FlixBus, a German company based in Munich, has expanded to Canada and launched bus services connecting major cities across Ontario.
Since April 7, 2022, the service has been operating daily, connecting the University of Waterloo to Guelph, Kitchener, and Toronto. Bus stops for FlixBus include the University of Waterloo, Downtown Kitchener, Guelph Central Station, Harbourfront, Niagara Falls and Ottawa.
“Ontario is a dream bus market with some of North America’s most vibrant cities and we are immensely happy to begin building connections here,” said Pierre Gourdain, managing director of the North American division of FlixBus, in a statement.
FlixBus’ confidence in expanding may stem from the fact that bookings on existing services, including Europe and the U.S., have now risen above pre-pandemic levels. The pandemic has continued to be a major determining factor in the viability of such transportation companies, as Greyhound Canada, another intercity bus service, was forced to permanently shut down domestic services due to the pandemic’s detrimental impact on revenue.
Though GO Transit offers almost hourly services, compared to FlixBus’ less frequent trips, FlixBus’ direct intercity transportation — without the transfers that GO Transit sometimes requires — has proven more convenient for certain students.
Tickets from UW to Toronto range from $11.99 to $18.99 and can be booked online through the FlixBus website. GO Transit ticket prices change depending on the length of the journey, with a two-and-a-half-hour-long journey from Union Station to UW costing roughly $19.40, but an hour-long journey from Guelph Central GO to UW costing roughly $9.50.
“While GO trains are faster, FlixBus is the best economical option for long routes. I think the price is right, it is affordable and student-friendly. A great alternative for students who travel in and out of Waterloo frequently,” said Tanya Panesar, an ARBUS student. “I have not had a chance to take the FlixBus but I plan to use it very soon.”
FlixBus is planning to offer cross-border services from Ontario to the United States later in the summer. In October 2021, FlixBus’ parent company FlixMobility acquired Greyhound for $46 million, and FlixMobility’s existing business model, which has been described as Uber-esque — subcontracting bus services themselves to other companies while retaining a portion of the ticket profits — has been speculated to be their saving grace due to the flexibility this affords them.