Long-distance bus market in Germany - Statistics & Facts

Long-distance buses are a type of long-distance transport which connects different cities and regions with each other. In Germany, long-distance bus transport was liberalized in the beginning of 2013. Before that, long-distance bus lines were not allowed, barring a few exceptions. This was done for the protection of the Deutsche Bahn. Currently this ban applies only to bus lines that would directly compete with regional train transport.

The number of passengers on scheduled long-distance buses grew from roughly 23 million in 2015 to over 25 million in 2016. Almost 17 million passengers used domestic bus transport in 2016. According to a survey from 2016, that year roughly 950 thousand people in Germany took a long-distance bus for their last vacation.

While numerous players were still active on the long-distance bus market after its liberalization, in 2016 a clear dominance of the Flixbus company (previously MeinFernbus Flixbus) was recognizable. The market share, measured by schedule kilometers offered by Flixbus, amounted to more than 90 percent in the beginning of 2017. The second-largest long-distance bus company at this time, Deutsche Touring/Eurolines, had a market share of just under three percent. Lastly, in the summer of 2016, Flixbus took over the European bus lines of British Megabus and the long-distance bus segment of Postbus.

A long-distance bus line is like a bus line in local transport: during the regularly taken route from city A to city B stops at various locations take place, where passengers can disembark and board. The number of long-distance bus lines in Germany dropped from 319 in the first quarter of 2016 to a total of 246 in the first quarter of 2017.

Although the long-distance bus industry in Germany shows constantly rising passenger numbers, according to the ADAC (General German Automobile Club), the infrastructure in many places leaves much to be desired. The Automobile Club tested a total of ten long-distance bus terminals in January 2017 in eight German federal states und came to the conclusion that 80 percent of the stations tested did not have a tactile management system in the lounge and waiting areas. Every second terminal had no weather protection between the waiting area and the platform.

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