FlixBus continues rapid expansion

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A McGill’s Volvo 9700 Is captured arriving on its first passenger carrying trip to Bristol on 25 May. KARL OAKLEY

The express coach service operator has announced more new routes and operator partnerships as it ramps up its offering in time for the peak summer season

Ahead of the bank holiday weekend and further predicted rail strikes, FlixBus launched more new services in the UK, as well as expanded its reach to India (see International News). A new McGills-operated cross country route will connect Dundee and Bristol via Perth, Dunfermline, Edinburgh, Manchester, and Birmingham. The company will also introduce Carlisle as a new destination on this route, adding the city to its network for the first time.

In addition, FlixBus will bring services into Perth Bus Station, opening up new travel opportunities for passengers in the city centre towards Edinburgh, Dunfermline, Glasgow and Stirling; existing routes operated by FlixBus, Citylink, megabus and Ember currently serve the Broxden park & ride interchange on the edge of the city.

Additional journeys will also be introduced between Birmingham and London as well as from Newcastle to Manchester, Leeds and Middlesbrough.

Andreas Schorling, Managing Director of FlixBus UK said: “As the weather finally warms up, we know more passengers than ever will be looking for affordable, reliable and sustainable travel options around the country. We’re excited to be expanding our network to keep up with huge consumer demand for our green coaches. Meanwhile, we have kept the country moving throughout the rail strike disruptions of the past year, and next week will be no different. Coach continues to be the unsung hero of the transport industry, as thousands of people depend on our services to travel.”

Stanley Travel

Stanley Travel is one of two operators to join FlixBus recently, serving its UK network from 25 May. The North East operator will be delivering daily services between Newcastle, Leeds, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Manchester. Established in 1961, family-run Stanley Travel originally began as a taxi firm and has built a strong reputation over decades. The operation is now in its third generation of management by the Scott family and is still based in Stanley in County Durham. In recent years, it has focused investment on coaches for private hire, as well as contractual work with local schools and colleges, sports teams, and local universities.

The firm says that diversification was the key to its success pre-pandemic, and that joining the FlixBus network further enhances its diversification strategy and gives more balance to its operation. Transport Manager Gavin Scott commented: “We know the value of spreading risk, particularly after

Stanley Travel Transport Manager Gavin Scott. STANLEY TRAVEL

the Covid-19 years. That’s what initially attracted us to FlixBus express work, offering another string to our bow in terms of revenue. The team at FlixBus truly listened to us and did everything to make this work for Stanley Travel as well as themselves.”

The company is the first DVSA Earned Recognition operator on the FlixBus network, and is also part of the Guild of British Coach Operators.

Managing Director of FlixBus UK Andreas Schorling commented: “We are thrilled to welcome Stanley Travel to the FlixBus network. Their glowing reputation among the industry is well-deserved, and we have seen their commitment to delivering excellence in operations through their accolades and achievements. Stanley Travel already has strong relationships with some of our other key partners, and it’s fantastic to our network of operators supporting each other. We are building a team of ambitious quality-focused operators that share our vision of building the largest coach network in the UK.”

Gavin added: “I see FlixBus as where Amazon was 10 years ago; anyone who got involved in the early stages is now reaping the rewards. The innovative technology behind FlixBus, which is unlike anything else we’ve seen in the industry, and their success within other markets. FlixBus has entered UK to stay, on a mission to overtake established market players. We are impressed by this vision and can see the rapid growth already delivering on their ambition.”

Bouden Coach Travel

Also on 25 May, Bouden Coach Travel revealed its partnership with FlixBus, with daily services between Birmingham and London. The new service, which began in time for the late May bank holiday weekend and school half term, has seen Bouden adding one of its existing 59-seat Irizar i6s to the FlixBus network, rebranded in FlixBus lime green.

Managing Director Adel Bouden commented: “As a relatively modern company, having just celebrated our 10th birthday, we see joining the FlixBus network as an opportunity to work with another forward-thinking company offering a fresh approach to a traditional industry. The coach industry has been in need of an overhaul for some time, and I think the pandemic has created an opportunity for change. FlixBus’ technology makes coach travel more easily accessible for all, as well as more appealing for younger generations.
“We’re pleased to be joining the FlixBus network and hope we can add more services to the network in the future.”

Andreas Schorling added: “Bouden’s bold outlook, ambition, and desire to embrace technology makes them a fantastic partner. It’s brilliant to build a partnership with a company based in Birmingham, located in one of the country’s key travel hubs. Operators in the industry trust us to deliver our mission to become the largest coach network in the UK.”

Bouden started life as a minibus operator and has since expanded into corporate coach hire, offering day trips and event transport. Transport Manager Sophie Baugh commented: “Bouden prides itself on keeping local people in work, and we’re keen to create more job opportunities in Birmingham. We looked at a few options but after speaking to FlixBus we were certain that diversifying into regular express work would be the future of our company.”

Bouden Coach Travel has put an Irizar i6S into FlixBus livery for the service. FLIXBUS