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USC Undergrad, Nick Fiorillo, Interns at Start-up FlixBus

Saturday, September 22, 2018

by By Drew Quinn, USC MPL 2019

California’s two largest cities are a mere 300 miles apart, yet in 2018 the transportation modes directly connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco are functionally limited to personal transport, air travel that necessitates a dreaded trip to and fro LAX, or the ultra-reliable and super clean Greyhound Lines, Inc. Enter FlixBus, a Europe-based long-distance mobility company, making inroads in the Western US transportation market.

“There is growing demand for transportation alternatives, both from the public and private sectors,” says Nick Fiorillo, a senior at USC Price, who is currently interning with FlixBus and spoke with us about the innovative transportation service, his experience as an intern, and his long-term ambitions in the transportation planning industry.

In its initial five years, beginning February 2013, FlixBus became the largest long-distance bus company in Europe. The company launched its US operations in May and now services Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, and smaller towns along these routes.

For his part, Fiorillo works with local governments and transit agencies to secure authorizations for bus services and stops in various states, counties, and municipalities. He discovered the opportunity via a former employer at a USC Price Office of Career Services networking event. Fiorillo feels that the role has “allowed [him] to develop a better understanding of the transportation landscape and challenges [to] inter-regional transportation connectivity.”

The opportunity to work for FlixBus accommodates Fiorillo’s dual interests in transportation and sustainability. FlixBus was the first company in Europe to launch long-distance electric buses and is determined to do the same in the US. Fiorillo believes it is critical to study and invest in transportation alternatives that may enable people to transport themselves via accessible low-carbon modes.

When asked about his professional future Fiorillo described himself as someone primarily interested in “issue advocacy” and would like to be involved in messages and campaigns in support of investment in renewable energy and public transit.

Fiorillo is deeply concerned about the lack of federal support for transit and its implication on the future transportation landscape; however, he is excited to see local leadership and advocacy boosting transit funding and expansion. “I believe public transportation needs a louder, bolder advocacy coalition if we are to make the kinds of investments necessary to bring emerging transit systems to scale.”  

“While attitudes are changing, I believe there’s more work that must be done to transform our energy and transportation infrastructure,” said Fiorillo before adding, “working on transportation issues at FlixBus has been a phenomenal way to combine my interests in public policy, politics, and sustainability. There is growing demand for transportation alternatives, both from the public and private sectors, and we should look for collaboration and integration of these alternatives.”

 

About the Author:

Drew Quinn is a Master of Planning student at the University of Southern California with a concentration in Transportation. Originally from Atlantic City, New Jersey, Mr. Quinn received a B.A. in History from The George Washington University in Washington, DC and has previously lived in Philadelphia and Madrid. Mr. Quinn serves as the Lead Editor for METRANS on the Move and is also the President and Founder of Trees by Trojans, a service organization at USC dedicated to increasing the distribution of green infrastructure in South Central LA.