Mechanical edit: Remove broken website from FlixBus bus route relations, add generic link to network:website instead

FlixBus is a long-distance bus operator from Germany, with bus routes in Germany and other countries. Many of the bus routes are mapped in OSM as relations route=bus.

Quite a lot of these routes have a website=* tag that points to a URL below…. MeinFernbus was another bus operator that got bought by FlixBus in 2015. The website no longer exists, so all of these links are now broken.

There is no alternative website with a specific page about each route, detailing e.g. the intermediate stops and the timetable. has SEO pages for each start-destination pair of cities, but these are not very useful. They mostly serve to pre-fill the connection search and don’t tell you anything about stops on the route or timetables.

Here’s an Overpass query for the affected routes: overpass turbo. At the time of writing there are 422 such routes.

Proposed change

Remove the website=* key.

Add network:website= in its place. The rationale is that the link to the website might still be useful to some users.

website= does not fit, because it is not a website about the specific route. operator:website=* does not fit, because the actual routes are served by subcontractor companies who own the buses and pay the drivers. For several routes they are tagged as operator=*. In these cases operator:website should rather point to the subcontractors’ websites and not FlixBus’.

How the change is performed

The Overpass turbo query overpass turbo is used to find affected routes.

The data will be loaded into JOSM into a fresh session. JOSM allows to load objects by ID and can load relations without loading the members.

The website key will be removed from all loaded relations.

network:website= will be added to all relations where network:website is not already present.

This tag change is the only change that will be performed. It will be performed only once.

Prior discussions

In the Germany subforum:


Created Automated edits/hfs - OpenStreetMap Wiki for this change.


As there was no answer to my question in the German thread:

Where do you see the use-case for adding network:website? Usually the aim is to offer the user more information, though liking to the generic company website to me has a similar level as linking to Google. Additional any service could derive that link from network=Flixbus tag.


The use case is that the user finds helpful information about the bus route on the website. One can buy tickets there, find alternative bus routes or see real-time departures/arrivals/delays. These are all directly connected to the bus route. It’s not just a “generic company website”.

At the moment we have links in the data that don’t work at all. In my opinion it’s an improvement to link to a useful website instead, and preferable to having no link at all. Why should we rely on Google for our online or offline journeys if we can make maps and links ourselves?

As mentioned, any service can add a link to the website of flixbus by evaluating the network=Flixbus tag.
If adding a website, why adding the German website? For routes only withing Germany that would make sense. For routes within France and so on…
For international routes might be more useful.


it seems that title of thread should be amended to describe full scope of changes

I agree completely. If a website will be added, it should be appriorate for the region the route operates in (or a general, international variant).

I support removal of broken website links.

I am unsure about adding this network:website tag - and as not mentioned in threat title, I would not support doing this.


Why would anyone use network:website when network:wikidata is already present and Wikidata stores the URL for each languge? While removing the website tag you might also consider removing the network:wikipedia tag which is also covered by Wikidata.

While removing the website tag you might also consider removing the network:wikipedia tag which is also covered by Wikidata.

and “name” which is also covered by wikidata?

name isn’t covered by Wikidata but it is redundant when you have all of the data in other tags (network, ref, from, via and to).

Thank you all for your helpful feedback. I will update the proposal accordingly. I just don’t have time today.

Hey, I’ve updated the thread title to mention network:website as well.

I’ve updated the proposal in the Wiki to define country-specific values of network:website for each route.

If start and destination are in the same country, link to that country’s version of the FlixBus website, such as,, and so on. If start and destination are in different countries, link to the global website I went through the list and manually classified each relation. I made exceptions if start and destination are both in German-speaking countries such as Berlin–Zurich or Hamburg–Vienna and proposed the .de website for these.

Let me know what you think!

I’m not married to network:website. If it’s controversial, I’m happy to drop that part and just remove the website tags.

Hey, your updated proposal looks better than your first one and I could accept it. Still I would prefer not adding a network:website.

Btw. while going to your list of relations, I noticed there might be a couple of duplicates in :wink:


Since there were no further comments I went ahead as proposed and changed the first 10 relations.

If there are no complaints, I will do all others probably tomorrow in about 24 h.

I’m not sure what you meant with the duplicates? The list contains the relation IDs and I double checked that they are unique.

E.g. for line 700 there’s a route_master parent relation Paris ↔ London with superroute children Paris → London and London → Paris, which in turn have route children. Maybe those look like duplicates on first glance?

I’ve performed the change on the remaining 412 relations now in changeset 147623445.