Flixbus to enter UK coach market?

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by darloscott, 11 Sep 2019.

  1. darloscott

    darloscott Member

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    Flixbus have applied for a UK PSV operators licence, perhaps suggesting they're going to start services within the UK. Certainly will be interesting times if so.
    The operating centre given is based at Whippet Coaches in Cambridge, however the office address is a block in Bristol. It looks as though Flixbus UK Ltd was started in April but has only recently put the licence application in. The company is entirely owned by Flixmobility in Germany.
     
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Interesting, as aren't most of their European operations contracted out in the manner of Nat Ex?
     
  4. freetoview33

    freetoview33 Established Member

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    I would think it's so they can operate post brexit.
     
  5. GusB

    GusB Established Member

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    I read this in Coach & Bus Week yesterday: https://cbwmagazine.com/is-flixbus-looking-to-start-uk-operations/

    I'm not sure if it's still the case, but I believe there was a requirement to hold an operators licence, even if it was only for a single vehicle. I recall Scottish Citylink owning one vehicle to satisfy this requirement, but operationally it was part of the then Western Scottish fleet. The rest of the fleet was contracted in, initially from other SBG subsidiaries. I'm not sure of the technicalities, but the CBW article refers to National Express doing a similar thing, and if I recall correctly, the first batch of Expressliners were owned by National Express rather than any contractors. (Happy to be corrected if this isn't the case!)
     
  6. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Is there enough business for a third major coach operator on British domestic routes?
     
  7. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Most probably not. I could see them killing NatEx off (or Souter flogging Megabus to them).
     
  8. Journeyman

    Journeyman Established Member

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    I wonder if Flixbus might look to expand into the UK rail market? They've recently done so in Germany.
     
  9. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    Their tactics generally have been to enter a market competitively and then take over the competition. They now have a near monopoly in several countries as a result.
     
  10. Anthony ross

    Anthony ross Member

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    I wonder if nat ex are watching what is happening especially if Flixbus are going to operate through whippet as whippet operate national express contracts
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'd expect Whippet might lose their NatEx contracts as a result, just as Stagecoach lost a load when they first started Megabus.
     
  12. notadriver

    notadriver Established Member

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    Do coaches have a significant share of intercity travel compared to trains ? I’m guessing in Germany it’s more viable than in the UK as I’ve never considered coach travel as a serious competitor to rail for most people.
     
  13. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I doubt the advent of Flix has done much to rail passenger numbers (other than perhaps those doing it at the very budget end like using the Quer-Durchs-Land-Ticket to do very long journeys on regional trains for next to nowt). Same as here - it only really overlaps with rail in terms of the cheapest Advances and the likes of LNR Only long distance tickets. But it does take cars off the road.

    Flixtrain probably sits in a similar market niche to Megatrain, even if operationally it's different.
     
  14. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    In England, trains are much faster than coaches due to road congestion and many rail lines running at 100 mph+, so coaches only compete on price and require a high load factor to be viable. Similarly in Germany but even more so as regular train fares are more affordable, especially when taking BahnCards into account. In Scotland and Ireland, trains are not as fast and roads are not as congested so coaches are more viable. In Scotland and Ireland, coaches don't run with a full load, as tickets are usually available without booking in advance, yet are still profitable. In some areas, such as the Balkans and the Baltic States, coaches are often quicker and more comfortable than the train so coaches are the most popular form of inter-city public transport with coach fares often being more expensive than train fares.
     

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