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In 2013, FlixBus launched in Germany and since then, the coach bus company has been disrupting conventional European travel (i.e. trains from European city to European city). Fast forward to today, and Europe’s largest bus network is launching in the United States with the goal of changing long-distance travel.
The low-cost alternative to Europe’s train system, which some equate to Megabus in the US, is setting its sights on the West Coast with its introduction in the US. Routes include Los Angeles-Las Vegas, Los Angeles-Phoenix, Phoenix-Vegas, San Diego-Vegas and more. The green buses will hit US roads beginning May 31 with frequency up to nine times per day.
🇺🇸🌴Hello, California! This morning we rolled into Hollywood to launch FlixBus USA. Your next adventure is bookable today at https://t.co/338EDuuRh1! #travel4all #futureofmobility #ridegreen 🌴🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/IIwSHjvQU6
— FlixBus_USA (@FlixBus_USA) May 15, 2018
This marks “phase one” of FlixBus’ US launch: 180 FlixBus connections will be operated by six regional bus partners. The company, though, already has plans to extend beyond its current West Coast market with an additional 400 connections.
FlixBus serves 27 countries in Europe. Its business model is unique because it uses a network of buses that are operated by independent, local companies in each destination that they serve, so FlixBus doesn’t have to shell out for parking or maintenance of a bus fleet. The buses are equipped with free Wi-Fi, onboard entertainment, LED lighting, up to 31 inches of pitch. Each passenger can bring up to two pieces of luggage.
TPG‘s Katie Genter tried FlixBus in October 2017 on a trip from Munich to Stuttgart Airport (STR) in Germany. She found the service to be fine for her three-hour jaunt, but she thought the drawbacks — like the Wi-Fi being down, no snacks or drink offerings and a less-than-ideal lavatory — would make a longer trip more frustrating.
Prices for US routes will run as low as 99 cents one-way on routes like Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Typically, however, one-way, short-haul trips (three hours or less) will be capped at $20 and around $45-$50 for one-way, long-haul or overnight trips, according to Travel + Leisure.
FlixBus hopes to have over 1,000 connections by the end of 2018 and has plans to expand beyond it’s current West Coast routes.
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