“We want to avoid doing the yo-yo: relaunch for Christmas, close at the beginning of January”. This is how Nicolas Brusson, the general manager of BlaBlaCar, justifies his decision not to relaunch its bus offer in Europe before spring 2021. If you have booked a trip during this period, do not panic, they will be reimbursed, indicates the operator who suspended its BlaBlaBus (ex-OuiBus) on November 2 with the reconfinement.
After a first stop during the containment of March-April, traffic had resumed in the summer, to 70% of its 2019 level. But with the reconfinement, reservations had fallen from 70 to 75% on All Saints’ Day.
The company indicates that it will focus this winter on its carpooling offer. Since the reconfinement, the traffic of these shared journeys is about 25% of the usual figures, at 10,000 bookings per day on average.
On the BlaBlaBus side, the SMEs which supply the coaches are “warned”. “It hurts everyone less at a time when it is very unlikely that we will be able to fill the buses,” said Nicolas Brusson. “It also allows our partners not to operate, with some of the drivers covered by partial unemployment”, just like some of the employees of BlaBlaCar.
In spring, “people will want to travel”
The bus service could be relaunched between mid-March and the end of March 2021. “We bet that we will have left the stop & go, confinement / deconfinement. The announcements of recent days on vaccines seem to go in this direction, ”added Nicolas Brusson.
On the other hand, the carpooling network, which is more flexible, has withstood the crisis better than other means of transport, such as the train, says BlaBlaCar. In the spring, “people will want to travel and it will start again very quickly on carpooling. It minimizes the number of people with whom we come into contact, ”said the director of BlaBlaCar. “We anticipate that it will not stop overnight, even if the vaccines start to arrive.”