Buskreig Bop: German bus company Flixbus to take on Greyhound and Megabus in the US

A successful German company called Flixbus is headed across the Atlantic to challenge American bus companies like Greyhound and Megabus.


May 11, 2018

Flixbus, a German bus company that bills itself as “Europe’s #1 long-distance mobility provider,” has taken over 90% of the coach bus market in Germany — and on May 15, they’re launching in the States.

Launched in 2011, Flixbus was the first bus company to capitalize on Europe’s freshly deregulated city bus market. Now they’re looking to challenge Greyhound and Megabus for a piece of the US pie.

Flixbus: The “Uber for buses”

Pause to get the eye roll out of your system… 

Cliches aside, much of Flixbus’ success is due to its “asset-light” model, which leverages fleets and routes of existing bus operators as partners — you know, just like how Uber leverages existing drivers and their cars.

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This allowed them to lower their upfront investment risk, and expand fast: Flixbus grew to $48m in annual revenue just 3 years after launching and hit profitability last year, in a market, Bloomberg points out, with plenty of low-cost travel alternatives.

The question is whether it’ll play in America. In 2017, Coach USA and Megabus.com posted decreases in revenue for the third consecutive year, and their profits slid a combined 12% from 2016.

Meanwhile, Greyhound is unfazed… 

“This isn’t our first rodeo,” Andy Kaplinsky, chief commercial officer at Greyhound, told Bloomberg. In his eyes, the “buzz of an upstart” only helps drive awareness to bus options in the US.

Meanwhile, the 100-plus-year-old bus line is keeping up with the times — adding Wi-Fi and outlets to all its buses.

Unfortunately, headphones can’t drown out smells.

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