You are urged to apply European law to be able to make intermediate stops on your international routes.


The general director of FlixBus in Spain and Portugal, Pablo Pastega, has asked the new Minister of Transport and Sustainable Mobility, Óscar Puente, to be “brave” and open the bus market to competition for the benefit of millions of travelers, who would see Tickets have been reduced and frequencies have been expanded.

In an interview with Europa Press, Pastega urges him to make this decision to leave behind a model that has not been updated for more than 30 years, that is deficient and that has the majority of contracts that have expired for years.

The large passenger transport companies, mainly Alsa and Avanza – compared to the 2,800 smaller companies that do not participate in the large concessions – control the majority of these contracts, which is why their employers are totally opposed to any system that put an end to the concessional model.

Likewise, this week, Minister Puente already announced that he will re-present the Sustainable Mobility Law as it was adopted a year ago, and it is in this law that the new concessional map is framed, which in general terms, would continue with that model and only leaves the door open to the opening of competition in a few lines.

“It seems that he is a minister who wants to improve things, whatever the cost, and has the will to do so by looking, thinking about society as a whole, and I think that is something very important and positive, but we have to see if that is then transformed into facts,” Pastega declared.

However, this law has to be approved before the end of the year so that Spain can receive the seventh package of European funds, so the minister has already made it clear that, although he does not like it, he will have to present it without changes to speed up processing.

Pastega recalls that all countries in the European Union, except Romania, Hungary and Greece, as well as Spain, have already opened the market to competition. Furthermore, in Spain it is competing with the train, which has been liberalized and in which up to three different companies already participate, lowering prices and putting more people on the train.

On the contrary, the bus has lost 15 million passengers since the pandemic. The manager gives Italy as an example, pointing out that there were also many consolidated operators there and that, after the opening of the market, they all continued to exist and the number of passengers grew significantly.

In other countries, such as France or Germany, the long-distance bus almost did not exist and the promotion of FlixBus, according to Pastega, caused the number of passengers to skyrocket, going from only 1 million to more than 10 million users in France. which means removing vehicles from the road and reducing polluting emissions.

Aside from its demand to liberalize the market in Spain, another unique feature of the country is that it does not allow cabotage (travelers can get on or off at intermediate stops on international routes), despite the fact that FlixBus considers that it fails to comply with the regulations. European.

However, the company, which only provides international services in Spain, has already requested the Ministry to be able to carry out this sabotage on its lines but has not yet received approval. The refusal could be based on the possible economic damage that this would entail for the concessions that are provided in coincident locations.

“There are many routes that are not directly on the concession map, neither the current one nor the one that was designed, and in which right now it is impossible to provide service in any way,” laments Pastega. However, FlixBus has not yet gone to Brussels to denounce this non-compliance.