Flixbus start running services on some UK routes again

cnjb8

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Looks like this thread can have its name changed (again!). Typing in various combinations of destinations into the journey planner on https://www.flixbus.co.uk shows up a number of routes from next Thursday (15th April). These are the routes that have been identified so far, but it's all a bit trial and error as there's been no announcement or map as yet, so the actual routes may well be longer than those below.

Edinburgh Airport to Dunfermline
via Inverkeithing

Luton Airport to Dunstable

London Victoria to Bradford

via Finchley Road, Sheffield (Meadowhall) and Leeds

London Victoria to Bristol
via Hammersmith, Heathrow and Bristol University

London Victoria to Derby
via Finchley Road, Fosse Park, Leicester and Loughborough

London Victoria to Manchester
via Finchley Road and Birmingham

London Victoria to Swansea
via Heathrow, Newport, Cardiff, Bridgend and Swansea University
Interesting. It might be just me or does the Luton Airport to Dunstable service sound a bit strange? It's a bit short for a coach service
 
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Flange Squeal

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I wonder will they manage to comply to PSVAR rules this time?

I'm sure a certain individual is watching this closely and planning to make sure they do :D
I've read that Turners (who I believe used compliant Levantes on the previous Bristol service) are expected to be involved again, along with Whippet of Swavesey who certainly have Levante experience with National Express. Linburg Touring of Sheffield are also rumoured to be a potential contractor, along with Thandi of Birmingham. Can't provide any confirmation about any of these rumoured operators though!

I have a feeling it's London to Dunstable via Luton Airport, i.e. selling tickets on the existing Arriva GreenLine service. It's available today.
Just had a look, might be a similar story with the Edinburgh Airport to Dunfermline route as well actually. Selling tickets for Stagecoach 747.
 
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Flange Squeal

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Scott Cooper has posted on Twitter an update of the useful timetables he created last year, making it easier to work out what is being operated (and by which contractor).

(Picture by @darloscott)
 

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darloscott

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Scott Cooper has posted on Twitter an update of the useful timetables he created last year, making it easier to work out what is being operated (and by which contractor).

(Picture by @darloscott)
Attached is the PDF version. Can provide the Excel if anyone can figure out a better way of laying it out... not easy to fit on one sheet now though!
 

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CBlue

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I wouldn't be surprised if Whippet are involved again. They seem to have a big pile of Levante's left over from all the cancelled National Express services, and that was their main business at the time.
 

MotCO

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Attached is the PDF version. Can provide the Excel if anyone can figure out a better way of laying it out... not easy to fit on one sheet now though!

Can you explain the key to your table, please? Does 1234_6_ mean it runs on Mon, Tues, Wed, Thur and Sat, or does 1 refer to Sunday?
 

Llandudno

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If I was a coach operator I think I would request payment upfront or at the very least don’t give too much extended credit.
 

Martin2012

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The numbers 1-7 in the timetable run from Monday to Sunday so the numbers 1,2,3,4 and 6 means a journey that runs Monday to Thursday and Saturday
 

Flange Squeal

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I wouldn't be surprised if Whippet are involved again. They seem to have a big pile of Levante's left over from all the cancelled National Express services, and that was their main business at the time.
Scott's timetable above shows which operator is on which run, with a three letter code under each trip. Whippet look set to run all of the Bradford via Sheffield/Leeds and Derby via Leicester/Loughborough journeys, half the Swansea via Cardiff journeys, and two round trips on the Bristol route. The remaining Bristol and Swansea trips are with Turners, and Manchester via Birmingham is with Thandi.
 

Cesarcollie

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Scott's timetable above shows which operator is on which run, with a three letter code under each trip. Whippet look set to run all of the Bradford via Sheffield/Leeds and Derby via Leicester/Loughborough journeys, half the Swansea via Cardiff journeys, and two round trips on the Bristol route. The remaining Bristol and Swansea trips are with Turners, and Manchester via Birmingham is with Thandi.
Presumably Whippet have severed all links with NX then....!
 

CBlue

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Presumably Whippet have severed all links with NX then....!
Makes me wonder if their commercial relationship has soured. Nat Ex do seem to be quite demanding of their contractors on occasion which seems to have caused upset before - then again you have other East Anglian operators like Galloway who have been running NX services for years.
 

WestCoast

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If I was a coach operator I think I would request payment upfront or at the very least don’t give too much extended credit.

Fair comment based on their UK track record, however a quick search reveals that FlixMobility which is mostly Flixbus is rapidly approaching the sort revenue that NX generates o_O
 

Martin2012

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Interestingly National Express are enhancing the timetable on the 040 Bristol to London route from next Friday to run virtually every hour 7 days a week with some journeys being offered for only 90p!
 

extendedpaul

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There are 90p fares on National Express between London and other destinations including Cardiff, Manchester and Leeds over the next few weeks. Seem to be the journeys at the same or similar times as the Flixbus schedule....
 

Llandudno

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There are 90p fares on National Express between London and other destinations including Cardiff, Manchester and Leeds over the next few weeks. Seem to be the journeys at the same or similar times as the Flixbus schedule....
Not good news for the rail industry if you can travel by coach for free!

Will the railway retaliate and offer some incentives to get passengers back on board...?
 

JonathanH

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Not good news for the rail industry if you can travel by coach for free!
In what way - the capacity and speed offered by the railway remains competitive against very cheap coach fares.

Five hours on a coach from London to Manchester compared to just over two hours by train has some bearing on demand.
 

carlberry

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Not good news for the rail industry if you can travel by coach for free!

Will the railway retaliate and offer some incentives to get passengers back on board...?
They don't need to, the government pays anyway.
 

Bletchleyite

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Not good news for the rail industry if you can travel by coach for free!

Will the railway retaliate and offer some incentives to get passengers back on board...?

Coaches don't compete with the railway to any great extent, other than odd bits like the LNR long distance budget services and stuff like the Oxford Tube. They are largely in a totally different price range in the market.
 

Llandudno

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The virtually ‘free’ coaches may impact GWR more than others possibly, as isn’t there major engineering work taking place in the Bristol area this summer?
 

extendedpaul

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Not good news for the rail industry if you can travel by coach for free!

Will the railway retaliate and offer some incentives to get passengers back on board...?
All my travel is for leisure purposes and I've recently started booking May onwards (with fingers crossed) but so far only coaches. I'd prefer to go by train every time and pre-COVID usually did, with longer distance journeys on advance tickets. If and when advances return at similar price levels to early 2020 I'll be back on the train.

I do think the rail industry will need to attract more leisure travellers within the next 12 months, to balance the inevitable fall in commuters and business people through increased home working. Well-publicised incentives may be effective, perhaps a "Buy one ticket, second person goes free" ( who remembers Persil 1980s offer ?) or a fixed fare promotion through the national press with £10-£40 fares as used to run regularly.

I fully understand and accept the current pricing and restrictions but when faced with a choice of £3 return by coach or £40 by train for a similar journey I decided to book Flixbus. I'm happy to pay at least double as much for rail travel instead of coach but that level of saving is hard to resist.
 

johncrossley

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Even if there are three coaches per hour between Bristol and London and every seat is filled, that is still a small fraction of the 580 standard class seats per train available on a 9 car Class 800.
 

RT4038

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All my travel is for leisure purposes and I've recently started booking May onwards (with fingers crossed) but so far only coaches. I'd prefer to go by train every time and pre-COVID usually did, with longer distance journeys on advance tickets. If and when advances return at similar price levels to early 2020 I'll be back on the train.

I do think the rail industry will need to attract more leisure travellers within the next 12 months, to balance the inevitable fall in commuters and business people through increased home working. Well-publicised incentives may be effective, perhaps a "Buy one ticket, second person goes free" ( who remembers Persil 1980s offer ?) or a fixed fare promotion through the national press with £10-£40 fares as used to run regularly.

I fully understand and accept the current pricing and restrictions but when faced with a choice of £3 return by coach or £40 by train for a similar journey I decided to book Flixbus. I'm happy to pay at least double as much for rail travel instead of coach but that level of saving is hard to resist.
Doubt that £3 fares are sustainable in the longer term though.
 

extendedpaul

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I think selling a small number of seats at a bargain basement price is useful marketing and sustainable. There were Megabus/Megatrain tickets from £1 for many years, ending only when someone complained that having just one seat @ £1 per service amounted to misleading advertising. Megabuses on my route to Cardiff were often full and the loss of revenue from a (my!) single £1 seat hardly mattered given the publicity Sid generated.

On some trains there are only five advance tickets sold at the lowest price. No real difference to shops selling a £1000 three piece suite for £100 to the first customer through the door on the first day of a sale. If such deals benefit consumers - even if only a small number "in the know" - I reckon that's a good thing. Hopefully Flixbus will fare better in the UK than Greyhound back in the 00s.
 

Volvodart

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FlixBus aims to build the UK’s largest coach network by 2025​


https://cbwmagazine.com/flixbus-aim...etwork-by-2025/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

FlixBus aims to build the UK’s largest coach network by 2025

FlixBus already provides long-distance European services from London, and had commenced UK domestic operations in 2020, prior to lockdown. RICHARD SHARMAN

FlixBus already provides long-distance European services from London, and had commenced UK domestic operations in 2020, prior to lockdown. RICHARD SHARMAN
FlixBus is to launch new domestic connections between UK cities starting on 15 April with tickets available from 99p
FlixBus is returning to the UK market and launching new domestic connections, the firm says, as the country starts to re-open. From 15 April, passengers will be offered journeys on 18 routes covering 12 cities. Passengers can book tickets from 99p for a number of routes between London, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, Leeds, Leicester, Loughborough, Manchester, Sheffield and Swansea, with up to seven departures in each direction on peak days, depending on the route. The most frequent corridors will be London-Bristol and London-Birmingham.
Andreas Schorling, Managing Director FlixBus UK said: “Many UK residents have held back their activities in the past months to reach the point where people can start to reunite. We are glad that we can provide a new, value for money mobility alternative to those travelling to meet their loved ones finally. Seeing the efficient vaccination program, we are hopeful that more and more passengers will have the opportunity to move around the country freely again in the upcoming period. Although outlooks are optimistic, we stay cautious: hygiene and safety continue to be our highest priority to ensure a safe journey.”
FlixBus said that in line with coronavirus precautions, every coach will be disinfected before every journey and undergo a thorough cleaning process. In line with regulations, passengers will have to wear masks, as will drivers when away from their seat. The row immediately behind the drivers will be kept clear, and only half of the remaining seats will be sold to help keep a safe distance between passengers.
The operator plans to gradually increase the number of services operating during the coming weeks, with a goal of having ‘a truly compelling offer by the summer, with new holiday destinations and a significantly increased number of cities in the domestic network,’ as well as bringing back international services between UK cities and destinations in continental Europe, such as Paris, Amsterdam or Brussels when the situation allows.
The company says it has bold long-term plans in the UK and aims to build the country’s largest coach network by 2025. Working in collaboration with local small and medium-sized companies, FlixBus uses technology to plan the service and routes. Its partner operators take care of the day-to-day operations, and share the revenue of the journeys operated together. Flixbus says that the larger share of the revenue goes to the operator, meaning both parties stay motivated to always provide the best service for the passengers, and ultimately all stakeholders benefit from the business model. Flixbus told CBW that the initial services will be operated by Cambridge-based Whippet Coaches, Turners Coachways of Bristol, Sheffield-based Linburg and Thandi Coaches of Abberley Street, Smethwick (not to be confused with other operators of a similar name) and that most coaches on the network will be in FlixBus livery, with the rest to follow in the next few weeks.
FlixBus is also selling third party journeys on its website for Arriva Green Line, RATP Air Decker, Stagecoach JET 747 and Transdev Flyer.
“The past year hit the transportation industry hard. For SMEs especially, it is crucial to restart their businesses as long as it can be done in a safe way by following regulations and guidelines. We are confident that we can provide a stable base for our partners to grow and strengthen their business after a very challenging period,” added Andreas. Of the 36 countries it operates in, the UK is among the first where FlixBus is restarting its services, which it said is due to the accelerated vaccination campaign and the ongoing easing of the restrictions.
“Our colleagues around the world are also fastening their eyes on our expansion in the UK. Thanks to the quick improvements in the situation around Covid-19, we will draw some important conclusions from the local UK mobility sector experiences,” Andreas concluded.
Martin Evans, who has joined Flixbus as Senior Business Development Manager UK, told CBW: “It is exciting to be a part of FlixBus’ journey in the UK coach market at this early stage already. Our business model has proven to be very successful wherever FlixBus operates across the globe and has made us the world’s biggest provider of long-distance bus services. We have ambitious plans for the UK. In cooperation with our local partners, our team is aiming to build the largest coach network and provide a great value for money service available for everyone around the country.”
 

overthewater

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The question has to be: are they getting into bed with many others?

FlixBus is also selling third party journeys on its website for Arriva Green Line, RATP Air Decker, Stagecoach JET 747 and Transdev Flyer

Then their real target has to be Nat express. I just can't see them getting the foothold they want. Many people use Megabus for one reason: the price. Mind you, if they get a foothold in Scotland maybe Citylink can buy back the Parks routes.
 
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