FlixTrain in Berlin

49-euro Deutschlandticket a thorn in the side of Flix

FlixTrain in Berlin Flix Mobility

Most of Germany is quite happy with the Deutschlandticket, and rail operators see more passengers on their trains. For Flix, which runs trains and buses, this is a different story however. The ticket is not valid on their services, and people with a D-ticket therefore don’t favour them. Flix wants to be integrated in the offer, but the transport ministry is not convinced.

It seems passengers who otherwise use Flix buses and trains as a cheaper alternative now have another option – and choose regional rail transport. “We definitely see an impact of the Deutschlandticket on demand for long-distance bus journeys on selected routes, including from large cities to typical tourist regions”, a Flixbus spokesperson told German newspaper Rheinische Post. Especially trips from Hamburg to the coast are said to be affected, and Flix even thinned out the bus offer on corresponding lines, explained the spokesperson.

Between May and the beginning of September, up to eleven million customers have taken advantage of the Deutschland, or D-ticket, according to numbers of the Association of German Transport Companies VDV. The largest proportion of this, namely 47 per cent, are new subscribers who previously used public transport with single tickets or season tickets without a subscription. Around 42 percent are so-called switchers from existing subscriptions. Around 8 percent of buyers are new customers who have not generally used public transport before. The numbers don’t say anything about users of Flix services who now opt for the Deutschlandticket, but Flix does feel the impact on several services.

Taking part in the D-ticket

Flix would like to join in on the Deutschlandticket offer, but the German transport ministry does not just allow that. The private company points out that long-distance buses bring great added value for users of the Deutschlandticket. The main goal of the D-ticket was to increase the attractiveness of local public transport, something Flix does not fall under, is the ministries’ view. The ticket is also not valid on long-distance ICE trains, for example.

Flix already saw a decline in passengers in the summer of last year, when the nine-euro ticket was in effect. Flixbus boss André Schwämmlein told Der Spiegel at the time that the number of passengers on some lines had fallen by a third to half. After the discounted offer ended, passenger numbers recovered again.

On the total financial stability of Flix, it does not seem like taking no part in the Deutschlandticket will leave much of a dent. Flix said to the Rheinische Post that the effects of the Deutschlandticket would have no influence “on the company’s profitable growth strategy. The company, active in 41 countries, published its figures for the first half of 2023 recently. From January to the end of June 2023, more than 36 million people worldwide traveled with FlixBus, FlixTrain, Greyhound and Kamil Koc. It does not mention anything about its profitablity in Germany due to the Deutschlandticket. The Flix Group’s total sales amounted to 860 million euros, an increase of 54 per cent compared to 557 million between January and June 2022. For Flix, it is the most successful first half of the year in the company’s history.

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Author: Esther Geerts

Former Editor RailTech.com

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