Coach company FlixBus suspends services as Germany enters into second lockdown
Clean Energy Wire
Europe's largest coach company FlixBus will suspend all of its bus and train connections in Germany, Austria and Switzerland by 3 November in response to the coronavirus lockdown. The company said it plans to resume its services by the Christmas holidays "if conditions permit it”. Germany's "lockdown light”, as the government has dubbed it, will see most non-essential shops and other venues closed, whereas schools, kindergartens and most businesses are allowed to remain opened. Germany's national rail operator Deutsche Bahn has said it will maintain operations without major changes during the lockdown.
While authorities stopped short of banning domestic and international travel altogether, Chancellor Angela Merkel urged citizens to cancel all journeys that are "not necessary”. FlixBus CEO Andre Schwämmlein said suspending services had been a very difficult decision, since both FlixBus and FlixTrain were "among the safest means of transport also during the corona crisis”.
FlixBus's parent company, Munich-based FlixMobility, carried 62 million passengers in 2019 and was growing its customer base fast before the pandemic hit. The entire FlixMobility network spans 2,500 destinations in 30 countries, which are served by coaches from FlixBus, trains from FlixTrain and acquired companies, such as Eurolines. The coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on mass transport since Germany went into its first nationwide lockdown in March, with many travellers swapping trains and buses for private cars, and bicycles for inner-city transport.