F ernbuses have long established themselves as an alternative to rail, plane or car for price-sensitive customers. After a short time, some providers, including ADAC and Deutsche Post, had to give up the price war on the market. Market leader Flixbus dominates the industry and continues to grow.
Now the Munich-based company is facing new competition from France. Comuto, which operates the Bla-Bla-Car ridesharing agency, is expanding to Germany with the new BlaBlaBus brand after taking over the French operator Ouibus.
400 destinations in Europe, tickets from 99 cents
The first Bla-Bla-Bus started on the route from Düsseldorf to Berlin, 19 destinations will be offered at the market launch. By the end of 2019, they want to head for 40 destinations in Germany, 400 routes are planned across Europe. Bla-Bla-Bus is hoping for quick market success from the 6.5 million registered users of the Bla-Bla-Car app in Germany, who can purchase bus tickets in addition to free spaces in cars. The buses are primarily to travel on busy main routes, while customers for destinations away from the big cities can still make use of the ride-sharing options offered.
Like Flixbus, Bla-Bla-Bus also relies on vehicles from subcontractors, it does not have its own fleet built up. At the start, the new offer attracts with prices from 99 cents, for example for the routes Berlin-Dortmund or Düsseldorf-Hamburg. These lure prices are only valid on certain days and for tickets booked well in advance. Spontaneous travelers pay 13.99 euros for the just over six-hour journey from Düsseldorf to Hamburg if booked the day before departure.
In addition to one piece of hand luggage, two other pieces of luggage that can be stowed in the hold of the bus can be free of charge get picked up. Sockets and WiFi with 4G speed should be available on board for all seats.
After starting with domestic German routes, Bla-Bla-Bus will soon also offer travel destinations in Europe. Connections to and from France, the provider's home market, should be part of the program very soon.