Munich (dpa) – The Munich long-distance bus and train provider Flixmobility becomes the market leader in the USA at one stroke.
For around 172 Million dollars (148 million euros) will be bought by Greyhound Lines, the largest provider of long-distance bus travel in North America, as both sides announced on Thursday. Instead of the previous 195 destinations, Flixmobility will now offer around 2400 long-distance bus destinations in the USA.
“Together, Flixbus and Greyhound will meet the increased demand for environmentally friendly mobility in the USA,” said Flixmobility co-founder André Schwämmlein. His company, which is best known in Germany for the Flixbus and Flixtrain brands, has been active in the USA since 2018 and has significantly expanded its range within three years.
Greyhound: A US icon
With Greyhound, the Munich-based company is taking over a US icon: The 1914 founded company with headquarters in Dallas, Texas an integral part of US pop culture – often celebrated and shown in Hollywood films. 1967 the “Greyhound” bus with its silver design made it to the New York Museum of Modern Art. 1975 skipped motorcycle stuntman Evel Knievel in a TV spectacle 14 Greyhounds with his Harley-Davidson.
But in the past few decades the shine fades. Greyhound remained number 1 in the US long-distance bus market, but evolved from a symbol of new beginnings to a means of transport for the lower class plagued by image problems. Battered seats and smelly on-board toilets often made the long journeys through the open country difficult to bear and earned the greyhound uncomfortable nicknames such as “Dirty Dog” or “Hell Hound”. However, the bus industry has traditionally had a difficult time in America, a country where the car industry is – those who can afford it will fly longer distances or take the train.
Greyhound was previously part of the British transport company Firstgroup. With the sale, the company strengthens its focus on public transport offers in Great Britain, announced Firstgroup. Firstgroup had taken over Greyhound 2007. With its smaller partner Peter Pan, Greyhound also operates the low-cost company Boltbus, which is currently closed due to the pandemic, and competes in the USA alongside its large rival Megabus, which belongs to Flixbus in Europe, with local providers such as New York’s China Town Bus.
Unlike Flixmobility, Greyhound has its own fleet of buses with around 1300 vehicles. The drivers are employed directly by the company. The German platform, on the other hand, does not have its own buses or trains, but usually arranges the trips to external providers. Their vehicles are then pasted in the green Flixbus design. The drivers are employed by the contractors.
Strategy for Greyhound so far open
Whether Flixmobility will introduce this model at Greyhound in the medium term and what the takeover will do for the 2400 means employed, initially remained open. At the moment everything stays the same, both companies work separately from each other, it was said. “With a history of over 100 – we know how valuable the Greyhound brand is and we look forward to sharing the experience in the future benefit ”, explained Flixmobility.
The Munich-based company is on an expansion course. Since the market liberalization 2013, Flixmobility has not only dominated the German long-distance bus market, but has also developed into one of the largest bus networks in Europe. According to its own information, Flixmobility now drives to around 2500 destinations in 14 countries outside the USA via its bus partners.
For several years now, the Deutsche Bahn group has also been competing with long-distance rail services. Here, too, the market share is expected to grow, but it is at a low level.
Although the company had to interrupt its offerings twice for several months during the Corona crisis, it is sticking to its growth targets. Market entry in Brazil is planned for the end of the year. In June, the group raised millions of dollars from investors in another financing round 650. Flixmobility now uses the money to pay for the takeover in the USA.