Bus travel

German coach firms drive cross-border

Leading coach operators in Germany are expanding their international routes to drive ahead with business growth in competition with rail and air services.

The dominant operator in the now fully liberalised long-distance coach travel market, Mein Fernbus Flixbus, already has departures to 15 countries in Europe and will introduce more routes under the international brand ‘Flixbus’ in the coming weeks and months. The company was created by the merger of two major operators at the start of this year with the ambition of creating a Europe-wide network.

Managing director André Schwämmlein said: “The lights are showing green. After the merger into Mein Fernbus Flixbus we are now expanding the international green route network with joint forces.”

Mein Fernbus Flixbus will launch services from northern Germany to Copenhagen and Malmo in Sweden, and from Frankfurt to Milan, with plans for onward expansion to Italian destinations such as Venice, Florence and Rome. There will be more departures to Paris from southern Germany as well as from Amsterdam, Antwerp and Brussels to the French capital. The company plans further routes to France once the country’s coach market is liberalised later this year.

In May, competitor Postbus (part of the Deutsche Post group) announced it would cooperate with Eurolines operator Deutsche Touring to create a rival network with 16 additional international destinations. Customers of the two organisations can now use tickets on the other network, with convenient transfer locations.

The low-price coach services are frequently offered as overnight trips, and partly fill a gap left by fewer night train services. They also compete on price with low-cost airlines.