Portugal’s intercity bus market is set to be ‘liberalised’ in December, meaning Rede Expressos will no longer be the only company to offer long-distance bus trips between Portuguese cities.
According to Diário de Notícias, German ‘bus giant’ FlixBus will be providing Rede Expressos with some stiff competition as soon as new rules come into place on December 4.
“We have known for many years that the Portuguese market was going to be liberalised. We are ready,” said Rede Expressos CEO Martinho Santos Costa.
While companies will be able to offer bus routes from any town or city, the Rede Expressos boss doubts that this will actually happen.
“The Lisbon-Porto trips are the most tempting. But I doubt anyone will offer trips from Portalegre, for example,” he said.
“We have always had the care to serve the whole country. We go to Castelo Branco, Portalegre, Abrantes, Odemira…” said Costa, adding that the company serves the capital of every district.
“Even in times of crisis, we never cut our money-losing routes.”
Details regarding the intercity services that FlixBus aims to provide in Portugal are still scarce.
So far, the only information came in a short statement provided by a source from the company to DN.
“Free access for all operators to a market that was blocked will lead to a better quality service, allow for the modernisation of the Portuguese transportation network in the long run and, above all, benefit passengers positively,” said the source.
FlixBus was founded in 2013. It is a German company which offers intercity coach services in 30 European countries and in the United States.
Any company interested in providing intercity bus trips in Portugal will have to request authorisation from the IMT (mobility and transport institute), which will have 45 days to provide an answer.
Candidates must have all the necessary licences for passenger transportation and certified buses and drivers. The company’s license will have to be renewed every five years.