Six months after FlixBus entered the US market on the west coast, the company has already set its sights on expanding to other parts of the country. In 2019, the German company plans to expand its network to New York and Texas and eventually hopes to have connections available in the Pacific Northwest and the Chicago area. This announcement comes after a successful first six months in the west coast and aligns with the company’s plans to become a market leader in the United States.
FlixBus Expands in the United States
With more than 2000 destinations across multiple European countries, including France, Italy, Spain and its native Germany, FlixBus is no stranger to expanding into new markets. According to the company’s CEO André Schwammlein, FlixBus’s first five months in the United States have proven to be more successful than some of the company’s European markets. The company’s most popular route, Los Angeles to Las Vegas, has an average of 75% occupancy for its buses, while services throughout southern California and the San Francisco Bay area had an average of 60%.
This is no surprise since the company has been consistently offering low prices and a variety of cheap deals, such as routes between LA and Las Vegas for just $4.99. During its first month of operations, the company was 67% cheaper than its competitors for the LA to Las Vegas route. However, despite these low ticket prices and frequent promotions being a major draw, the company’s use of app-based booking and offerings of amenities, such as Wifi and electrical outlets are also believed to be major factors in the company’s success.
However, New York could prove to be a much larger challenge with a number of regional bus providers to contend with as well as train lines and low-cost airlines. The northeast corridor has the highest rate of intercity bus traffic in the United States, and it’s no coincidence that the bus company offered its first routes on the other side of the country. “The West Coast was about testing a hypothesis,” Schwammlein reflected. “Now we want to go pedal to the metal toward number two, and hopefully number one someday.”