Low-cost coach operator enters UK market

A German low-cost coach operator is entering the UK with plans to drive down travel costs by starting London to Paris trips from €9.

FlixBus coaches will run twice a day between the two capitals from March 24 offering free Wi-Fi, extra legroom, and three pieces of luggage.

The company’s distinctive green coaches could then be seen on roads across the UK as it plans expansion onto domestic destinations.

The Paris service provides connections in France to 60 points across six European countries.

New services, higher frequencies and direct links to Frankfurt, Luxemburg and Prague are planned to begin by the end of the spring, with further destinations in the UK are in the pipeline.

Tickets are available via a new UK website and app as well as co-operating travel agencies, according to FlixBus.

Online cancellation or rebooking is free of charge and is possible up to 15 minutes before departure.

Travellers can use the mobile app to check available routes and travel information about their trip, book tickets and use a navigation tool to find their point of departure.

By using real-time GPS tracker, FlixBus team claims to be able to locate each coach and estimate delays.

Founder and managing director, André Schwämmlein, said: “The cross-border link from London to France is our first step into the market in the UK.

“We are soon going to connect the capital to the most popular cities in mainland Europe by day or night. Besides, we want to extend our service to other destinations in England.”

Founded in Germany in 2013 after deregulation of the coach sector, the company created a nationwide network within months.

Schwämmlein said: “By combining entrepreneurial spirit and innovative technology with a traditional SME industry, we established a completely new means of transport. We simply made buses cool again.

“We want to make travelling as easy as possible. Therefore we invest in new technology in order to continually improve our service.”

Domestic networks were set up last year in France, Holland and Italy as well as a cross-border service to Scandinavia backed by US growth investor General Atlantic.

FlixBus is now operating in 18 European countries and carried around 20 million passengers last year.

Schwämmlein added: “We have already changed the way people travel. Now our vision is to offer customers all over Europe the same green experience everywhere, in London, Paris, Barcelona or Rome.”

Customers can offset the CO2 emissions of their trip and travel carbon neutral.

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