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Charting a Greener Path in Intercity Transit: Leman’s Tech Driven Evolution

Michał Leman leads with a vision that combines digital innovation with great customer service in a sector that has traditionally been sluggish to embrace change. This shift is visible in features such as real-time bus tracking and an easy-to-use booking system, which ensures seamless travel experiences. The integrated network of roads improves connectivity and provides more travel options across Europe. Passengers onboard enjoy facilities such as large seating, dependable wifi, and wheelchair accessibility, demonstrating the airline's commitment to comfort and diversity. These developments mark a substantial move towards a more accessible, efficient, and enjoyable travel experience.

Michał Leman

FlixBus Poland

General Manager

The intercity bus transportation sector is evolving to meet the demands of modern travellers, guided by Michał Leman's and his team innovative ideas. The implementation of real-time bus tracking and an effective online booking system exemplifies the emphasis on client convenience. The strategic network of interconnecting routes resembles an airline-like model, expanding travel options. The emphasis on on-board conveniences such as enough legroom, internet connectivity, and amenities for passengers with limited mobility reflects a commitment to diversity and passenger satisfaction. This digital and customer-centric approach not only improves the travel experience, but also places the company at the forefront of the industry's innovation.

How has FlixBus Poland leveraged technology and innovation to differentiate itself from other intercity bus service providers?

The company leverages technology in customer experience and operational efficiency, distinguishing itself in the intercity bus service sector. Firstly, it’s not just a transport service; it’s fundamentally a tech company, with a significant portion of its workforce dedicated to development. This team builds the technology controlling network design, pricing, and commercial strategy, all based on deep data analysis of customer behavior and demand.

Operationally, the company adopts many practices similar to airlines, with 24/7 traffic control centers maintaining constant communication with drivers for safety and efficiency. We don’t own the buses but standardize the services provided by their partners, ensuring consistent customer experience.

Sustainability is also a priority, with commitments to reducing carbon footprints and testing alternative fuels like electric and biogas, despite the infancy of these technologies for long-distance travel. This forward-thinking approach extends to our business model, maintaining agility and a startup mentality that fosters continual growth and adaptation.

Overall, Flix emphasis on technology, operational efficiency, sustainability commitments, and a customer-centric approach significantly differentiates us from other providers in the sector.

In what ways are you considering incorporating green or sustainable technology to ensure the future growth of FlixBus in Poland?

FlixBus is actively integrating green and sustainable technology in Poland by capitalizing on changing cultural perceptions around travel. Recognizing the younger generation’s diminished priority on car ownership, there’s a focus on promoting buses as a comfortable, eco-friendly alternative. We’ve observed a significant evolution in customer behavior: travelers increasingly value the journey itself, seeking convenience, relaxation, and sustainability. This mindset is even more pronounced in regions like the Nordics, inspiring us to replicate their success.

In response, we’re enhancing the travel experience by investing in comfortable, state-of-the-art buses, reducing the ‘pain’ associated with long-distance bus travel from the past. Additionally, we’re tapping into the common customer base of trains and buses, recognizing that these passengers value sustainability and practicality. By providing direct, hassle-free connections to further destinations, as done in Finland, we’re not just expanding our network but also contributing to a larger, continent-wide sense of connectivity and environmental responsibility.

Overall, FlixBus’s strategy in Poland hinges on understanding and adapting to these cultural shifts, offering an immediate, enjoyable start to a journey, and presenting bus travel as a green, attractive option that aligns with modern values and environmental goals.

What digital advancements or technologies have been most influential in enhancing the passenger experience?

The digital advancements or technologies most influential in enhancing the passenger experience include:

  • Real-time Tracking: The “where is my bus?” feature allows passengers to track their bus in real-time, even if it’s traveling between distant cities. This is particularly useful to ensure timely pickups and avoid confusion.
  • Interconnections: Buses operate on a model similar to the airline hub and spoke, with large hubs facilitating transfers between different routes. This creates a comprehensive network across Europe, offering passengers more travel options. In situations like crises, such as the situation in Ukraine, this interconnected system proved essential for people seeking safety.
  • Efficient Booking System: A simple booking engine ensures that within three clicks, passengers can secure a ticket. The digital ticket system uses QR codes, allowing bus drivers to scan passengers in, reducing the need for physical tickets.
  • Rebooking: In case of disruptions, the system proactively rebooks passengers, ensuring they have a new ticket even before their next trip starts.
  • Comfortable Buses: The buses themselves prioritize passenger comfort, offering spacious legroom, reliable internet, toilets, reclining seats, and other amenities. Buses also have provisions for carrying bikes, using external racks.
  • Inclusivity: For passengers with reduced mobility, many buses are wheelchair-friendly, either through specialised lifts for single-decker buses or wider doors for double-deckers.

Overall, the emphasis is on customer-centricity, ensuring that passengers have a comfortable, efficient, and reliable travel experience.

How do you approach and implement feedback from customers in shaping innovative solutions?

We believe that customer feedback is pivotal in shaping our offerings. We harness technology to understand our customers’ needs and preferences. One key tool we employ is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which serves as a performance indicator. It helps us gauge customer satisfaction and gather feedback after trips. We break down the NPS into specific categories like comfort, driver professionalism, punctuality, and onboard internet quality. This detailed feedback mechanism, combined with star ratings and open comment sections, lets our operational team identify areas of improvement. We don’t merely rely on numeric scores; we delve deeper into comments to grasp the context behind a given score. This approach ensures we stay attuned to our customers’ experiences and continually refine our services to enhance their satisfaction. As a growth-oriented company, we’re always striving to merge the best of legacy practices with modern customer-centric strategies across various cultures and regions.


The transport industry has undergone many changes in recent years. In your opinion, what are the top three shifts or developments specific to the bus service industry in Poland?

Well, based on our discussion and my observations in the industry, I believe there are three pivotal shifts on the horizon for Poland’s bus service sector.

Firstly, we’re seeing a substantial push towards greener, more sustainable transport options. Our focus is on transitioning our fleet to incorporate more electric and alternative energy buses. This movement isn’t just a company initiative; it’s a reflection of the global urgency to combat climate change and pollution. It’s crucial for us, especially in urban areas, to reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to cleaner, healthier cities. We’re investing in this direction and anticipate a significant portion of our services running on alternative drives in the coming years.

Secondly, the anticipated market deregulation is something we’re preparing for. With more European markets opening up, we expect to face stiffer competition as private entities enter the fray. This means we’ll need to participate in public tenders, ensuring we maintain high standards and continue to offer valuable services to our customers. It’s a challenge, yes, but also an opportunity to innovate, improve efficiency, and perhaps expand our services beyond what we’ve currently envisioned.

Lastly, and very close to my heart, is the issue of transportation exclusion. We’ve identified gaps, particularly in rural and more remote regions, where public transport services are sparse or non-existent. People in these areas are often unfairly disadvantaged, lacking easy access to essential services, which goes against our constitution’s guarantees. We’re committed to addressing this by reassessing our routes and frequencies. It’s not just about adding new lines but ensuring they are reliable and frequent, even if they aren’t always at full capacity. It’s a social responsibility we hold dearly and are actively strategizing to address.

How do you see the intercity bus service industry in Poland evolving in the next 5 years?

In the next 5 years, the intercity bus service industry in Poland is expected to undergo significant transformations. It is believed that the industry will flourish, with many untapped opportunities still present. The gradual shift from personal car usage to public transportation is anticipated, with trains also beginning to capture more market share. However, the transformation is not just about a modest increase in numbers; the industry aims to accommodate an exponential growth in the number of passengers daily. This will inherently promote buses as a preferred mode of transport, especially for individuals who don’t own a car.

The industry’s future is also inclined towards embracing sustainable technologies. Although electric or hydrogen solutions are the eventual goals, their large-scale adoption might take more than a decade. Furthermore, with global trends pointing towards shared mobility and autonomous driving, Poland’s intercity bus industry must prepare. There’s evidence suggesting that automated driving will first dominate larger vehicles like buses and trucks, primarily because of the driver shortage in Europe. Automating some driving tasks can alleviate this shortage by optimizing the number of drivers required for specific routes.

In the broader perspective, it’s essential to understand that the backbone of transportation’s future lies in mass transit solutions. While individual car ownership might continue, the efficiency and sustainability of large-capacity vehicles like buses cannot be overlooked. As mobility evolves, the synergy between different modes of transport, underpinned by buses and trains, will be crucial for addressing transportation challenges.


Which emerging market trends do you believe are crucial for FlixBus Poland to capitalize on in the coming years?

In my opinion, several emerging market trends are vital for Poland in the coming years:

  1. Migration and Mobility: I see Europe’s changing demographics, especially the aging population and situations like wars, leading to increased migration. This implies a growing need for mobility solutions. Buses play a pivotal role in catering to this demographic.
  2. Shortened Workweeks: With the emergence of four-day work weeks, people have more free time. I believe this could lead to more frequent short trips and vacations, thereby increasing demand for intercity bus travel.
  3. Parenthood Trends: Observing current trends, both mothers and fathers are taking extended parental leaves. This could lead to a rise in family travel, which is another potential market for our services.
  4. Remote Work and Digital Nomadism: The surge in remote work means people aren’t just tied to one location. Today, someone might want to work by the seaside and tomorrow in the mountains. The demand for reliable transportation that supports this lifestyle is evident.
  5. Continuous Online Presence: From my interactions and observations, the younger generation prioritizes staying online constantly. This presents an opportunity for us to enhance our onboard services, especially internet connectivity.
  6. Affordability: If we can provide affordable travel options, we tap into a significant segment of individuals seeking recreational activities in different cities. This is a demographic we shouldn’t overlook.
  7. Quality of services: I’ve heard numerous accounts of uncomfortable train journeys, especially during peak summer months. Offering amenities like consistent Wi-Fi and proper air conditioning can set us apart.

Given these trends, I genuinely believe there’s a massive opportunity for us to not only expand our market share but also redefine intercity travel in Poland.

As safety remains paramount in transportation, are there any new technologies or methodologies that FlixBus Poland is exploring or implementing to further enhance the safety of its services?

Safety is paramount of our company. We are always seeking the latest technologies and methodologies to enhance our service safety. Currently, we have a stringent bus approval system, collaborating with a select few brands that meet our exhaustive checklist of over 200 safety features. When you mention a ‘FlixBus’ to bus producers, there’s a specific standard they’re aware of, which includes advanced safety systems. We have buses equipped with seatbelts, systems to detect driver fatigue, lane assist, and additional brake assist. Moreover, we’re testing dash cams that monitor both the driver and the road, helping identify and rectify any unsafe driver behavior. Besides technology, we’ve also trained over 300 drivers in various emergency scenarios, ensuring they’re prepared to handle challenging situations. Furthermore, we prioritize the safety and security of our passengers; any sign of misbehavior or threats gets immediate attention, with the driver empowered to take necessary actions, including involving law enforcement. Our ultimate goal is ensuring every journey is safe for all passengers.

With the rise of data analytics and personalised experiences in other sectors, how is FlixBus leveraging technology to offer customised travel experiences for its passengers?

FlixBus operates within a highly competitive industry: intercity bus travel. This industry relies heavily on understanding the nuances of customer preferences to drive ticket sales, retain customer loyalty, and ensure satisfaction during travel. Here’s an expanded analysis:

  • Data Analytics in Travel Industry: The rise of big data and analytics has significantly transformed how businesses in the travel sector operate. With the ability to track and understand consumer behavior, companies can make informed decisions to improve their services.
  • Personalisation vs. Intrusiveness: There’s a fine line between providing a tailored experience and becoming too intrusive. If a company continuously provides suggestions solely based on a single choice the customer made, it can come off as “too much” or even invasive. Customers value their privacy, and while they appreciate personalised recommendations, they don’t want to feel like every move they make is being watched and analysed.
  • Offering Variety: FlixBus understands the importance of offering a broad range of travel options. By providing various routes, times, and price points, they cater to the diverse needs of their customer base. This approach ensures that travelers have the flexibility to choose what fits them best, rather than feeling boxed into a singular option.
  • Feedback and Continuous Improvement: The best way to understand customer needs is by gathering feedback. FlixBus, like many travel providers, often solicits reviews and ratings from their passengers. This direct feedback, combined with data analytics, provides a clear picture of where improvements are needed.
  • The Future of Travel Personalisation: As technology continues to evolve, so will the ways businesses in the travel industry interact with their customers. While data analytics and personalisation will remain pivotal, it’s essential for companies like FlixBus to continuously evaluate their strategies to ensure they align with customer expectations and values.

The challenge for any business in the digital age, lies in leveraging data to enhance the user experience while respecting boundaries and ensuring customers don’t feel overwhelmed or stalked by overly personalised suggestions.

As the General Manager, how do you cultivate a culture of innovation within the FlixBus team in Poland?

We cultivate a culture of innovation by fostering a mindset where pushing boundaries is encouraged, and there’s no limit to what can be tried. I welcome every out-of-the-box idea, believing that every attempt, success or failure, teaches us something valuable. It’s about embracing a friendly ecosystem where ideas can be tested freely.

Learning from mistakes is paramount, as it helps us improve. We’ve faced challenges like the aftermath of COVID, yet we’ve adapted, even breaking barriers like initiating ferry lines thought impossible before.

It’s this spirit of experimentation and transparency that drives our innovation, where even the newest team member can take the lead on projects. Everyone’s contribution is valued, leading to collective growth. In essence, our mantra is: if you have an idea, give it a shot; there’s always something to learn.

What leadership qualities do you believe are essential in navigating the complexities of the transportation industry, especially in times of rapid change?

Effective leadership in the transportation industry, especially during times of rapid change, requires a deep understanding that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s essential to recognize that organizations are like patchworks, constantly evolving with the influx of different personalities and talents. A successful leader must be adaptable, taking a flexible approach and valuing communication as the foundation. Building trust, authority, and a sense of authenticity are paramount. Leaders should be authentic, valuing genuine interactions over ticking traditional leadership checkboxes. They should foster an environment that values individual growth, be it on a leadership or expertise path. The essence of good leadership doesn’t lie in strictly adhering to predetermined qualities but rather in being true to oneself, prioritizing communication, and embracing a culture of continuous improvement and excellence.

How do you foster a strong team dynamic within FlixBus Poland, ensuring alignment with the broader FlixBus global vision?

To foster a robust team dynamic within FlixBus Poland and ensure alignment with the broader FlixBus global vision:

  • Clear Objectives: Team members should understand and commit to FlixBus’s overarching goals. If individual and team goals align with these, synergy propels us forward.
  • Embrace Flexibility: Recognize that roles can evolve. Just as many transitioned from operations to business development, be open to lateral moves that serve both individual growth and company needs.
  • Continuous Learning: It’s common for 70% of us to work in areas different from our studies. Continuous learning and adapting ensure we remain relevant and efficient.
  • Open-minded Approach: Encourage diversity of thought. If a team member feels their current role doesn’t resonate, explore different projects or roles they might be passionate about.
  • Empowerment and Autonomy: Trust team members to identify and open new markets or innovative processes. While there are procedures, the essence is to make the seemingly impossible, possible.

By cultivating this environment, not only does FlixBus Poland thrive, but it also significantly contributes to the global success and vision of FlixBus.

Based on your leadership journey, what advice would you give to the next generation of leaders aiming to drive innovation in traditional industries?

Based on my leadership journey, my advice to the next generation of leaders aiming to drive innovation in traditional industries would be:

  • Listen to Customers: Their feedback, needs, and insights are invaluable in guiding innovation that is truly beneficial.
  • Value Your Team: Recognize that the results and successes come from the collective effort of your team, not just you as an individual.
  • Acknowledge and Accept: Embrace the notion that while leadership plays a role, the true driving force behind innovation and progress is the cohesive effort of your entire team.

These tips emphasise the importance of collaborative leadership and ensuring that the focus remains on delivering genuine value to customers.

Efi Heart

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