In view of a phase that promises to be very hard on the epidemiological level, FlixBus once again draws the Government’s attention to the urgency of adequate refreshments for the bus travel sector, which cushion the impact of the health crisis on companies in the sector to discourage a drastic reduction in services and business activity in the coming months.
Due to the worsening of the pandemic situation and the related drop in bookings, FlixBus had to cut its offer in Italy by 30%, already significantly reduced compared to pre-Covid levels – going to decrease the weekly and daily frequency of connections also on crucial routes for the network, such as Florence-Bari, Bologna-Pescara or Rome-Ancona.
Without immediate support, in order to continue to operate sustainably, the company risks having to further reduce active connections throughout the national territory.
“Although with great regret, we have had to cancel many connections. It is a radical choice, but we have no alternatives: demand is at an all-time low, and, as a private company that cannot rely on public funds, we are not in a position to guarantee full operations and economic sustainability at the same time. Without timely action, we will be forced to make new reductions, and so will the other companies in the sector, ”he said Andrea Incondi, md of FlixBus Italia.
“For some time we have been asking the State for help that the Government act by all means, extending the Covid extraordinary layoff, intervening on the leasing and providing adequate refreshments for the sector: the DL Sostegni at the launch in the coming days can respond to this purpose”, thus Incondi.
The contraction in demand triggered by the fourth wave is added, among the factors affecting the sector, to increase in the price of raw materials, such as fuel, and to the application of measures Exceptionally restrictive: since last year, in fact, medium and long-haul buses continue to discount a limited capacity, a situation that places Italy as the only example in Europe.
“We have always implemented with the utmost punctuality all the measures outlined by the Government to deal with the pandemic, from the sanitation of vehicles to the limitation of capacity, up to the obligation of a reinforced Green Pass and FFP2 mask, and so we will continue to do: the safety of passengers and drivers remain our top priority, ”he said Incondi. “However, it is essential that the State take charge of these measures, which inevitably weigh on businesses and further discourage demand in a phase already plagued by the fourth wave, risking to definitively jeopardize the health of the sector: without refreshments, it will be scored the end of dozens of operators “.
There is also the risk associated with the isolation of those who live in minor localities connected only by bus: e own in centers with less than 20,000 inhabitants is the 40% of FlixBus stops in Italy.
“Not only would the cut in services deriving from a lack of State support affect company budgets, but it would also affect the efficiency of a system that every year, in Italy, gives the opportunity to move to thousands of people often resident in poorly connected by traditional networks, whose mobility would be compromised. The Government accepts our request: the DL Sostegni is a first response to protect the health of a strategic sector and the mobility of thousands of Italians “, concluded Incondi.