Flixbus suspends operations in UK

Bungle965

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I have attached my ticket which I purchased for £2, also the app seems to suggest that the promotion runs out today.
Sam
 

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Deerfold

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I have attached my ticket which I purchased for £2, also the app seems to suggest that the promotion runs out today.
Sam

Thanks - it seems to be app only. I've only looked at their website (I didn't even know there was an app).

The website promotes fares from £2.99
 

Mwanesh

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Spent a day at London Victoria. They are mostly running empty. Megabus and National Express loads are better. They have had to put dupes to Bristol.
 

philthetube

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This probably seems a stupid question to those in the know but is the coach on the leaflet able to carry a wheelchair passenger?
 

Jordan Adam

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This probably seems a stupid question to those in the know but is the coach on the leaflet able to carry a wheelchair passenger?

Nope, nor is the real life equivalent...

 

philthetube

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There ahve been a few comments about the vehicles used, I suspect that both National express and Stagecoach will be passing on any relevant info the the appropriate authorities.
 

ACBest

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Doug Paulley has now announced he's planning to take action against the company in court.

A German coach company that has just launched a service in England is refusing to accept that it is breaking the law by telling wheelchair-users to book tickets days in advance of their journey.
FlixBus is even facing the threat of a private criminal prosecution after it tried to run a coach that was inaccessible to wheelchair-users on one of its new routes.
FlixBus is Europe’s largest long-distance coach operator but only launched its services in England earlier this month.
As the country gradually began to come out of lockdown, accessible transport campaigner Doug Paulley decided to check on the accessibility of the new service-provider.

Now the most interesting part of the article is this bit, from a spokesperson at Flixbus...
She said the company had started an investigation into how an inaccessible coach – in FlixBus livery – had arrived at the coach stop in London to pick up Paulley.

Could it be that they truly had no idea, or is someone presenting some kind of spin on things that a political party would be proud of?
 

overthewater

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Sounds like they had no idea... I think Stagecoach and Nat express would be advisable to turn up the pressure.
 

GusB

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Did Flixbus simply assume that their contractors would supply PSVAR-compliant vehicles without actually specifying it as one of their requirements? It seems incredibly careless not to have checked beforehand.
 

overthewater

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Did Flixbus simply assume that their contractors would supply PSVAR-compliant vehicles without actually specifying it as one of their requirements? It seems incredibly careless not to have checked beforehand.

Isnt Flixbus coaches in EU all PSVAR-compliant? Surly all the contractors are not that stupid?
 

Mwanesh

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They knew its not the contractors fault. hats why you find National Express specify the Levante. Its Flixbus who are in trouble not the contractor. Its like National Express when things go wrong its them who are up the creek. The UK coach market is tough the 2 main incumbents have a network thats hard to break into.
 

richw

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Did Flixbus simply assume that their contractors would supply PSVAR-compliant vehicles without actually specifying it as one of their requirements? It seems incredibly careless not to have checked beforehand.

Every contract I’ve ever seen makes reference to local laws taking precedence over any other term in the contract. If you’re awarding a contract to a competent operator you should be able to safely assume that they will comply with the relevant legislation to deliver the contract.

They knew its not the contractors fault.

Umm yes it is. The contractor is acting in a way contrary to an operators licence and therefore the contractor is liable if it comes to the traffic commissioner. It will be the operator Licensee that is liable for any punishment.
 

M803UYA

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Every contract I’ve ever seen makes reference to local laws taking precedence over any other term in the contract. If you’re awarding a contract to a competent operator you should be able to safely assume that they will comply with the relevant legislation to deliver the contract.



Umm yes it is. The contractor is acting in a way contrary to an operators licence and therefore the contractor is liable if it comes to the traffic commissioner. It will be the operator Licensee that is liable for any punishment.

In their Ts and Cs (https://www.flixbus.co.uk/terms-and-conditions-of-carriage), Flixbus rely on EU Regulation 181/2011 12.4.1 of their terms is pretty clear and replicates the EU regulation pretty much word for word.

' 12.4.1 Should the vehicle design or infrastructure, including bus stations and bus stops, physically prevent the boarding, exit or carriage of the disabled person or person with limited mobility in a safe and operationally feasible manner, FlixCompanies reserve the right to refuse to accept a reservation, to issue or to make available a ticket or to allow the person in question to board the vehicle. In this case, the person(s) involved shall be informed about all other acceptable alternative means of carriage using services offered by FlixCompanies. '

12.4.4 covers their response: ' 12.4.4 In the event that the carriage of a passenger with a disability or limited mobility is checked and a ticket is issued, and if this passenger is subsequently refused carriage, both the passenger and the accompanying person have the following options: (a) to either request the reimbursement of the fare and the free return trip to the initial point of departure as specified on the contract of carriage at the earliest opportunity, as applicable, or (b) to continue the journey on an alternative route with an acceptable substitute transport service to the destination specified in the contract of carriage.'

12.5.3: '12.5.3 In order to verify that transportation will be possible, the passenger is requested to provide the exact model of the wheelchair or other walking aids to customer service before booking, by telephone from 14 days and no later than 7 days (for transportation in the passenger cabin) or 36 hours (for transportation in the baggage compartment) before departure. '

So Flixbus will presumably argue that they're following the EU regulation - of course that doesn't take account of PSVAR!

EU regulation 181/2011 (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:055:0001:0012:EN:PDF)

Article 10 carries a number of exemptions which are helpful to the industry:

' 1. Notwithstanding Article 9(1), carriers, travel agents and tour operators may refuse to accept a reservation from, to issue or otherwise provide a ticket to, or to take on board, a person on the grounds of disability or of reduced mobility:
and
(b) where the design of the vehicle or the infrastructure, including bus stops and terminals, makes it physically impossible to take on board, alight or carry the disabled person or person with reduced mobility in a safe and operationally feasible manner. '

It wouldn't be the first time there has been a conflict between an EU regulation and UK legislation, it does seem like Flixbus complies with EU provisions, that raises a few questions about PSVAR and how they deal with it. They appear to have coaches that comply with EU regulations, and operate as such, but don't comply with UK domestic legislation as they're not accessible.

I guess some legal people are going to have some work from this?! Far from being naive it does seem like some thought has been put into their UK operations, and perhaps they're content to have a legal fight over this? Given the high profile of the case and the fact it will go to court, some clarity will be forthcoming as to the approach flixbus needs to take. Probably easier for them to find a fleet of Levantes and run them, as Turners have done from day 1.
 

overthewater

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We're leaving in 5 months? Surly they are not that stupied? Looking at the facts it does seems so...
 

M803UYA

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We're leaving in 5 months? Surly they are not that stupied? Looking at the facts it does seems so...
There's a transition period plus it's been made clear that EU legislation will continue to apply!
The prudent approach here is to get operators with spare Levantes to cover the work - no one really wants to be the test case.
 

Jordan Adam

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They knew its not the contractors fault. hats why you find National Express specify the Levante. Its Flixbus who are in trouble not the contractor. Its like National Express when things go wrong its them who are up the creek. The UK coach market is tough the 2 main incumbents have a network thats hard to break into.

I disagree, it's both. The contractor for operating a coach that doesn't comply with Uk Regulations and Flixbus for not ensuring their contractors are complying in the first place.

There's plenty of PSVAR compliant coaches on the market, clearly they could have invested in compliant vehicles given that they're using nearly new Vanhools!
 

Bletchleyite

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There's a transition period plus it's been made clear that EU legislation will continue to apply!

Because the service is wholly domestic, I don't see how they could operate under purely EU law anyway. Domestic law is stricter, therefore that applies to them too. For instance, DB AG couldn't rock up and operate an open access "TOC" using old rolling stock that doesn't comply to PRM TSI even though the application of PRM TSI to existing (rather than new build) rolling stock is a purely UK law - we chose to go stricter than the EU required us to go.

The inclusion of all that bumf in the T&C would make it clear this is entirely wilful. I hope our resident campaigner is able to ensure they are delivered a very, very hard slap.
 

Bletchleyite

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I know very little about coaches, but I'm astonished anyone would buy a vehicle last year that isn't accessible

Because private hire coaches don't have to be, the point being that if you need wheelchair access you'll hire an accessible coach and not otherwise. Public transport needs to be accessible on an equal basis (as far as possible) and so you need a wheelchair bay in case someone rocks (rolls? :) ) up wanting it.
 

Robertj21a

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Thank goodness people like Doug Paulley are around, and prepared to make enough fuss to ensure that the UK laws are upheld.
 

Mwanesh

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Its Flixbus fault. When a National Express coach does something even if its a contractor. Its National Express who are in the firing line. Flixbus are the ones who approached the operators and asked what have you got. We have this ok you can have these routes. Flixbus have taken over other companies they have not actually started from scratch like in the UK.
 

Cesarcollie

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Its Flixbus fault. When a National Express coach does something even if its a contractor. Its National Express who are in the firing line. Flixbus are the ones who approached the operators and asked what have you got. We have this ok you can have these routes. Flixbus have taken over other companies they have not actually started from scratch like in the UK.

That’s true, but no operator or its Transport Manager should be flouting the law whatever Flixbus demand or don’t demand contractually. It’s their reputation at stake.
 

stuu

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Because private hire coaches don't have to be, the point being that if you need wheelchair access you'll hire an accessible coach and not otherwise. Public transport needs to be accessible on an equal basis (as far as possible) and so you need a wheelchair bay in case someone rocks (rolls? :) ) up wanting it.
Ok, but given the average life of a coach I'm surprised anyone would buy one, accessibility is only going to become more important
 

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