German FlixBus buys legendary American coach company Greyhound

A Greyhound bus in El Paso, Texas on March 5, 2021. JOSÉ LUIS GONZALEZ / REUTERS

Greyhound buses have been part of the American landscape for decades. They will now run under the German flag. The young German coach company FlixBus will buy the legendary American brand, leader in long-distance buses, in order to strengthen its offer in the United States, the FlixMobility group announced on Thursday 21 October.

FlixBus will pay 172 million dollars (nearly 148 million euros) to Firstgroup, the current British owner of Greyhound, which has 2,400 North American destinations with nearly 16 million passengers per year. The German carrier has grown into Germany’s most popular long-distance bus service in just a few years, operating in 36 countries in addition to the United States, and expanded to include rail services in 2018.

FlixBus launched its offer in the United States in 2018, initially to compete with Greyhound, a company founded in 1914 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Immortalized in countless movies and TV shows, Greyhound buses are icons of the post-war years for their unbeatable fares, popular with students and long-haul travelers alike.

“A major breakthrough”

“The acquisition of Greyhound is a major step forward” in the development of FlixBus, according to Jochen Engert, boss and co-founder of the German company, which has achieved tremendous growth since its inception in 2013.

“Greyhound is an iconic company, which is, with its unique network connecting communities across the continent, at the heart of North American life”, praised David Martin, director of Firstgroup. The Covid-19 pandemic however severely affected Greyhound, forced to reduce its rotations. The group has ended its operations in Canada, excluding cross-border routes, due to the health crisis.

Firstgroup, specializing in rail and road public transport, had already announced in April the sale for 4.6 billion euros of its activities in the United States, including the management of tens of thousands of famous yellow school buses. With these operations, the group intends to refocus on the United Kingdom and improve its finances.

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The World with AFP

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