Cheap, luxury intercity IC buses run by German Railways / Deutsche Bahn offer transportation on routes in (and out of) Germany not well covered by trains. The IC Bus is usually in comfortable double-decker buses with free wifi and ample legroom. All German Railways discounts apply including Bahn Card savings and children under 15 traveling for free with parents.
Tickets for the IC Bus is available from any outlet selling German Railways (DB) tickets including online, ticket vending machines at station and (more expensive) from ticket windows or travel agents. The IC bus is listed with regular train services on the Deutsche Bahn website timetables and may be combined with other train or bus tickets sold by German Railways. Special savings fares are often available at prices far lower than usual on Deutsche Bahn trains.
Long-Distance IC Bus of Deutsche Bahn
Since 2013, long-distance buses are allowed to compete with the trains on journeys over 50 km in Germany. To the shock of German Railways, and many politicians, Germans have taken to the very cheap intercity buses in droves – the journeys may be longer and less comfortable but bus travel is cheap.
The IC Bus is usually a double-decker bus but on some routes other operators are using their own buses in cooperation with DB. All buses are air-conditioned, have ample legroom, free wifi, free standard luggage, toilets, and a small snack bar. Almost all buses have electric outlets – carry a double adaptor as it is never one plug per seat. By using almost always its own buses, the IC Bus like the can guarantee a consistency of service often lacking in brands using buses from a variety of service providers.
On all IC Bus lines, all standard German Railways discounts may be applied, e.g. the popular Bahn Card savings. The IC bus is considered a long-distance service so specials aimed at regional and local transportation are not valid on the bus.
Seat reservations are obligatory for travel on IC buses but included in the quoted fares. Rail pass holders (Eurail, German Rail Pass, etc.) must make separate reservations.
Families Save on the IC Bus of German Railways
Families with children can save on IC buses with the standard German Railways policy of children under 15 years old traveling for free with parents – adding the names at time of booking is essential.
IC Bus Inter-City Long-Distance Routes
The IC Bus of German Railways currently operates on the following routings:
- Düsseldorf to Antwerpen in Belgium via Eindhoven in The Netherlands and on to London on some weekends.
- Düsseldorf to Lille in France via Ghent and Antwerpen in Belgium and Roermond in The Netherlands.
- Düsseldorf to Liège / Luik / Lüttich in Belgium via Maastricht in The Netherlands
- Prague to Mannheim via Heidelberg and Nürnberg (Nuremberg).
- Munich (München) to Prague in the Czech Republic.
- Leipzig to Prague
- Munich to Zürich
- Munich (München) to Milan (Milano / Mailand) via Como and Memmingen.
- Berlin to Krakow (Krakau) in Poland via Wroclaw (Breslau), Opole (Oppeln) and Katowice (Kattowitz).
- Berlin to Copenhagen in Denmark (via Rostock or Hamburg).
- Frankfurt am Main to Luxembourg (via Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) / Frankfurt Hahn Airport (HHN) and Trier) – currently not operating as IC bus but may still be booked on Flibco buses.
Long Distance Bus Companies in Germany
The largest long-distance bus operators in Germany are currently MeinFernBus and Flixbus, which still operate as two companies. Berlin Linien Bus (also part of Deutsche Bahn) stopped services end October 2016. (Note: During 2016, all German Postbus and continental European Megabus routes were taken over and / or are bookable via Flixbus.)
Conventional wisdom has it that none of the intercity bus companies in Germany are currently making any profits. For travelers that is hardly a big concern – for the time being plenty of competition ensures cheap tickets and great deals.