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.
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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.
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.
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.