Maybe you’ve noticed unusual-looking buses covered in bright lime green and orange around Philly lately. No, you’re not tripping. A new transit company has come to town.

Munich-based FlixBus has launched in dozens of U.S. cities over the past two years. It competes with existing operations like Bolt Bus and Megabus, offering cheap, paperless tickets with prices that fluctuate according to demand.

The company just got to Philly this past November.

“We’re excited about Philadelphia being one of our largest markets,” FlixBus business development head Joanna Patterson told Billy Penn, noting that the company only sets up routes where there’s a high demand for service.

A new route is being rolled out on March 6, traveling from New York City to Columbus, Ohio, with stops in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

FlixBus is the only budget service offering the East Coast-to-Midwest trip. Opening weekend tickets for the route will cost $30, with prices eventually going up to $35, according to its website. Greyhound also runs the route, but tickets cost around $56 or more.

After launching in Germany in 2013, Flix made its stateside debut on the West Coast in 2018. It acquired the European arm of Megabus in 2016, and also operates train and rideshare services across the continent. In the U.S., service is now available in 22 states

Flix operates similarly to its longer-standing competitors by offering affordable trips to big cities, but unlike Mega or Bolt, it doesn’t own its bus fleet.

Instead, it contracts with various pre-existing charter businesses in each respective region. In the Philadelphia region, Flix uses West Chester-based Krapf’s Coaches for its vehicles and drivers, according to Patterson.

In Philly, riders can catch the coach between 6th and 7th streets on Market, near the Megabus stop.

Available destinations include Baltimore, NYC, DC, Richmond, Pittsburgh and Boston, with prices starting as low as $5, according to the FlixBus website.

Layla A. Jones (she/her) was a general assignment reporter for Billy Penn from 2019 to 2021. Her work has helped underserved community organizations, earned free repairs for property owners who sustained...