Monday , March 1 2021

Why SNCF handles the Ouibus wheel to BlaBlaCar

One less source of loss for SNCF, the new future for BlaBlaCar and a global solution for all those who can not afford the train or individual cars: the unpredictable carpooling giant and SNCF OuiBus marriage is something to satisfy everyone!

After six years of existence and close to 200 million accumulated losses, the SNCF's Cars Macron subsidiary was not yet a great success: it certainly matched the figures – 12 million users since its introduction – and has won the dominant share in this new market, which it shares with almost identical German Flixbus. Both have 45% of the market after the bankruptcy or other competitors closed. Only the small Transdev subsidiaries of Isilines are still playing spoilsports, but three players in this market are still another player to find their profitability.

Has SNCF played a role in launching this precious battle and losing valuable resources in its core business? Guillaume Pepy's strategy was challenged internally, and after the clean-up of the YesGo train, which was the direct competitor of OuiBus at comparable rates, development was disadvantageous, and even more so after Parliament adopted a reform last year: from now on, SNCF must focus on returning on the legs and prepare for competition in its main market. Therefore, she shows a line for this activity that she issues BlaBlaCar for a secret amount (but after Roma it would not be very heavy: no more than twenty million euros).

The buyer is amazing: BlaBlaCar was launched in 2004 under the name "", which very well compiled its activities. BlaBlaCar undoubtedly is what French Machinery has been producing for 15 years: the company established by Fréderic Mazzela, Francis Nappez and Nicolas Brusson has become the world leader in this business.

"We have 65 million members on Earth, and this year we have organized 50 million trips, which represents an annual increase of 40%," says Nicolas Brusson, Director General.

Its algorithm regulates the carriage of drivers and their passengers in 22 countries, and investors trust him: since its inception, this "unicorn", worth more than one billion euros, has increased by 300 million euro, which is huge after the number of newly created firms in France. But in recent years she has encountered a number of difficulties in her pursuit of her development and profitability, which she finally achieved in October.

The first difficulty was the creation of Macron's coaches, these unregulated bus lines, which allowed linking too much of the French city. The growth of these lines significantly reduced vehicle sharing. The launch of OuGo trains from SNCF was an additional test. It will always be more convenient than a car in the same price or even the lowest bus or train. The second leak of BlaBlaCar: the difficulty of positioning yourself at the "professional flag", which takes place short distances between employees to go to work. When they contact a service called "BlaBlaLines", these employees who do the same trip every day are no longer interested in paying a commission to start an activity: they are managing each other to compensate. The BlaBlaCar business model can be used only for long-range or casual travelers.


Last year's start-up horizon was canceled due to SNCF's long-standing strike: users returned massively. Another good news: she started selling bus rides. First of all, in Russia, where it already manages the carpool market, it has remained free for its core business, just like in all countries outside of mainland Europe (Brazil, Ukraine, Mexico …). Then in France, where it supported the strike, it also successfully launched some bus lines in cooperation with … Ouibus.

Its founders have decided to make a big swing and buy their main competitor in the French market: YesBus. "These two jobs are complementary: on the one hand," door to door "by car, on the other, bus rides," says Nicolas Brusson.

In his opinion, this is a great opportunity for development: buses will be launched from summer 2019 in all other Western European countries, possibly under the BlaBlabus brand, and internationalization will make it profitable. company. If SNCF tried to fill the buses, BlaBlaCar is a magic weapon: thanks to its millions of users, it is able to accurately detect large movements and traffic flows almost worldwide and what time periods are still not met. It will be able to program your buses without risking them to spend. And where SNCF has lost its destiny, it can hope to achieve a financial equilibrium more easily.

In exchange for this purchase, SNCF, along with other shareholders, will contribute to the company's capital increase of 100 million euros, which will finance the development of the new bus network. According to Le Parisien, SNCF should receive 5% of the initial capital. On the commercial side, she will not lose much: his travel agency "Yes SNCF" will include travel and travel offers in Blablabus: this will allow all customers to choose the full price, the cheapest, the carpool, the more expensive the TGV Inouï. "This movement is strategic," explains Rachel Picard, who runs the main line of SNCF. "We make life and travel easier for all our customers: it will have all the choices on one site."

This new organization also creates two companies with a joint market transfer: on the one hand, SNCF will now focus only on the train (compared to OuiGo), while the other will BlaBlaCar will fight to meet the needs of all people who can not or no longer pay TGV, but can still move easily.

Claude Soula

Claude Soula

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