Berlin Flixbus has announced a restart to its long-distance bus services, including large and smaller cities as well as neighbouring countries. But with a reduced number of stops and no onboard toilets.
Commuters and travellers in Germany will once again be able to travel by long-distance bus. Following a two-month corona break, Flixbus has announced a restart for Thursday next week. The German market leader announced on Friday that their green buses will initially make around 50 stops. Before the crisis, this number was ten times greater. The buses have been at a standstill since 18 March due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Competitors such as Blablabus and Pinkbus have not yet announced if, and when, they will resume service.
“We want to make safe travel possible even in these corona times,” managing director of Flixbus André Schwämmlein told the German Press Agency (DPA). The company has developed hygiene measures for this purpose - buses are disinfected after each journey, and a safety distance of 1.5 metres applies at bus stops and when boarding and alighting the vehicles. Tickets are checked without making contact, and disinfectant is available.
Seats will not be blocked off like in trains, explained Schwämmlein. “It is not economically viable.” But passengers must wear masks during the entire journey. This also requires a level of personal responsibility, he said. “We appeal to our passengers to only start their journeys if they are completely free of symptoms.”
“Despite the greater efforts involved, Flixbus journeys will not be more expensive. “We assume that we can maintain the price level we had before the crisis,” says Schwämmlein.
Flixbus announced that besides large cities such as Berlin, Leipzig, Nuremberg, Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main and Munich, smaller cities like Bayreuth, Himmelkron, Titisee-Neustadt, Weimar and Wolpertshausen will also be served. Services will also run to neighbouring countries Austria, Poland, Czech Republic and Denmark. Onboard toilets will remain closed so that passengers can observe social distancing on the bus. However, the drivers will make regular stops at rest areas, according to the company. “We will survive this crisis,” says Schwämmlein. “The company is very well funded.”
(Original text: dpa, Translation: Caroline Kusch)