European company FlixBus launches service in Baltimore this week

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Image courtesy of FlixBus.

Baltimoreans will have yet another option for hopping the bus to New York.

The European company FlixBus is launching service from Southeast Baltimore starting May 30, picking passengers up at the intersection of S. Ponca and Boston streets and taking them them to four possible destinations, including the Big Apple. The other three: Washington D.C., Rockville and Richmond, Virginia.

To kick things off, the firm is offering one-way fares at $4.99 during the month of June. After the deal expires on June 10, $4.99 will be the average price of the lowest available fare depending on demand.

In a statement, Pierre Gourdain, managing director of FlixBus USA, said the company hopes to tap into the growing car-less lifestyle popular among young people, and to inspire others to take it up.

“If we are only taking market share from Greyhound, we aren’t succeeding in the U.S.,” he said. “We want to show people how inefficient it is to use your car for long-distance trips in the age of high gas and parking prices, traffic and low mileage leases. The bus provides a convenient and comfortable alternative, one that allows people to work, relax or sleep while they travel and keep more money to enjoy their destination.”

Unlike Bolt Bus or Greyhound, FlixBus is not actually maintaining a fleet of new vehicles, so much as it is coordinating travel routes with small- and mid-size providers and slapping bright green branding on the sides of the buses. There are already 20 partners in the U.S.

This, the company said, allows for more of a focus on technology, like free access to movies, music, games and e-books through FlixBus’ app, integrating booking and payment with Google Assistant, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Amazon Alexa, and planning new routes and stops.

Its European fleet, launched in 2013, now includes things like virtual reality for riders and all-electric buses, but those will not be available in the U.S. until FlixBus has a more robust network, a company representative said.

FlixBus started service in the States last year, beginning in California and expanding to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Utah. With the addition of the new East Coast destinations, FlixBus can be found in nine states.

Brandon Weigel

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