++ Initial destinations include London, Portsmouth, Birmingham and Bristol ++ Firm to partner with family run companies, boosting local economies ++ Disinfection, extra cleaning and safe distancing: travelling in times of coronavirus
London, June 30 2020 – FlixBus, Europe’s biggest provider of intercity coach travel, is launching in the UK this week (July 2) with plans to take several million passengers across the country within the first 12 months.
From July 2nd, the UK will be part of a network that has 400,000 daily connections to 2,500 destinations across 32 countries.
In a boost to the UK economy, 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. Initially, the offer will entail around 200 trips a week.
With lockdown coming to an end, and people being allowed to see family and friends again, FlixBus expects to be able to quickly increase the destinations they offer to add to the initial routes from London to Bristol, Guildford, Birmingham and Portsmouth. Starting July 2nd, FlixBus will also resume its service to mainland Europe and directly connect London to cities such as Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels.
Hygiene and safety are of the highest priority, 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 is 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.
He continued: “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.”
Initially, the company will use six coaches from different local firms but will quickly add to this as demand picks up. Schorling said: “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.”
The European firm carried 62 million passengers in 2019
FlixBus does not own coaches or employ drivers but the business model is based on a collaboration with local small and midsized companies. These companies, often family-run, have decades of experience in the industry and take care of the day-to-day operations.
Bala Balasuresh, from YPIJ Coaches, London, said: “This is a massive boost to our business which has been hit hard in the past few months. We are proud to be working with FlixBus and to be able to offer people a great way to travel and visit friends and family again. Our drivers have been missing the roads these past few months.”
Kevyn Jones, from Turner’s Coachways, Bristol, added: “The travel industry has been badly hit by the coronavirus, so this is a very welcome launch for people who will want to see distant family and friends or conduct business in a safe way as the lockdown ends.”