The company asks the next Government for mobility "designed for Spaniards, tourism and the environment"
MADRID, 25 Sep. (EUROPA PRESS) -
FlixBus, a company specialized in low-cost bus transport, has denounced the lack of liberalization of the bus market in Spain and how this negatively affects the user, as explained in a press conference held in Madrid.
The company, which has already exceeded five million users in Spain since its arrival in the region, claims to share the conclusions of the Ministry of Transport on the Spanish concession map of the sector, which it describes as "obsolete, inefficient and unplanned."
The general director of FlixBus in Spain and Portugal, Pablo Pastega, has stressed that while Spain has already liberalized the airplane market and is a pioneer in the liberalization of the railway, it seems to resist the liberalization of the bus, something "surprising", especially in a context in which carsharing platforms "grow so quickly."
Regarding the possible profitability of the market if it were liberalized, Pastega has defended that "there are no unprofitable lines if there is demand for services." In fact, according to Funcas data, the cost of bus travel in Spain is currently 41% more expensive than in Portugal and 88% more than in France, both countries with an open bus transport sector.
In this context, and in view of the formation of a new government, FlixBus wanted to demand that "mobility designed for Spaniards, tourism and the environment" be promoted.
Regarding the proposed Sustainable Mobility Law, the company has recognized that it "represented progress and allowed the opening of certain routes to be studied", but still considers it "insufficient".
Specifically, FlixBus has insisted that the Spanish model "is missing hundreds of direct connections" and that, currently, European regulation 1073/2009 is not being applied, which allows free cabotage, which would increase connectivity and frequency of cities like Badajoz, "without any economic or environmental cost", since it would be done on routes that already exist.
The company has even defended that "small destinations can be connected without subsidies."
Regarding this non-application of cabotage in Spain, Pastega has commented that they receive "vague answers" from the Ministry. Furthermore, he has denounced the number of expired concessions that currently exist in Spain in the bus passenger transport market.
Regarding the second phase of liberalization of the railway sector, the manager declared that in Spain "today the focus is the bus."
Portugal liberalized the market in 2019 for those routes of more than 50 kilometers, called 'Expresso'. The former deputy minister and secretary of state for Mobility and Transport of Portugal, José Gomes Mendes, in charge of approving this law, also participated in this Monday's press conference.
During his speech, he assured that this initiative introduced "numerous advantages", and this has also been confirmed by the regulatory monitoring of this law, which considers that the measure promotes competition in the universe of public road passenger transport.
Furthermore, since the market was liberalized, ticket prices have been reduced by between 24% in 2022 in the case of the Lisbon-Porto route, up to 51% on the Porto-Coimbra route.
Likewise, they have gone from four licenses for operators to 30 and the average occupancy of buses is 62%, reaching over 70% for some companies.
In turn, the former vice minister has assured that connectivity has not been lost in small places and has considered it strange that cabotage is not allowed in Spain.