FLiXBUS finally launch a connection to the UK

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WestCoast

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Flixbus, the innovative and rapidly expanding European coach operator, is launching a new service from Paris to London. The service starts from next Thursday 24th March and represents a step forward for the operator

www.flixbus.co.uk is the new UK section of the website.

You can now travel by coach from London to Paris and take advantage of the UK's newest doorway to Europe. We will take you from A to B at cheap, unbeatable prices. Our route network is constantly expanding and FlixBus travels to many of Europe’s most popular cities. FlixBus offers a low cost alternative to train, plane and ferry travel. Whether you want to escape to Milan for the weekend, or plan a longer trip exploring Europe, FlixBus will take you wherever you need to go!
 
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radamfi

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Interesting. Not surprising in one respect, given their pan-European ambitions, but it did seem to take a long time for them to reach the UK. That makes at least four companies doing that route along with megabus, OUIBUS and Eurolines.

There are also connections from Paris to other places on the Flixbus network, so for example they offer through fares from London to Berlin and Amsterdam via Paris.

If you use the UK site, you get fares from £9, whereas if you use their sites in French, German or Dutch it is 9 euro.
 
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Bletchleyite

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The thing they and other coach operators do seem to do, that the railway just whines and says "too hard", is offer through tickets to a wide range of destinations.
 

Oscar

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Interesting. Not surprising in one respect, given their pan-European ambitions, but it did seem to take a long time for them to reach the UK. That makes at least four companies doing that route along with megabus, OUIBUS and Eurolines.

There are also connections from Paris to other places on the Flixbus network, so for example they offer through fares from London to Berlin and Amsterdam via Paris.

If you use the UK site, you get fares from £9, whereas if you use their sites in French, German or Dutch it is 9 euro.

Do any of megabus, OUIBUS and Eurolines regularly offer tickets as cheap as 9 euros for London to Paris? I wonder if the prices will rise in time.

London to Amsterdam via Paris is a long way round.

International coach travel from the UK is normally much cheaper than Eurostar, but I suspect that wouldn't be the case if coaches had to pay a toll proportional to the wear they cause on the road and if Eurostar didn't have tunnel access charges equivalent to about 25 euros per passenger per way (Eurotunnel Shuttles don't have to pay such high charges).
 

anme

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Do any of megabus, OUIBUS and Eurolines regularly offer tickets as cheap as 9 euros for London to Paris? I wonder if the prices will rise in time.

London to Amsterdam via Paris is a long way round.

International coach travel from the UK is normally much cheaper than Eurostar, but I suspect that wouldn't be the case if coaches had to pay a toll proportional to the wear they cause on the road and if Eurostar didn't have tunnel access charges equivalent to about 25 euros per passenger per way (Eurotunnel Shuttles don't have to pay such high charges).

They appeal to a different market to Eurostar - journey times are 7h30-8h30, and they go once or twice per day. Compare with Eurostar's 2h15, going most hours.

At a very rough estimate, Flixbus provide 50-150 seats per day in each direction, and Eurostar about 10,000 seats.
 
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HMS Ark Royal

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Are they going to be using Victoria Coach? If so, thats going to get even more busy which could cause space issues
 

WestCoast

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They appeal to a different market to Eurostar - journey times are 7h30-8h30, and they go once or twice per day. Compare with Eurostar's 2h15, going most hours.

At a very rough estimate, Flixbus provide 50-150 seats per day in each direction, and Eurostar about 10,000 seats.

I think the competition on London-Paris is increasing; in addition to more coach services, new flights have recently been launched from London City and Gatwick Airports to Paris.

I've noticed Eurostar offering a number of £29 single fares. I recently booked a trip for £58 return and this my cheapest Eurostar trip to date.
 

radamfi

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The timetable indicates it is using the Channel Tunnel:

http://meinfernbus.de/unser-angebot/linien/bus-paris-london.html

and also indicates that the walk-on fare of 49.50 euro is available from the driver.

This Dutch article

http://www.transport-online.nl/site/nl/69734/flixbus-richt-pijlen-op-groot-brittanni-en-spanje/

says that London will be served 6 times a day:

De nieuwe grensoverschrijdende lijnen vanaf Londen en Barcelona zijn onze eerste stappen naar deze nieuwe markten. De Britse hoofdstad zal straks 6 keer per dag overdag en s'nachts met continentaal Europa verbonden zijn.

"The new cross-border routes from London and Barcelona are our first steps to these new markets. The British capital will soon be connected 6 times a day during the daytime and overnight with continental Europe."
 
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anme

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Interesting. The 50 euro walk on fare brings something genuinely new to the market - affordable short notice travel. Not all journeys can be planned months or weeks in advance.

I also suspect that booking a few hours ahead will get you a significantly lower fare even than that.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
If such fares are sustainable, it could damage any budget airline routes which rely on selling some very highly-priced tickets at short notice.
 
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radamfi

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Interesting. The 50 euro walk on fare brings something genuinely new to the market - affordable short notice travel. Not all journeys can be planned months or weeks in advance.

I also suspect that booking a few hours ahead will get you a significantly lower fare even than that.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
If such fares are sustainable, it could damage any budget airline routes which rely on selling some very highly-priced tickets at short notice.

As long as there are spare seats, you would be unlikely to pay much more than that on any coach service for that kind of distance, even at last minute. Thanks to the internet, we can now travel across the continent for a few quid booking well in advance, making travelling for hours (or even days) on a coach seemingly pointless, but last minute travel by train or air is often more expensive than it was before the internet, whereas the coach will probably still be a reasonable fare.

Another advantage of coaches over flying is being able to carry heavy suitcases at no extra cost.
 

anme

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Yes, that's exactly my point. Reasonably priced tickets for short notice travel is a gap in the market today, which coach companies might be able to address.
 

radamfi

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As well as the Paris route there are now more Flixbus routes to London:

Leuven - Brussels - London (route 815)

Dortmund - Essen - Düsseldorf - Eindhoven - Antwerp - Brugge - De Panne - London (route 080)

Dortmund - Essen - Düsseldorf - Herzogenrath - London (route N80)

Prague - Nürnberg - Würzburg - Frankfurt (Main) - Bonn - Brussels - London (route N84)
 

WestCoast

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Interesting! Route 080 is like the Düsseldorf-London DB IC bus, except with more stops.

I wonder what vehicles and operators they will use. Perhaps they'll eventually have UK based vehicles.
 
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radamfi

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I saw two Flixbus Setra double deck coaches outside VCS this morning. They both had boards in the window for the N84 and they had German plates.
 

WestCoast

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I saw two Flixbus Setra double deck coaches outside VCS this morning. They both had boards in the window for the N84 and they had German plates.

They don't publish the operators of each route on their website anymore, but all the Setra double deckers are roughly the same. Very comfortable, nicer than Megabus Van Hools but a little less legroom than the DB IC Bus Setras.

Interestingly, Flixbus is now cooperating with Brian Souter-owned Polskibus on Germany - Poland routes. Megabus Germany seems to be very much aimed at the budget end of the market, with Polskibus more of a premium option comparable to Flixbus.

I wonder if Flixbus will further expand in the UK? Their non-German European network has grown rapidly. However, the UK could be a lot trickier with its mature coach market? I just can't see them competing with National Express et al but who knows!
 

HMS Ark Royal

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I saw two Flixbus Setra double deck coaches outside VCS this morning. They both had boards in the window for the N84 and they had German plates.

If they had german plates, why were they operating an English service?
 

WestCoast

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If they had german plates, why were they operating an English service?

The N84 operates between the UK and the Czech Republic, calling at stops in Belgium and Germany. It'll be a German contracted operator. There's no domestic Flixbus service within the UK (yet).

However, what are the rules on this within the EU? National Express have been using Irish registered coaches on some A1 Victoria - Luton Airport services recently.
 
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HMS Ark Royal

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The N84 operates between the UK and the Czech Republic, calling at stops in Belgium and Germany. It'll be a German contracted operator. There's no domestic Flixbus service within the UK (yet).

Sorry - I thought you meant the N84 nightbus service!

However, what are the rules on this within the EU? National Express have been using Irish registered coaches on some A1 Victoria - Luton Airport services recently.

Perfectly legal to do so - bus and coach companies do it all the time. A number of stagecoach's fleet are on irish reg plates
 

radamfi

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I wonder if Flixbus will further expand in the UK? Their non-German European network has grown rapidly. However, the UK could be a lot trickier with its mature coach market? I just can't see them competing with National Express et al but who knows!

The clue may well be Poland. They chose to collaborate rather than compete.

On the other hand, they don't seem to have a problem competing on already arguably saturated corridors such as London - Paris and Paris - Amsterdam.
 

Bletchleyite

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The clue may well be Poland. They chose to collaborate rather than compete.

On the other hand, they don't seem to have a problem competing on already arguably saturated corridors such as London - Paris and Paris - Amsterdam.

Debatable as to whether they are saturated - they are huge air/rail markets which might be tempted over by good quality service and very low fares.
 

WestCoast

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With more than 20 million customers last year, FlixBus is one of the most important bus companies on the continent. The company was founded in Germany in 2013 and has strived towards its European expansion ever since. To achieve this aim, subsidiaries such as FlixBus Italia and FlixBus France have been launched. On 24 March, FlixBus finally set sails for the UK as well by installing a bus connection from Paris to London. Customers can choose between two departure times per day and have the chance to get their hands on tickets starting from £9. Up to now, the cheapest ticket had been offered by Eurolines UK and cost £15 including a booking fee of £5.

FlixBus has already announced that Victoria Coach Station in London will not be their only bus stop in the UK: “We are soon going to connect the UK day and night to important hubs of mainland Europe. Besides, we want to extend our service to other destinations in England. Travellers will benefit from green, affordable mobility and the best service,” claims André Schwämmlein, Managing Director of FlixBus. All in all, this is good news for coach travellers in the UK. Whenever FlixBus entered an established coach market, such as the one in Italy, large-scale price cuts were the result. Existing coach companies were forced to react to the new German competitor and their first resolution were usually special offers and deals. Although it remains to be seen how exactly the UK’s coach companies such as megabus and National Express will deal with FlixBus, the German market leader will surely prove to be a force to be reckoned with.

Source: http://blog.checkmybus.co.uk/news/flixbus-launches-first-budget-bus-route-to-london-049/

It seems Flixbus are interested in opening up routes in the UK. I could see them on some non-London airport routes which megabus never touch. I am regular on the 757 Birmingham-Stansted Airport and the fare can be quite pricey, especially last minute.
 

radamfi

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Debatable as to whether they are saturated - they are huge air/rail markets which might be tempted over by good quality service and very low fares.

I did think for a moment whether they are saturated. Both those routes have at least four coach companies. There are big travel markets between them, but so do UK domestic city pairs, and there are usually only two coach companies to choose from.

It seems Flixbus are interested in opening up routes in the UK. I could see them on some non-London airport routes which megabus never touch. I am regular on the 757 Birmingham-Stansted Airport and the fare can be quite pricey, especially last minute.

In Germany they serve a lot of smaller towns as well as the major cities, so in that sense they are more like National Express than megabus. That might be an indication that they would compete on less obvious routes.
 
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