‘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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How German rail strike will affect journeys in Denmark

Residents of Denmark planning a trip to Hamburg and onwards in Germany from Sunday May 14th should be aware of potential disruptions due to strikes.

How German rail strike will affect journeys in Denmark

A 50-hour strike will bring most of Germany’s train network to a standstill from 10pm Sunday May 14th until midnight on Tuesday.

In Denmark, the dispute means that, from 10pm on Sunday, Danish operator DSB’s services from Aarhus and Copenhagen towards Hamburg will terminate at Padborg on the Danish side of the border between the two countries. Trains from Padborg to Aarhus and Copenhagen will also operate.

While the strike is ongoing, two-hourly rail replacement services will transport passengers between Padborg and German city Flensburg.

READ ALSO: How you can still get around in Germany during the train strike

Tickets from Denmark to Hamburg for May 14th, 15th or 16th can be used on any departure before the strike begins, provided they were purchase up to and including May 11th, DSB states.

“We expect there to be a lot of people on the trains both in Denmark and Germany in the days before and after the strike. Remember therefore to purchase a seat reservation for your journey,” DSB said.

Changes to scheduled departures can be found on German rail operator DB’s website.

Germany’s Railway and Transport Workers’ Union (EVG) wants to bring all rail traffic in Germany largely to a standstill starting Sunday evening and has therefore announced there will be no long-distance, regional and freight traffic during the 50-hour strike.

The walkout is the latest in a series of strikes on Germany’s rail system in an escalating dispute between the union and management.