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What to know about Flixtrain’s new services throughout Germany

Munich-based long distance travel provider Flixtrain is expanding for summer with three new low-cost lines - including a connection into Switzerland for the first time. Here's what you need to know.

Hikers in Stuttgart look out from Württemberg onto vineyards and the company grounds of the car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz.
Hikers in Stuttgart look out from the Württemberg hill onto vineyards. Flixtrain is launching a new service from Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Weißbrod

On Wednesday the firm announced it would significantly grow its rail network in May and June with three new services, meaning it will now serve 70 destinations in total. 

In the coming weeks, Flixtrain will increase the number of journeys it offers, and will launch services between Stuttgart and Hamburg, Berlin and Wiesbaden, and Berlin and Basel. It’s the first time that the company is expanding into Switzerland. 

The news will be welcomed by people in Germany looking for chances to travel by rail at a lower cost – tickets will start at €5.

READ ALSO: How to find cheap rail tickets in Germany

The company, which has been establishing itself as Deutsche Bahn’s major competitor Germany over the past few years, runs long distance bus and train services.

What should I know about the new services?

The company is connecting a dozen new stops to the transport network with the new services. The connection between Stuttgart and Hamburg will include stops in Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Kassel and Hanover. The Stuttgart route will be operated by a partner, Schienenverkehrsgesellschaft (SVG). Departures are scheduled to take place six days a week from May 19th.

There will also be new travel options for passengers from Berlin from June 2nd. According to Flixtrain, journeys to Wiesbaden will be offered with stops in places including Braunschweig, Hildesheim and Offenbach. Services from Berlin to Wiesbaden will take place four days a week and tickets will cost from €9.99. On this route, the firm is working with Netzwerkbahn Sachsen (NES).

The first cross-border connection from Berlin to Basel in Switzerland is to go live from June 23rd. Passengers can also stop off at the likes of Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Bad Hersfeld and Weil am Rhein on the route. The new line runs Thursdays to Mondays and tickets can already be booked on the company’s website, starting from €9.99.

A look at Flixtrain's route network in 2022.
A look at Flixtrain’s route network in 2022. Map: Flixtrain

The operator is also increasing the number of services from June on the Munich-Cologne-Hamburg and Hamburg-Berlin-Leipzig routes. The network is therefore particularly well connected in the Rhine-Ruhr areas as well as on the south-west route from Koblenz via the Rhine-Main region to Freiburg and Stuttgart, as the map above shows. 

In terms of prices, Flitxtrain is certainly competes well with Deutsche Bahn. If you book a ticket for the journey from Berlin to Wiesbaden on the day it starts (June 2nd), you pay around €10 on Flixtrain and travel for almost five and a half hours without having to change trains. Depending on the time of day, you can expect to pay between €54 and €70 for a Deutsche Bahn ticket on the same day, and have to change trains at least once for the same journey time.

Is this part of Germany’s €9 travel ticket?

The German government introduced a €9 travel ticket for the months of June, July and August as part of energy relief measures. However, the €9 ticket is for local public transport only. So it is not valid on Flixtrain or other long-distance services by other providers like Deutsche Bahn, such as the ICE.

Yet it is clear that Flixtrain is hoping that people will turn to their services instead of using the €9 ticket. There have been concerns that regional trains will be packed because of the reduced price.

André Schwämmlein, co-founder and managing director of the parent company Flix, called the €9 ticket “immature” and said it could result in “completely overcrowded trains all over Germany”.

“With us, everyone has a seat, can comfortably stow their luggage and does not have to change trains,” said Schwämmlein.

READ ALSO: What tourists visiting Germany need to know about the €9 ticket

Who is Flix and what do they do?

Flixtrain is a part of Flix, which is headquartered in Munich.

The company was founded in 2011 and has since rolled out bus routes across Germany and much of Europe. Covid restrictions hit the firm hard, and many services were cut. 

Since March 2021, operations have been gradually rebuilt and expanded. Flix also took over the US market leader for long-distance buses, Greyhound. Flixtrain was launched in 2017.

Compared with Deutsche Bahn, however, its offering is still small: the private company competes against more than 300 high-speed (ICE) trains in Germany.

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READER INSIGHTS

‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 transport ticket

Germany is set to bring in a heavily reduced public transport ticket for three months this summer. Here's what our readers think about it.

'Fantastic': Your verdict on Germany's €9 transport ticket

We released a survey asking how many of you would use the €9 monthly ticket, being brought in by the German government for the months of June, July and August. The ticket will be valid on all local and regional transport across Germany – but not on long-distance services.

Respondents came from all over the country in almost all of Germany’s 16 states. 

And nearly all of our readers – 95.4 percent – said they planned to get the ticket. 

Just 1.1 percent of respondents said they would not use the offer, while 3.4 percent answered ‘maybe’.

Source: The Local

We also asked how many of you already have a subscription ticket with your local transport provider. Just over half – 52.6 percent – said they don’t have an Abo, while 34.9 percent are already subscribers.  

People with a subscription receive the discount as part of the €9 ticket offer. 

READ ALSO: How many people will use the €9 ticket?

Source: The Local

The ticket is part of the German government’s energy relief package aimed at easing the financial burden on people. Politicians also see it as a trial for the future as the country tries to move towards climate-friendly policies. 

READ ALSO: When will Germany’s fuel tax cut come into force?

When we asked whether you think reduced price public transport this summer is a good idea, the vast majority of respondents – 86.9 percent – said ‘yes’. Just over 7.4 percent said they weren’t sure if it was a good idea, and just 1.1 percent said it wasn’t a good policy. 

Source: The Local

A snap poll on our Twitter page earlier this week also found that most people – 86.5 percent – planned to use the ticket. 

‘Why would anyone not use it?’

We also asked readers to share their views on what they thought about the ticket.

On The Local Germany’s Facebook page, Scott Widenhouse said it was “absolutely” a good idea. “A day pass from Munich airport is €13 approx, (in) Berlin – one ride is €3.”

Kat Thomas said: “I am so excited to get one for me and each of my kids. We rely super heavily on public transportation. This will be fantastic!”

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin

Sue Guinane said: “Why would anyone not use it? It is cheaper than two regular daily tickets in Munich, so great savings.”

Others were not completely on board.

Of the comments on our survey, one respondent suggested that the ticket should be pricier in order to make it more sustainable. Another reader said it was going to be a “disaster” because travel providers would likely hike up prices after three months. 

On Facebook, Annmarie Wagner Schultz said: “It doesn’t help my son who uses the train and his bike to get to work.”

Tina Wetzel said she didn’t want to take advantage of the offer because transport will be “overcrowded”, and in the summer months, passengers will also have to deal with no air conditioning on trains and buses. 

 

“My nose prefers not to smell any of that,” she said on Facebook.

Others said it might come in handy.

Jeffrey Carson, in Neukirchen in Hesse, said: “Sounds a good idea but I use my car for local journeys and the new ticket does not include long distance trains which are the only trains I use. I suppose if I visit Munich it will be good to get the €9 ticket for day trips from there.”

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

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