The Czech mobility group Regiojet has been active as a private railway company for several years. They offer trips to Budapest and Prague, among others. On the Austrian route sections, the company is also a partner of the climate ticket. Originally, the company was purely a long-distance bus provider and continues to offer bus connections from Austria and Germany.
The parent company operates under the name "Student Agency". Initially, they specialized in bringing Czech students from all over Europe home or to their places of study. This gradually developed into a larger long-distance bus company, which then adopted the brand name Regiojet. On the buses there are still small hints that Regiojet is a subsidiary of Student Agency, but on the trains it is completely omitted. Unlike the trains Incidentally, the buses are not included in the climate ticket.
The development of the Czech provider also served as a "copy template" for Flixbus. Gradually, Student Agency realized that there were routes that were in such high demand that using trains made more sense. This is how the mainstay railway was added and meanwhile numerous routes are operated within the Czech Republic, but also travel to Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia, for example. The on-board product on the rails is characterized by a high standard of service, because, for example, there is a bottle of free water for every passenger, regardless of the travel class booked. The higher the travel class, the more included services you have. This is common in the Czech Republic, because Leo Express, Ceske Drahy and Regiojet are in fierce competition, which is not only about the fare, but also about the on-board service. Train passengers benefit from this. Regiojet's rail product has Aviation.Direct checked out in more detail at this link. From Austria and Germany this provider wants increasingly enter the night train business.
Regiojet also continues to offer long-distance bus trips from Vienna Central Station (Südtiroler Platz). For example, Prague (via Brno), Budapest and Bratislava are served by long-distance buses. As a rule, yellow vehicles from the manufacturer Scania are used. In contrast to its competitor Flixbus, it operates this itself with its own drivers and does not use the services of subcontractors.
On many routes, but not from Vienna to Bratislava and Budapest, Regiojet uses stewards and stewardesses. These are not a second driver, but serve the passengers in a similar way to an airplane. On board, the bus company offers free newspapers and free hot drinks, among other things. On routes that are driven by stewards, you will be served by them directly at your seat.
Stewardesses not on board on all routes
The test drive made for this report on the Vienna Hbf (Südtiroler Platz)-Bratislava (Nivy) route was a so-called “Fun & Relax Selfservice” route. In concrete terms, this means that you can take your own coffee, tea and cocoa from the machines. But you don't have to pay for it, because hot drinks are "all you can drink" included in the fare. The machine is located in the area of the rear entrance door opposite the toilet door and is easy to use. A shortcoming, however, is that the screen is in Czech and there is no way to at least switch it to English. However, the word "coffee" is very similar in Czech as well, so there shouldn't be any significant problems. With the exact type, on the other hand, it becomes tedious if you don't speak the national language of the bus operator.
Tickets for Regiojet connections can be obtained in three ways: According to the bus and train operator, you should always get the cheapest price via the Internet or the mobile phone app. If that is too complicated for you, you can also use the ticket office in Vienna Central Station, which is operated jointly with the Westbahn. In the test, the price on the Internet and at the counter were the same. While you can also pay with debit and credit cards online and in the office, the bus drivers only take cash, but both euros and Czech korunas. Fixed prices apply in the bus, which were displayed in the area of the front entrance door during the test drive.
The Regiojet drivers made a friendly and hard-working impression. However, the language skills of the driver, who came from the Student Agency branch in Brno (Czech Republic), were very limited. He could only minimally speak English, Slovak or German, but communication with the passengers was not a problem, because if you want to, you can always find some way to communicate together. What could be improved in terms of language was made up for by the driver in terms of service, because each piece of luggage was loaded personally and then brought to the respective owner.
Numerous bus routes from Germany and Austria
Regiojet travels from Vienna to Bratislava Nivy with a stopover at Vienna International Airport. Between Südtiroler Platz and Airport (vv) no passengers may be transported within Austria, but they may be transported in international traffic. In practice, this means that you cannot board at the main train station and exit at the airport (the same applies vice versa). The main users of the Regiojet vehicle are therefore, not surprisingly, passengers from Slovakia who fly from Vienna-Schwechat and international travelers who land or depart from Vienna but whose actual destination is the Slovakian capital.
The rail connection between Vienna Airport and Bratislava is very difficult for historical reasons. At the time of the Iron Curtain, the rails between Wolfsthal via Berg to the state border were dismantled and the land was sold. A fatal mistake by the politicians at the time, because the reconstruction would be complicated. There is a clear decision on both sides of the border that trains should run cross-border again on this route in the future, but nothing has been implemented so far. This also has to do with the fact that the land is privately owned.
As a result, three bus companies are in fierce competition between Vienna Airport and downtown Bratislava. These are Blaguss Reisen (Flixbus), Regiojet and Slovak Lines. The services of the latter company were covered as part of a special report that under this link, already presented in more detail. In Bratislava, in addition to a stopover in the city, the new bus station Nivy, which even has a lounge, is headed for. Aviation.Direct has a portrait of the state-of-the-art terminal and the huge shopping center published at this link.
Provider wants to offer comfort at a reasonable price
Regiojet is positioning itself between Bratislava and Vienna as a "value provider" that wants to be cheap but want to offer passengers a bit more than its two competitors. For example, you have free hot drinks on board and an entertainment system with individual screens in the seats. However, the booking process via the Regiojet homepage is much more confusing than with the competitors Flixbus and Slovak Lines.
Seats can be reserved free of charge when purchasing the ticket. It makes no difference which armchair you choose, because the reservation is generally free of charge. The legroom, which was laser measured during the test drive, is 41,9 centimeters, which is a little smaller than that offered by the competitor Slovak Lines. Free WiFi is available and worked very well. There was no "confirmation page" - just select the Regiojet network on your phone and that's it.
Both USB sockets (on the entertainment screens) and classic power sockets are available for powering devices. There is a 230V socket for each double seat, which is located between the two front seats. You really can't ignore them. The air conditioning, which can be controlled in a similar way to that in an airplane, worked very well during the test drive.
The Regiojet vehicle was impeccably clean both inside and out. The seats were quite comfortable and upholstered in some sort of mix of fabric and leather. However, these are fixed. In concrete terms, this means that you can lean back, but you cannot increase the distance to the person sitting next to you by pushing out into the aisle. This is a shortcoming, because there is generally not much space available in coaches and especially on longer journeys it can be more comfortable if you can increase the distance to the possibly unfamiliar seat next to you.
Toilet difficult to access
In contrast to the Setra vehicles used by Slovak Lines and Flixbus, for example, the aisle and seats are on the same level. What's more comfortable is probably a very individual thing. In any case, Regiojet has also installed footrests. Many travelers find these useful. There are armrests between the seats, which is not standard on all buses. Regiojet also has an in-flight magazine and a brochure that refers to the included services.
A very important criterion for longer journeys is very simple: the toilet, because at some point everyone has to go to the toilet. This was not only available in the Regiojet bus, but also immaculately clean. But there is still a shortcoming, for which the operator can do little, but the manufacturer Scania should think about it: The door to the toilet is so awkwardly mounted that opening and entering the washroom is like an acrobatic act. Then there is the next minus point: This is really small and cramped, so that tall people have to perform the next acrobatic act.
Other vehicle manufacturers are proving that things can be done much better: For example, the toilets at the Daimler AG subsidiary Evobus (Setra and Mercedes) and at MAN are not only much easier to access, they are also more spacious. Regiojet should therefore approach Scania for this shortcoming in future vehicles, which is really unpleasant for passengers
Product is solid but Regiojet trains are better
Regiojet offers passengers significantly more included services than, for example, its competitor Flixbus. The ride was smooth and the driver had a comfortable, defensive driving style. The Czech bus company offers a solid product at an affordable price. As mentioned: They offer more than Flixbus, but the Swedish manufacturer's vehicles have a few small disadvantages for passengers.
The newspaper racks mounted by Regiojet on the left above the coffee machine are not the last word, because they rattle while driving. The noise eventually becomes annoying. From Vienna to Bratislava that may still be bearable, but definitely unbearable on longer routes. The folding tables mounted in the seats may be suitable for tablet PCs, but they are not very resilient and are too small to be able to work on the laptop in peace. In that row, which is directly behind the second bus door, there are no tables at all, so that working on the computer is out of the question.
Regiojet's bus product is by no means bad because the bottom line is that it offers passengers more than its competitors. The departure was on time and the arrival in Bratislava (Nivy) was even ahead of schedule, which was certainly also due to the fact that there was no significant traffic on the route between the two capitals. Nevertheless, if you have the choice between Regiojet bus and Regiojet train, you should opt for the train, because it has about the same price more comfort on the train and is offered even more performance from the standard class.