The bus for Germany
On November 1, 2013, Deutsche Post, the market leader in the German mail and parcel market, and ADAC, Europe's largest automotive club, opened a new chapter in German transportation history: With their entry into the German long-distance bus market, both partners are expanding their range of services - and are setting new quality standards for the market with the "bus for Germany". Employing a systematic premium strategy, the ADAC Postbus, which will initially serve 24 cities on five routes, is setting out on a journey to become the market leader in coming years.
The entry into the long-distance bus market has added mobility to the range of services offered by Deutsche Post - a strategic fit in many ways.
The opening of the German long-distance bus market at the beginning of 2013 was a long-overdue step and has unleashed tremendous forces of growth. Within just a few months, a number of providers have taken advantage of the new entrepreneurial freedom. Rapidly rising ridership numbers underscore the broad demand for a low-price, reliable alternative to planes, trains and, above all, privately owned cars. The new market is still fragmented, however, and the competition for market share has only just begun.
November 1, 2013, could mark an important milestone in the creation of Germany's long-distance bus market. On this day, a true heavyweight entered the ring following a series of test bouts: the ADAC Postbus, a joint business operated by Deutsche Post, the market leader in the German mail and parcel market, and ADAC, Europe's leading automotive club. Initially, the ADAC Postbus is serving 24 cities along five routes. By early 2014, the network will have been extended throughout the country, and further routes are to be added on a step-by-step basis starting next spring.
"With the ADAC Postbus, we are opening a new chapter in the history of mobility in Germany," says Jürgen Gerdes, the member of the Board of Management at Deutsche Post DHL who oversees the MAIL division. "Our quality and strong brands will set standards in the highly competitive long-distance bus market."
The highest level of quality and comfort
Both partners are applying a systematic quality strategy in their new long-distance bus service. With the ADAC Postbus, they are blending the expertise that has made each partner so successful in its particular core business: reliability, good network planning, customer centricity, quality management and safety. In the partners' more than 60 buses, travelers will have an unprecedented level of quality and comfort. A trip on the ADAC Postbus will become an experience like the one passengers enjoy on intercontinental flights: cozy seats, ample leg room, an entertainment system, snacks and beverages. The bus also offers free Wi-Fi service and abundant electrical outlets for laptops, tablets and cell phones. The buses are equipped with the latest safety technology and are partially accessible for the handicapped. One other benefit: the seats are equipped with three-point seat belts that can be used for children's safety seats.
The fares of ADAC Postbus are below the lowest rates offered by the German rail company Deutsche Bahn. A one-way ticket from Munich to Stuttgart starts at EUR 11, a ticket for a trip from Frankfurt/Main to Dortmund at EUR 18 and one for a trip from Cologne to Berlin at EUR 28. The two partners have no intention of getting involved in a fare war that has developed in places: "We combine the best of both worlds found in trains and planes," Gerdes says. "We do not want the ADAC Postbus to be the cheapest ticket in the marketplace. Rather, it should be the best provider and win over customers with a combination of comfort and reliability - offered at an attractive price."
Another component in the diversification of the MAIL division
To Gerdes, the board member who directs the MAIL division at Deutsche Post DHL, the ADAC Postbus represents an important step in the drive to further diversify the division's business operations. The entry into the long-distance bus market has added mobility to the range of services offered by Deutsche Post - a strategic fit in many ways. The service reflects the company's exceptional strengths - including network planning and management, fleet management, the operation of a Germany-wide business network as well as operational and IT know-how for large systems - and through brand values, particularly safety, a reputation for high transport quality and the responsible provision of national supply services in Germany.
In commercial terms, the ADAC Postbus and a series of other initiatives are designed to help the Group offset the impact of the ongoing structural decline in the company's traditional letter mail business and stabilize the MAIL division at an acceptable earnings level. Both partners have not announced any specific revenue targets. But both believe that they have the best-possible opportunities in a rapidly growing market that is profiting from megatrends like mobility and environmental protection: "Over the long term, long-distance bus service is an attractive market with huge growth potential. We believe that we and our partner ADAC can play a leading role in this market and capture significant market share," Gerdes says.