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Long-distance bus service prices are as expensive as ever

DThe range of long-distance bus services is increasing, but tickets are becoming less accessible. Recently they have cost more than they have done since the market came out six years ago, according to an analysis of the Iges market research institute. At the end of last year, suppliers paid 10.7 cents per passenger and per kilometer. The standard price was 0.8 cents per kilometer more than a year earlier. Therefore, the average fare for a distance of about 600 kilometers, or the distance between Berlin and Munich, has increased by just under five euros. Not included in these figures are fees for additional baggage, bookings or sales, for example from food sales.

Despite the price increase, the bus remains much cheaper than the train, even if the journey times are often longer. Market researchers have long observed that bus providers are adapting their prices to demand similar to that of airlines, thus increasing revenues. However, promotional prices have remained fairly constant over the last few years and have fluctuated between 3.6 and 4.3 cents per kilometer.

At the same time, according to Iges, the overall offer has grown significantly. At the end of 2018, there were 287 lines, after being steady between 240 and 250 for a long time. The number of weekly trips reached 3328, the highest level in two years. This also contributed to the railways and to Ryanair with warnings.

The bus market was released at the beginning of 2013. Numerous vendors rivaled cheap tickets for customers: in the meantime, the normal price was 20 percent lower than today's. For some years Flixbus dominated the German market almost alone. The company's green buses travel well over 95 percent of the kilometers offered per hour. The number of passengers increased in 2018 to over 45 million worldwide. It was 12.5 percent more than in 2017. The company was distributed in the United States, Bulgaria and Belarus. It is now active in 29 countries. In Germany Flixbus has extended its offer also with long-distance trains.

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