It used to be the case in Germany that coaches were not allowed to operate long-distance scheduled services. This type of service was restricted almost entirely to trains. The law changed at the beginning of 2013. The market for long-distance trips over 50 km long (or over 1 hour journey time) has now been opened up.
This new freedom to operate may possibly conflict with the local “Guidelines on integrated networks“, German engineers’ method for developing coordinated road, cycleway and public transport networks. However it could please the environmentalists, as Germany’s Der Spiegel * says that long-distance buses with a high occupany level are the most environmentally friendly means of transport, better even than trains.
Prices are quite low at the moment – for example, only Euro 22 for a trip from Berlin to Frankfurt am Main.
*Der Spiegel article, issue 21 / 2013, “Verkehr, Der Weg ist das Ziel“