Over the last 10 years, FlixBus has been changing the way millions of people move all over the world. As a combination of tech-startup, e-commerce-platform and transportation company, FlixBus was able to establish Europe’s largest intercity bus network in the shortest amount of time.
Find out more below!
Q: For those who don’t know, tell us about FlixBus and what you do?
A: FlixBus is the global leader in intercity, long-distance coach travel, operating in 40 countries across Europe, as well as America, Canada and Brazil. Beginning life in Germany as a tech start up ten years ago, parent company Flix is now a world leading sustainable travel brand, expanding to include FlixTrain in Sweden and Germany, and the acquisition of the iconic Greyhound brand in 2021.
FlixBus operates a unique business model which centres around digital tools and analytics to put customer needs and behaviours first. Unlike other coach brands, we do not own any vehicles. Instead we work with trusted, high-quality coach operators to deliver coach services, while FlixBus teams plan and optimise the network, generate demand and oversee the customer experience.
As we continue to scale our coach network, we rely on our seamlessly integrated technology to scale with us. We refine our digital tools and develop new programmes as we enter new markets and develop in existing ones – ultimately believing that technology is the future of travel and the key to our commercial success.
Q: How is FlixBus making their journeys more sustainable?
A: Individual cars represent over 80% of traffic in land passenger transport, meaning they bear the most responsibility for the sector’s carbon footprint. In contrast, collective transport is an inherently green way to travel. Moving many people in one vehicle, rather than using multiple cars, reduces carbon emissions by six – 26g CO2 per passenger-kilometre on coach compared to 143g CO2 by car.
Additionally, our FlixBus fleet is very low-emitting – in the UK, our network exclusively runs on Euro 6 vehicles, the highest environmental standard available. FlixTrains, available in Sweden and Germany, run on 100% renewable energy.
We also know that the global aviation industry produces a significant proportion of global emissions – 915 million tonnes in 2019. By comparison, coach produces nine times less carbon than flying, which is why we’re proud to offer 3,000 destinations on our global network, allowing eco-conscious passengers to choose a more sustainable way to travel domestically and internationally.
We take this one step further for those looking for carbon neutral travel, offering our passengers to offset any CO2 emissions from their personal journeys through NGO atmosfair. 75% of our passengers’ climate contributions are used to fully compensate the emissions associated with the trip by financing fuel-efficient cookstoves in rural Rwanda. The remaining 25% flow into the “Future of Mobility Fund” set up together by Flix and atmosfair, to drive sustainable mobility and decarbonisation in the cities in which we operate. In 2021, our customers saved 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions by choosing FlixBus, rather than going by car.
Q: A few months ago, FlixBus was exploring the use of alternative fuels and had the longest European bus line running on Colza Biofuel. Do all of your buses use alternative fuel? How do you think we get more providers making this change?
A: As mentioned, our fleet is made up of the lowest emission vehicles possible, but we believe there is more we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. We make it our mission to explore all new promising technologies and we’re really proud to be the first to launch a long electric distance coach in Europe, and we’ve since launched several more in France, the USA, Portugal and Germany.
For example, we have a cooperation agreement with Volvo Buses, focused on testing the use of Oleo100 biodiesel, made from colza (rapeseed). Oleo100 fully meets the latest environmental criteria by transforming renewable biomass into fuel. The rapeseed is pressed to obtain non-GMO vegetable proteins intended for feeding animals on French farms, and, rapeseed oil for human consumption. in November 2021, two coaches running on Oleo100 were introduced on the FlixBus line between Nice and Toulouse in France, and in June 2022, our Vannes to Paris line started running on Oleo100. in September, we launched the longest line using the fuel between Brest and Grenoble. Using the biofuel will mean 70% less greenhouse gas emissions on this route.
In 2020, we launched the first FlixBus with solar panels. For this pilot project, FlixBus worked with TRAILAR, a British company offering innovative transport solutions to reduce the environmental impact of commercial vehicles. The solar panels generate energy for the bus’s electrical consumption which effectively reduces fuel consumption, saving 1.7 litres of diesel per 100km, and CO2 emissions being reduced by up to 6,5%. Flix is currently investigating whether this innovative technology could be implemented throughout the fleet.
In Germany, with partners Freudenberg Sealing Technologies and ZF Friedrichshafen, we kicked off a HyFleet project to build a hydrogen-powered engine that will, in the long run, substitute traditional diesel engines.
Most recently, we announced an ambitious project led by OEM Daimler Buses to develop a high-performance full-electric drive for long-distance buses within the next four years. The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action is investing in the project, and we will be testing the technology on two prototype buses in real conditions.
Supporting innovation that will lead to carbon-free travel will be one of the main drivers for change. FlixBus is already doing it’s part, however, to make an impact requires all stakeholders – from policymakers to infrastructure providers to transport operators – to take the issue seriously.
Q: What is FlixBus’ vision for the future of mobility?
A: Our vision is simple and clear: smart, green transport for everyone, everywhere to experience the world. This means accessible transport that is excellent value-for-money, providing great travel experiences across thousands destinations, with convenience and sustainability as our core values.
We believe that the green agenda is the strongest market driver, and Flix as a brand stands for eco-friendly mobility on road and rail as clearly shown through our wide range of environmental initiatives. FlixBus and FlixTrain therefore complement each other perfectly.
We believe that consolidating previously fragmented markets through technology – our data-driven solutions and digital tools – will drive the future of travel. However, our unique business model also allows small to medium companies, i.e. our coach operator partners, to thrive. These businesses are the backbone of a strong, functioning economy and we are proud to partner with coach companies, many of which have remained family-owned for several generations.
In the UK, we are on a mission to become the country’s largest coach provider as we have done many times before in markets around the world. We offer consumers unique access to an international, long distance transport network offering sustainable, affordable and reliable coach transport.
Q: What can we expect to see from FlixBus in the next 12-18 months?
A: In the UK, we are planning to expand our network to reach more cities and towns than ever before, and will also increase frequencies on existing routes to meet the extensive demand we’ve seen in the last year. The popularity of coach travel has soared in 2022, and we nearly doubled (94% uplift) passenger numbers between April and September compared to the previous year. We also welcomed our 1 millionth UK passenger on board during this period.
Flix also reported its most commercially successful summer, transporting over 34 million passengers worldwide this summer across its FlixBus and FlixTrain brands. We anticipate even greater demand this year, as consumers seek affordable, sustainable and reliable transport.
To do this, we’ll be strengthening relationships with our existing key coach operators and seeking to onboard new partners from around the country. Ultimately, we are cementing ourselves as a key pillar of the UK’s transport infrastructure, delivering consistent, high quality