German intercity market consolidates
The two largest companies formed to take advantage of the liberalisation of Germany’s intercity coach market have announced their merger with immediate effect. MeinFernBus and Flixbus, both founded in 2011, intend the merger to drive further significant growth in operations across Germany and into neighbouring countries. With the support of new investor, General Atlantic, MeinFernBus FlixBus has set a target of having 1000 vehicles in operation by the end of 2015, nearly doubling the current combined total of 560 serving 178 routes. Support will also be provided by current FlixBus investors Holtzbrinck Ventures and TUM.
Announcing the merger, the companies stressed the complimentary expertise that they bring to the combined operation: networks and customer service from MeinFernBus, together with ticketing and information systems from FlixBus. This is reflected in the Director roles taken by the companies’ five founders. Jochen Engert, André Schwämmlein and Daniel Krauss of FlixBus and Torben Greve and Panya Putsathit MeinFernBus are all fully committed to the new operation saying, ’we want to be Europe’s most innovative and favoured long distance coach operation.’
The combined operation will adopt a green livery and MeinFernBus Flixbus branding for the vehicles provided by its operating partners. Merging of the networks will give impressive frequencies on major routes including every 30 minutes between Berlin and Hamburg. In addition to increased frequencies, growth will be achieved through the introduction of express routes, the development of the night route network and cross border services into neighbouring countries.
Responding to the merger, competitor ADAC Postbus is reported to have launched its own ’two into one’ merger, offering two passengers the opportunity to travel for the price of one on certain services. 2009 founded market pioneer, DeinBus.de, which went into administration in November, was acquired by an undisclosed investor from southern Germany immediately before Christmas and will continue to trade in its current format. Despite being in administration, the company announced a new route and revised connection opportunities in December and an announcement on further expansion is expected before the end of January.