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European bus company FlixBus to offer $5 trips to New York, Washington from Baltimore

This 2015 file photo depicts a bus of the German intercity service FlixBus driving past the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris.
This 2015 file photo depicts a bus of the German intercity service FlixBus driving past the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris. (Thomas Samson / AFP/Getty Images)

A European bus company will begin offering $5 trips to New York, Washington, Richmond and Rockville from Baltimore this week.

FlixBus, which made its U.S. debut last year in California after launching in Germany in 2013, is debuting East Coast service beginning Thursday, the company announced.

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The startup does not own its bright green buses, opting instead to partner with hundreds of small- and medium-sized local bus operators. FlixBus has partnerships with 20 local companies in the U.S., serving more than 80 destinations.

“We wanted to change the perception of bus travel, get people to ditch their cars — and we have,” said Pierre Gourdain, managing director of FlixBus USA, in a statement. “Now we are bringing it to the next level on the East Coast.”

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All tickets will be priced at $4.99 to celebrate the East Coast debut, but prices will vary going forward, depending on seasonality and demand.

The Maryland Transit Administration unveiled a searchable online database that provides the public with the ability to view and track on-time rates for buses.

While it will serve as a competitor to Greyhound, Bolt Bus and other popular options of getting to New York and elsewhere, FlixBus emphasizes that nearly 65% of its riders have never taken a long-distance bus trip, an indication that “the company is creating a new market in the industry.”

“If we are only taking market share from Greyhound, we aren’t succeeding in the U.S.,” Gourdain said. “We want to show people how inefficient it is to use your car for long-distance trips in the age of high gas and parking prices, traffic and low mileage leases.”

A ticket on the all-electric buses, which can be booked with the FlixBus app, includes free WiFi, power outlets at every seat and plenty of leg room, the company said. Environmentally minded riders can purchase “CO2 Neutral” tickets, making a voluntary environmental contribution when booking their trip.

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