“Having a car is a thing of the past,” according to Pierre Gourdain, managing director of FlixBus USA, as the fast-growing, tech friendly bus service provider has arrived in the Pacific Northwest.
FlixBus announced that it is partnering with MTR Western, the Seattle-based transportation services company. The plan is to connect Seattle with a host of Washington and Oregon cities including Spokane, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Olympia, Corvallis, Coeur d’Alene, Albany, Ellensburg and Salem.
The lime green buses will hit the road starting Nov. 21 and tickets are on sale right now for $9.99.
“This has been one of the most meticulously laid out expansions in FlixBus history,” Gourdain said last Friday alongside MTR’s Howard Wright during a kickoff event at the Space Needle. “We really wanted to build a strong foundation — from having a great partner to offering the most competitive travel times and frequencies.”
Launched in Germany in 2013, FlixBus is known for green initiatives, including the introduction of long-distance electric buses in Europe. The company, with manufacturer MCI, piloted a test of that technology in the U.S. for the first time on a route from San Francisco to Sacramento, Calif.
“Most people have never ridden and probably won’t ride in an electric car for a long time because they’re still a bit out of range price-wise for a big part of the population,” Gourdain told Fast Company. “And we were thinking that for many people, their first experience of clean travel will be in an electric bus. In a way, it’s really the electric means of transportation for the 99 percent.”
FlixBus’s carbon offset initiatives are part of what it calls a Climate Neutrality Vision in which the company is aiming for 100 percent carbon neutral bus and train trips by 2030 at the latest.
FlixBus also wants the tech experience around its transportation to be innovative. It introduced the option to book tickets via Google Assistant voice control in 2018. Riders can also get bus and route information via Amazon Alexa. A virtual reality program was also implemented on a route between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
With Wi-Fi, outlets and an app that lets riders track an approaching bus like an Uber ride, Gourdain told Fast Company that FlixBus is reinventing long-distance travel.
“Let’s reinvent the way it’s delivered, let’s reinvent the way it’s sold and the way it’s branded to make the bus cool again and take people out of their cars,” he said.