GERMANY: Using its established IC Bus branding, Deutsche Bahn is to integrate its two long-distance coach operations with its inter-city rail services. Announcing this on September 19, DB said that the IC Bus brand would continue as the identity of its future long-distance bus services, but that the BLB brand, otherwise berlinlinienbus, would be dropped at the end of this year.
DB Board Member for Traffic & Transport Berthold Huber explained that ‘we’re combining the long-distance rail network, which cannot be beaten on network density or speed, with the advantages of the flexibility of long-distance buses, thus bringing the long-distance rail and bus market closer together. That’s how we want to capture more passengers for rail and long-distance buses. Separate consideration of these markets makes little sense to us.’
DB says that the IC Bus network will be gradually expanded ‘with suitable BLB lines’. Cross-border routes and itineraries popular with tourists will be added, examples being Berlin – Usedom, Hamburg – Bremen – Amsterdam and Berlin – Hamburg – København.
‘Unified and comprehensive integration’ will include ticketing, use of the Bahncard discount card and co-ordination of rail and bus timetables. ‘Our customers thus benefit from fully integrated mobility services from a single source’, Huber said.