or challenge the position of the existing companies – especially if the company wants to grow its network out quickly as their managing director wants to over the next few years.
It will be interesting where they move to next and if they choose to move beyond London for hubs.
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