Whether it's Midnight Cowboy or Planes, Trains and Automobiles, cinematic shoutouts to the Greyhound bus ride usually aren’t very uplifting. Just why it makes for such a depressing backdrop is obvious to anyone who has ever ridden one – it’s not always the most pleasant of experiences.
Maybe that makes it an easy target. And in a world where there is literally a startup for everything, FlixMobility wants to make taking a long-haul bus trendy again. But how?
Well, the company has established a model in Europe and is working to bring it to the Southwest this summer. FlixMobility serves as a customer-facing entity that focuses on marketing and ticket sales while using an Uber-like system of smaller bus companies to do the actual driving in “FlixBus” branded vehicles. The buses have been upgraded to feature outlets, Wi-Fi, live GPS route tracking, and aisle seats that slide over to give riders more space.
FlixMobility is also experimenting with the world’s first electric buses for long distance trips and kicked off a pilot program in France in April. Company co-founder André Schwämmlein called the run between two French cities – that I can totally pronounce, I’m just not going to – “the most environmentally-friendly mode of long-distance public transport in the world.”
And if Flix grabs the American market, linking cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Vegas, we just might see those electric buses here sooner rather than later.
As for Greyhound, they said that this isn’t their first rodeo and that the buzz of a new approach simply “builds awareness” for the whole bus thing. Umm - or builds awareness of how much people detest riding a Greyhound bus. That’s possible too.