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‘BlaBlaBus’: Fresh competition for Flixbus takes to the road in Germany

FlixBus has long been king of the budget long-distance bus company market in Germany. But that could be about to change.

'BlaBlaBus': Fresh competition for Flixbus takes to the road in Germany
A BlaBlaBus in Berlin. Photo: DPA

That's because a new low-cost carrier coach firm has launched in Germany – and they are offering very cheap tickets to customers. 

French firm BlaBlaCar has been running five new services in Germany since Monday. And next month, the firm, which is operating under the name BlaBlaBus, will add 10 more routes.

The first services run from Frankfurt am Main via Leipzig to Berlin, from Dresden via Berlin and Hamburg to Bremen, from Berlin to Munich, from Berlin to Düsseldorf and from Hamburg to Düsseldorf.

READ ALSO: FlixBus to take on Deutsche Bahn with low cost trains from Berlin, Hamburg

Earmarked future destinations include Stuttgart, Münster, Karlsruhe and Mannheim. They plan to offer 40 destinations by the end of the year.

With tickets starting from 99 cents until September, BlaBlaBus is shaping up to be a competitor to FlixBus.

On Monday the company said it was aiming for “more dynamic competition and a wider choice on the German long-distance bus market”.

BlaBlaBus, a brand of the French company Comuto, works with local bus companies to offer services in a similar way to Flixbus. All buses are to be equipped with Wifi, power socket and air conditioning. 

BlaBlaCar is best known in Germany for its car-sharing service, which enables drivers and passengers to network and share car journeys.

However, its move into the German bus market indicates that it wants a piece of the lucrative European budget bus market. 

As this graph by Statista for The Local shows, the number of long-distance bus services in Germany has grown in recent years. In 2018, a total of 287 were offered. 

“We want to become the leading marketplace for joint road travel,” said Germany manager Christian Rahn.

According to the company, last year around 50 million passengers travelled on BlaBlaCar carpooling services. The company is active in a total of 22 countries.

Flixbus reacted calmly to the news, reported Tagesspiegel. “We are used to tough competition,” they said.

 

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Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?

Several political parties in Germany have said they want to bring back sleeper trains in order to meet carbon emissions targets.

Could sleeper trains offer Germans cheap, low-carbon travel across Europe?
A sleeper train in Austria. Photo: dpa/APA | Georg Hochmuth

The Green party have said that they want to put state subsidies into night trains that will connect Germany with cities as far flung as St Petersburg in the north and Lisbon in the south.

According to the environmentalist party’s plans, 40 night rail lines could connect 200 destinations across the continent including islands like Mallorca, which would be linked in by train and ferry.

The Greens want the EU to buy a fleet of sleeper trains that could travel at speeds of between 200 km/h and 250 km/h.

The CDU have also announced plans to rebuild the country’s sleeper train services.

Deutsche Bahn stopped its last sleeper service in 2016 citing the high costs involved in maintaining its fleet that was not recuperated through ticket sales.

Earlier this year the state owned company said it had “no plans” to purchase new sleeper wagons.

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