by Lucy Arup and Peter Buchholtz
Placed in between the gaps of the chain link fence on the path leading to Copenhagen’s central bus station, are flyers introducing Denmark’s brand-new bus operator – Sortbillet.
The flyers advertise everything that the competitors do not have: free coffee, free hygge, and most importantly, if you ride with Sortbillet, you ride Danish.
Not long ago the founding fathers of this young company, which established itself in August of this year, were employees of Rødbillet, until it merged with Flixbus in June.
Michael Jessen, 36, Co-founder of Sortbillet, said the creation of the new bus company was a direct result of the merger. “A lot of us didn’t have jobs after Rødbillet was sold, so we founded Sortbillet. Flixbus didn’t need any of us, they only needed the bus drivers, the buses, the routes and the customers.”
Sorbillet’s emergence on Denmark’s national bus industry has not been without controversy. If one is to type into a computer, sortbillet.com, you will be greeted by a photograph of smiling youth in sunglasses and an easy step-by-step method of booking a bus ticket… then you will click on the link at the bottom of the page, and instantly be transported to Flixbus.dk. “Flixbus made that stupid website called sortbillet.com,” says Jessen, “that’s false advertising.”
When reached for comment, Peter Ahlgren, Managing Director Nordics of Flixbus stated: “Our legal experts are in contact with each other and on top of these questions.” So the matter regarding has not been clarified.
However, Sortbillet does not want a rivalry with Flixbus. “We do not want to start a fight. we want to make the best product for the customers, and we believe that Danish customers will choose a Danish brand over a German brand if the price is the same.”
Photo credits: Lucy Arup, Screenhots