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The uncanny way – green giants are taking over Europe

  -   1. May 2017

You probably have already travelled with one of these green giants trough Germany. FlixBus is a mobility supplier that has changed the way of travelling for millions of people in Europe. The inventors took a chance founding the start-up, when Deutsche Bahn announced they were not going to develop their own long-distance coach business. FlixBus’ unique way of combining technology and internet with the ways of a regular traffic company has helped them create Europe’s biggest long-distance bus network yet.

Services of the green mobility

Thanks to easy reservations and a daily growing array of offers FlixBus provides travellers with the possibility to discover the world for very little money. On the one hand, their long-distance coaches fulfil the highest standards concerning security, comfort and environment. On the other hand, they represent a comfortable and ecological alternative to regular individual travelling.
In the age of globalisation the concept of this start-up company is based on the digitalisation of a traditional means of transport. With the aid of technological innovations such as a ticket system, the FlixBus- app, free Wifi on board, or GPS for the coaches, the enterprise enables new possibilities of travelling. The mobile infrastructure was especially created for this company and is therefore unique in its form. With the help of a well thought-out planning of their routes and dynamic price management, they keep offering the best deals to their customers.

The secret to a successful business

Nine out of ten coach bookings are FlixBus bookings. Not only Deutsche Bahn but also the railway services abroad suffer from severe price battles. So what is the difference between FlixBus and other competitors? The FlixBus company puts more weight on growth than on profits. They have not profited from their own businesses as of now, which was founded in Munich in 2013 by André Schwämmlein and Jochen Engert. However, it does not have to make any profits yet. Similar to the example of the shuttle service Uber, FlixBus currently tolerate losses following the American theory of digital capitalism. The business concept of the start-up company tends to the model of fast-selling item. By the time the long-distance coach company has taken over Europe, multi-million dollar amounts will be the reward for the concept.

One secret of success is their close partnership with middle class subcontractors: Regional coach partners, mostly family enterprises, take responsibility for the green FlixBus fleet because they own the buses and employ the drivers. Subsequently FlixBus undertakes the route planning, operations, IT, marketing and ticket sales. In addition, the company pays subcontractors for conveying passengers. Assembling traits such as innovation, start-up-spirit and a strong, international brand, combined with quality and tradition, might very likely make FlixBus Europe’s most successful provider.

Europe goes green!

Since 2015 FlixBus has opened up the international market: Distant coach nets now exist in France, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands as well as international regular traffic to Scandinavia, Spain, England or Eastern Europe. Today travellers profit from the biggest long-distance coach offer of Europe due to the still branching out network of routes and the unbeatable prices. Today there are more than 120,000 daily connections, with a total of 1000 destinations within 20 countries. Instead of traveling through Europe by Interrail, Flixbus are gathering forces in the competition introducing Flixrail.

Meanwhile, the international team behind the green distant coach supplier consist of 1000 employers. With thousands of drivers of partners in Europe they are distributed to locations in Munich, Berlin, Paris, Milan and Zagreb.

If you are one of the few individuals that have not yet travelled with FlixBus, it is only a matter of time until you, too, will be using the green mobility.

Who wrote it?

Jil Becker

Jil Becker studies at the European Management School in Mainz.  


Mario Mock
10-03-2018 08:55

Hi Jil I would like ask you if is true that the growth of intercity bus market that Flixbus predicted reaching 2bn euros in 2109 is been completely wrong and that intercity bus market in Germany in downsizing in last year In your opinion how long Flixbus can keeping losing money, and local bus partner for how long can afford to lose money?

Shanice Mack
09-05-2017 21:29

I know FlixBus, but I never used it before. Like you said, it is a green mobility and it is very interesting that it doesn't make any profits yet. Of course, it is a cheaper and greener way to get from A to B, but a friend told me that you aren't allowed to eat and drink in the busses and during a six hours trip there only have been one 30 minutes pause. This for me is a big disadvantage, if you have to travel for a longer distance. But nevertheless, that mostly family enterprises take responsibility for the busses, makes it attractive to use, because to me family companies have something with heart. Another point, which impress my doubts is the strict drive plan, through which they try to avoid delays, different than the DB. Me as a DB user, would now after reading your blog prefer using FlixBus in future, but only if they will improve or change their eat and drinking rules.

Maximilian Lenhardt
08-05-2017 15:29

Even though I haven't used Flixbus yet, I agree with all my previous speakers that it is an extremely well organised and serious competitor to the Deutsche Bahn. Flixbus is much cheaper and has constant prices! I've never heard anyone complain about Flixbus raising their prices. Since they haven't already realised any profits, this shows how patient, convinced and authentic they are. They stick to their prices in order to provide cheap travels. As Nicolas said, we can choose between travelling 2h for 13€ or 2h for (at least) 60€. And at the last offer from Deutsche Bahn, a delay of at least 5-10 minutes is not included. Furthermore, as already mentioned, they have a much bigger area of destinations all over Europe! Yes, a bus may not be faster in terms of speed, but the busses are much more punctual than the train, where delays seem to be common in Germany. I'm really excited to see Flixrail develop and becoming equally competitive to Interrail as Flixbus to Deutsche Bahn.

Carolin Wolf
06-05-2017 15:02

Hey Jil, I have also used FlixBus a few times. In my opinion, it’s a great alternative to the German monopoly Deutsche Bahn. I did not know that they still haven’t done any profits yet. When I was using FlixBus I made a good experience because it was a short and calm ride, the bus was clean and the internet access worked well. Maybe it is just me thinking like that, but I would still rather prefer taking the train. It is, most of the time, faster and often not that expensive than it used to be. Due to the “Sparpreise” of Deutsche Bahn I traveled to Berlin for only 20€ within four to five hours. With FlixBus there’s a minimum travel time of 8 hours from Mainz to Berlin. But on the other hand, I like the idea of Flixrail. I think it is especially for young people who want to see Europe after graduation or during their semester holidays a perfect and primarily a cheaper alternative to Interrail.

Tabea Arnold
06-05-2017 00:03

Your enthusiasm about Flixbus is really obvious and it is interesting how their business impacts many other companies. Travelling through Germany or even countries abroad for so little money attracts many customers. Additionally, compared to flying it is, an extremly environmental friendly transportation method. It still has to be considered that travelling with Flixbus you have to spend more time travelling. Not only is a bus much slower than a train or airplane but there is also the unpredictability of traffic jams, which can force the bus driver to make extra mandatory brakes. Ultimately it comes down to whether you want your travel method to be the cheapest possible or to be the most convenient.

Nicolas Eckhardt
05-05-2017 21:21

Making something existing more efficient, convenience and overall better? This is the innovation level of the 21th century. So many people are thinking for being successful you need to do something completely new. This is big mistake of understanding the “game”. The best example is Flixbus. They are not travelling with hovercrafts or other utopian vehicles, they are not using other roads than the others. Basically, they are a normal intercity bus. But changing pricing strategies, making internal company operations more efficient and setting new statements in marketing is absolutely making the difference. Not only Flixbus is not acting on profit maximization also their sales are increasing tremendously. This will result to a long-term profitable company with long-term low prices for their customers. Rather driving 6 hours for 13 Euros or travelling 2 hours for 60 Euros – our choice.

Moritz Wellershaus
05-05-2017 12:10

The idea of being a cheap competitor fighting a transport monopoly in Germany (DeutscheBahn), that raises their prices every year, was predictable. How Flixbus handled their market entry nationally, as well as internationally, was unique as the author mentioned above. There was nothing alike that existed at that time. It was clear that the start-up was going to be very successful and also be copied, for example ICBus or PostBus. But today, Flixbus is turning into a monopoly as well, since it is buying up all competitors and opened many cheap offers for trips to international destinations making it more attractive then ever. I once used Flixbus to travel from Amsterdam to Frankfurt. It definitely was cheap, with a price of 13€ per person, but with a travel time of estimated 13 hours far to long in my opinion. At the end we even travelled 17 hours, due to traffic and longer breaks the driver had to take. I would think about evaluating between being cheap but having a long trip or paying more and saving time. The comfort is almost the same. Still I think that bringing up a competitor, such as Flixbus, against a state-owned monopoly was necessary to have an alternative to travel in Europe.

Julia Herrhammer
04-05-2017 23:19

Hey Jil, you really seem to be into Flixbus. I do absolutely agree with you! I am a frequent commuter and I have to use Deutsche Bahn as transportation. Countless times the train has delay, is cancelled, doors do not open or is dirty. If I have important appointments I rather tend to take a train earlier than necessary because one just cannot trust in their punctuality. Due to their monopoly in Germany I also have to use Deutsche Bahn when doing long distance travels for instance when going to Hamburg or Berlin. If you travel second class you do not have comfortable seats, if you even get one, and no Wi-Fi, which compared to Flixbus is a joke. I have already used Flixbus and of course it takes longer to arrive at your destination but they are more punctual, comfortable and you have Wi-Fi, which is a necessity while travelling. I have seen so many business people travel in the train and they had to work with their laptop but could not as the Wi-Fi was not working or there was no connection. I am a big supporter of Flixbus’ non-profit strategy and I feel more valued when travelling with them than with Deutsche Bahn.

Clara Brilmayer
01-05-2017 20:31

After reading the blog-entries concerning 3D-printing and Lumkani, this is indeed not a life-saving innovation, but finally one I heard of and, additionally one I have already used. Long-distance buses existed before, but obvisiously not yet in this dimension. I remember some years ago, Flixbus suddenly popped up, out of nowhere and I was very curious to try it out. I was really suprised that they are so well-coordiated and, although it was a start-up, that they offered so many destinations. Back then, the busses were more comfortable than I expected and I was also suprised by the technical equipment. The founder of Flixbus observed and analyzed the market, probably by using the "blue ocean strategy" and than waited for the right moment to enter it. The idea of offering a cheap travelling alternative put enormous pressure on DB, expressed by a stagnation of the increase in prices. Since 75 years, this was the first time that DB had a threatening competitor. As there were several other long-distance bus companies, Flixbus could manage to dominate the sector and was even able to buy other competitors, such as "Postbus". Since I have not been travelling with Flixbus for some years, I am now really impressed by the figures: 1000 destinations within 20 counries? I have to admit, I did not expect so enormous numbers. The only disadvantage is, that it takes longer to travel by bus than by train. Apart von that, if you have a small budget, plenty of time and feel the urge to travel in a comfortable way, I can only recommend Flixbus to you!



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