Whippet expands Flixbus partnership

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Ascendal-owned Whippet will expand its FlixBus operation from two to 14 coaches, using MAN Neoplan Tourliners. FLIXBUS

Whippet is to expand its FlixBus fleet from two to fourteen with the purchase of new Neoplan Tourliners

Flixbus has unveiled plans to further expand its network, with operator partner Whippet reasserting its long-term commitment to the brand by growing its fleet. Cambridge-based Whippet is investing in the replacement of its current pair of Flixbus vehicles, and will be adding 12 additional coaches to the network this year, bringing its total number of coaches to 14.

Managing Director of FlixBus Andreas Schorling said: “Whippet has been a key cornerstone of our network since day one, so we are delighted to be expanding the network together with the historic and reputable operator. With over a hundred years of experience, we have found their innovative ideas; dynamic, agile approach; and high quality of service to be a perfect fit. The values and aspirations of the team at Whippet and its parent company Ascendal are totally aligned with ours, and we share a joint vision for transforming the coach industry.”

Tony Williamson, CEO for Asia, Europe and Latin America at Whippet owner Ascendal Group, commented: “We have seen the determination and ambition of the FlixBus team; there is no doubt they have the vision and skill to become the leading express operator in the UK coach market. We are confident that through our partnership with Flixbus we will continue to grow and build on the success achieved to date.

“We are delighted to make such a substantial, long-term commitment to FlixBus, based on convincing commercial results and our strong, collaborative working relationship.”

Ascendal Group, which bought Whippet in 2018, says it has the vision of bringing cities to life through public transport and by implementing world class solutions that deliver step changes in how public transport is perceived, accepted, and delivered. The group currently transports more than one million passengers daily across its bus operations contracts in Hong Kong, Chile and the UK.

Whippet has been working with FlixBus since the brand first launched in the UK two years ago. The company now operates a number of routes on the FlixBus network, including its home city of Cambridge, as well as what FlixBus believes is the first ever direct service between Manchester, Birmingham, Cambridge, London and Paris, which commenced in summer 2022. FlixBus says the route has delivered high numbers of passengers as a result of its network planning and strategic consumer demand analysis.

“Flix is a tech company at heart – we use advanced technology and high-quality data analysis to understand the market’s needs and develop our network based on this information. Our operators then focus on delivering the services, allowing us both to play to our strengths and together deliver an incredible service,” added Andreas.

New fleet

Whippet’s new fleet will consist of MAN Neoplan P20s, tailored to meet the FlixBus specification and promising high levels of passenger comfort and advanced features to support the built-in driver-aid technology.

Tony continued: “Updating our full FlixBus fleet means improving our on-board customer experience, with a brand-new interior which offers an outstanding level of comfort. As ever, FlixBus has supported us in reviewing the range of manufacturers available without dictating which vehicle make or model to put onto the network. We are able to make a decision that works for us both, and this speaks to the true partnership we enjoy.

“Express coach work is a leading aspect of our business success, and it’s a fantastic example of what can be achieved through collaboration with a company like FlixBus. We are delighted to be on this journey of explosive global growth with the green team!” concluded Williamson.

FlixBus parent company Flix celebrates its 10th anniversary on 15 February, having expanded into 40 countries in Europe as well as the USA, Canada and Brazil, and says it will continue with its plans for expansion in the UK this year. Andreas commented: “We had a phenomenally successful 2022, and momentum is only increasing on our way to becoming the largest coach provider in the UK. We are building the future of coach travel through bold plans to increase the destinations on our network this year in line with customer demand.”

Full details of the new routes will be released later this year, FlixBus said.