Marking quite a radical departure from its primary car-pooling business, BlaBlaCar, the world’s renowned long-distance ridesharing community, has recently announced a surprise offer of acquiring Ouibus, a French intercity bus service provider. Reportedly, the negotiators are still working on the deal, and nothing has been finalized yet.
According to the sources familiar with the matter, this is for the first time that BlaBlaCar is planning to move beyond carpooling, as the new acquisition is expected to help it offer both intercity car and bus rides.
If reports are to be believed, BlaBlaCar has already being running a trial test with Ouibus for the last half a year on popular corridors. As French state railways & bus operator SNCF (parent company of Ouibus) is more than willing to let BlaBlaCar run its subsidiary from on, it is pretty clear that both the companies seem happy with the test results.
In an attempt to extend its mobility services, BlaBlaCar has also announced a EUR 101 million (USD 114 million) investment from the SNCF and other existing BlaBlaCar investors. It further claims that the French startup till now has successfully built a long-distance car-pooling community of more than 65 million members in over 22 countries. The startup now is clearly a marketplace for road travel and has moreover helped over 50 million worldwide passengers to transport, while registering a y-o-y growth of 40%.
If industry experts are to be believed, BlaBlaCar is taking a calculated risk with the acquisition, as Ouibus, in the recent years has been relentlessly losing money. Similar to other major bus companies, Ouibus also used to rely mainly on contractors, which signifies that BlaBlaCar could quickly adjust the offering. The proceeds are also said to depend on product integrations of SNCF, BlaBlaCar, and other platforms.
In the coming months, the users can find ride sharing offers on OUI.sncf.