Turkey, bus company with hostess

Turkish bus company Kamil Koç will use hostesses again

The decision of the German multinational Flixbus, which last year bought the Turkish bus company Kamil Koç, to eliminate the hostesses or “muavin”, aroused criticism from many travelers.

The German transport operator Flixbus, which last year acquired the well-known Turkish bus company Kamil Koç, has announced its decision to reintroduce hostesses in its services in Turkey following the protests of angry customers.

The Germany-based company decided in 2019 to buy Kamil Koç, founded in 1926, and which is Turkey’s oldest still operating bus company and one of the 500 most important companies in the country. However, as part of the measures introduced to reduce costs in its new subsidiary, Flixbus decided to eliminate bus attendants or hostesses (muavin, in Turkish) and also seat numbers.

After the criticism received by Turkish passengers, accustomed to have hostesses even in the smallest companies, Flixbus announced that it would reconsider its decision and finally announced that Kamil Koç buses will again have assistants, but only on long journeys. Muavin perform all kinds of tasks, from helping travellers with their luggage, to serving soft drinks, tea or snacks during the trip.

“The German system will not work in Turkey”

Speaking to Turkish media, the president of the Federation of Bus Operators of Turkey, Birol Özcan, criticized the decision of the German multinational: “We already warned that the ‘German system’ would not work in Turkey. They cannot achieve a competitive advantage with these types of practices,” he said.

“Consumers are accustomed to having luxury services. How are you going to carry the luggage yourself when you go to the bus?” Özcan wondered, also criticising Flixbus’s decision to withdraw seat numbers. “The company’s initial plans were theoretically designed to cut prices,” he said. However, he added, now it seems that the German firm has understood how the Turkish market works and will reconsider its decisions.

The purchase in 2019 of Kamil Koç by Flixbus was a breath of life for the passenger transport by bus sector, which for decades has dominated in Turkey but has declined in recent years due to the development of the routes by air and high-speed trains. In fact, since 2016 several well-known bus companies, such as Varan, Ulusoy or Pamukkale Turizm, have declared bankruptcy.