The DitoBus Group story began in 1950 with the incorporation of a driving school and taxi business in Ugerløse.
From these humble beginnings the DitoBus company developed to a position where today it can provide a wide range of transport solutions including coaches, minibuses and public transport buses.
Gerda and Poul Verner Hansen Boers founded a company on Hovedgaden 53 in Ugerløse; a company which grew to become DitoBus. Poul Verner stood to take over the family farm one day: Møllegården in Ugerløse.
To fill out the time while he waited, he trained as a driving instructor and purchased a small taxi business with two cars - a Vauxhall and a Ford V8.
Increased demand for group transports resulted in the purchase of the first bus - a 28-seater Ford with a petrol engine.
Increasingly, local inhabitants from mid-Zealand were taking jobs in Copenhagen, and they needed transport.
This provided the company with the opportunity to run both bus services and car rentals (4 to 8 man VWs).
Danes began to travel abroad and, as a result, the company invested in its first new bus - a 17-seater Opel Blitz from Asnæs Coach Works. In this period, the coach was mainly used by travel agency "Sønderjyden", which later became "Viking Nordturist".
With the purchase of a 38-seater Büssing from 1954, the company had its first coach. Despite its age the Büssingen featured a number of modern refinements including reading lights, adjustable seats and panorama windows. The scale of the investment led Poul Verner to bring a partner into the business. The two of them wrote the name "DI-TO’s Turistfart" on the side of the coach, and this was the first time the DITO name was used.
The partnership only lasted for a short time as Poul Verner quickly acquired his partner’s share of the business. However, he kept the new company name and it remained in use until 2001 when it was rebranded DitoBus.
Poul Verner Hansen’s father gave up farming at Møllegården. Poul Verner had made a success of his bus company and driving school so the farm was leased out.
A new law governing the transport of schoolchildren was introduced and DITO’s Turistfart won the contract to transport schoolchildren in the municipalities nowadays known as Tølløse, Stenlille and Jernløse.
In order to service the increasing numbers of tourists travelling abroad DITO’s Turistfart purchased a 3 year-old 41-seater Mercedes.
DITO’s Turistfart’s tourist transport business was now growing at a rate that made it possible every year for the next three years to invest in a new 50-seater Fiat 308 from Ringsted Coach Works. The coaches primarily serviced holidays arranged by DITO’s Turistfart and Felix Rejser. The farm tenant left Møllegården, and the barn was converted into a garage including washing facilities. The coaches were moved from Hovedgaden 53 to Møllegården, with the company office remaining on Hovedgaden.
By investing in a new 54-seater Ford Plaxton equipped with a lift for wheelchair users and mobility impaired people DITO’s Turistfart entered a new business area. DITO’s Turistfart now employed ten full-time staff including the first office worker. Gerda and Poul Verner Hansen Boers moved from Hovedgaden 53 to Møllegården, and over the years many a driver was welcomed into the Møllegården kitchen with coffee and pastries.
With the launch of the Setra S200 range coach travel entered a new era – coaches with toilets, sleeping quarters, coffee machines and fridges began to make inroads into the market. DITO’s Turistfart was the first coach company in west Zealand to invest in a bus of this type, a one year-old 49-seater Setra S215HD.
New legislation governing local government provision of bus services and school transport came into effect. In Vestsjællands Amt this led to the creation of Vestsjælland’s Trafikselskab (VT). VT’s job was to enter into contracts with private and publicly-owned bus companies for transport provision. DITO’s Turistfart won the contract to provide four buses to routes 151 and 152 and this was the start of another new business area for the company: Bus services. Coaches were used to service the routes, and during the summer holidays these were still available for tourists transportation.
Investing in a factory-fresh Scania BR116, built by VBK in Herning, and thus having two of the new generation of coaches available, made DITO’s Turistfart unique in Zealand. - And the investment turned out to be good timing. That autumn, Spies Rejser decided to start running coach holidays as from the winter season 1982/83 and, in competition with coach companies from across Denmark, DITO’s Turistfart won the contract to provide transport by two buses. DITO’s Turistfart also provided coach transport for Fællesrejseforeningen – on holidays to Sicily amongst other destinations.
Spies Rejser’s coach holidays proved increasingly popular. After negotiating a new contract with Spies Rejser, DITO’s Turistfart invested in one of the first double-decker coaches operating in Denmark. By agreement with Spies, i.a. the bus was equipped with a video machine and headphones.
The relationship with Spies Rejser proved fruitful and DITO’s Turistfart invested in a further double-decker.
To strengthen their bus services DITO’s Turistfart invested in two new DAB Leyland buses. DITO’s Turistfart acquired bus company De Grønne Busser in Slagelse that ran three buses for VT on routes 34 and 35 between Slagelse and Korsør.
Spies Rejser stopped providing coach holidays. The two Spies double-deckers were repainted in DITO’s Turistfart’s white and blue livery and contracted to DCU Rejser, which later became Sunny Tours. Pistase Ski was also founded in 1987, and DITO’s Turistfart entered a partnership with this winter holiday company, a partnership that turned out to last for the next 20 years.
DITO’s Turistfart purchased Simon Spies’ private coach after having run it since 1984. DITO’s Turistfart’s bus service division also expanded with the purchase of bus company Ove Hansen in Mørkøv and the company’s four buses.
DITO’s Turistbusser purchased Skibby Turistbusser and took over the company’s two-year transport agreement with the holiday company Tjæreborg Rejser. The coach side of the business also performed significant jobs for the Municipality of Copenhagen and Our Agent in Scandinavia, amongst others.
Sleeper coaches were increasingly in demand as the market for non-stop services grew. Within a short space of time, DITO’s Turistfart had five sleeper coaches at the company’s disposal.
Falck issued a tender for two patient bus services in Vestsjælland’s Amt. DITO’s Turistfart won the contract, amongst other things, based on the company’s extensive experience with lift bus transports. DITO’s Turistfart was the only local company able to make two Setra lift buses available at short notice to service the two routes from Vestsjælland to Rigshospitalet.
DITO’s Turistfart also entered into an agreement with Thinggaard to supply Eurolines services from Copenhagen and Stockholm to Amsterdam, Paris and London. Unfortunately, the relationship only lasted one year, amongst other things because of our insistence on complying with driving hours and rest period regulations.
This year saw the introduction of tendering for public bus services. This represented a threat to a small company like DITO’s Turistfart, but it was also an opportunity. It was anticipated that the number of companies operating within the public service transport provision segment would fall dramatically, and DITO’s Turistfart’s strategy was to be one of the companies that remained in the market.
In order to prepare for the new market situation new staff handbooks were prepared, and all drivers were sent on
a customer service course. The first VT tendering round was held and, as the only local private company, DITO’s Turistfart won a contract – to provide two low-floor buses to service local bus routes in Korsør. Unfortunately, during the same tendering round DITO’s Turistfart lost its contract to service the key 34 and 35 routes between Slagelse and Korsør. The routes were taken over by DSB Busser – which later changed its name to Combus. DITO’s Turistfart’s fleet now numbered some 20 vehicles in total.
VT held its second round of tendering and, in keeping with its ambition of retaining its position in the public service sector, DITO’s Turistfart tendered for a number of new routes and achieved service contracts for no less than 25 buses. The new contract was to take effect from 1 January 1996 and entailed the establishment of depots in Slagelse, Sorø, Holbæk and Kalundborg in addition to the existing depots in Ugerløse and Korsør. In addition, the company opened a workshop in Slagelse. The company’s offices remained in Ugerløse.
The coach services division entered into an agreement with 65-ferie.
Poul Verner Hansen Boers died suddenly on 1 May. DITO’s Turistfart was taken over by Niels and Ib Gregers Hansen Boers.
After much thought, the decision was made to move DITO’s Turistfart to Holbæk where new premises were constructed including a workshop, office and bus cleaning facilities. Only the buses which serviced Ugerløse were left in the little town. The workshop in Slagelse was vacated. The depots in Slagelse, Sorø, Kalundborg and Korsør were retained.
DITO’s Turistfart’s very significant 1996 contract with VT ran out on 31 December 2000, and the routes were put out to tender in VT’s 6th tendering round. If DITO’s Turistfart had failed to retain most of the contract the situation could have become critical. Fortunately, DITO’s Turistfart managed to secure agreements to run 30 buses rather than the 25 it had previously run.
After efforts lasting many years DITO’s Turistfart entered into an agreement with 65-ferie covering three coaches.
Ernst Henriksen and Knud Erik Jensen, the two owners of the travel company Hafnia Rejser, contacted Niels and Ib Gregers Boers. Ernst Henriksen wanted to retire, and both he and Knud Erik Jensen wanted Niels and Ib Gregers Boers to take on Ernst Henriksen’s 60 per cent share of their company. The deal was done, and Hafnia Rejser moved its seven coaches and four minibuses into DITO’s Turistfart’s new Holbæk facility. Knud Erik Jensen retained his position as director of Hafnia Rejser with offices on Ahlgade in Holbæk. Hafnia Rejser had an extensive working relationship with 65-ferie, that i.a. made Hafnia Rejser the largest sales agent of 65-ferie.
DITO’s Turistfart rebranded to DitoBus.
DitoBus received Nordea Fonden’s Business Award, an award which is given to companies which have demonstrated particular initiative.
DitoBus entered into its largest coach contract to date to provide all of Team Benn’s coach services east of the Great Belt.
VT’s 7th tendering round was completed with contracts starting on 1 January 2003. DitoBus retained its local bus services in Korsør and expanded its activities with 12 routes between Kalundborg and Holbæk.
Lilly Nielsen contacted Niels and Ib Gregers Boers with the intention of disposing of Torkilstrup Taxi og Turistfart. This opportunity came at just the right time thus perfectly fitting the DitoBus expanding strategy within the minibus segment. Torkilstrup Taxi og Turistfart was sold and the company’s 14 minibuses were transferred to the newly incorporated company Torkilstrup Bus A/S, with the company’s three coaches going to DitoBus A/S. DitoBus now had about 200 employees and 100 vehicles: 20 coaches, 20 minibuses, and 60 buses.
Patient transport services from Korsør, Kalundborg and Nakskov were put out to tender by Falck. Since 1993, DitoBus had provided transport services between Korsør and Kalundborg. The company now also won the contract for two patient bus services in Nakskov. Two specially-designed patient buses were delivered by Belgian company VDL and entered operation in Nakskov.
VT’s 8th tendering round was finalised with contracts commencing as of 1 January 2005. DitoBus retained four bus services in Ugerløse and Holbæk and expanded by two bus services in Mørkøv.
Most of Torkilstrup Bus’ service contracts with Roskilde Amt were up for renewal and following tendering round the contract was awarded to Dantrafik. However, before the new operator took over operations, the local authority cancelled the contract as a consequence of the operator’s extremely unsatisfactory service provision in the Køge area. Following a new tendering round Torkilstrup Bus won back the very important services it provided for Roskilde Amt.
VT’s 9th tendering round was finalised with contracts commencing as of 1 January 2006. DitoBus retained 17 bus services in Holbæk, Ugerløse and Slagelse, and won contracts to provide a further two buses in Vig. The DitoBus coach provision agreement with Team Benns was cancelled. Amongst other things, this was a result of DitoBus’ refusal to compromise on compliance with driving hours and rest period regulations. Team Benn’s business had accounted for over 60% of coach business turnover so this was a significant setback. In the following years DitoBus entered into a number of agreements with small travel agents in order to compensate for the loss of Team Benns in the best possible way.
VT’s 10th tendering round was finalised with contracts commencing as of 1 January 2007. DitoBus won its largest contract to date numbering 42 buses, of which 11 were retained contracts and 31 were new services – most of the regional traffic in west Zealand. In the space of just three months DitoBus welcomed 100 new staff and 35 brand new buses. A new depot was opened in Nykøbing Sjælland and a new facility purchased in Kalundborg including workshop, office and washing facilities.
Torkilstrup Bus moved its offices from Holbæk to Roskilde, where most of its activities were based. Initially the office was located on Motelvej, but subsequently moved to Industrivej.
The Municipality of Copenhagen put outlying kindergarten transport out to tender and DitoBus won a contract to supply services with four buses based in Copenhagen. DitoBus’ largest customer, VT, was shut down and its activities taken over by the new transport company for east Denmark, Movia. Torkilstrup Bus entered into a contract with the Municipality of Høje Tåstrup for the transportation of schoolchildren with special needs. Approximately 15 minibuses were required for this purpose.
Movia’s first tendering round, A1, was finalised and DitoBus won contracts to supply six local bus services in Holbæk and seven regional bus services in Ringsted. A new depot was established in Ringsted. Torkilstrup Bus took over the transport of rehabilitation patients in the Municipality of Roskilde. DitoBus now employed almost 400 staff and had 200 buses at its disposal: Approx. 20 coaches, 40 minibuses and 140 buses. DitoBus’ continued growth resulted in the formation of a new coach activities company with the name: DitoBus Excursions A/S. Hereafter the DitoBus Group numbered the following companies: DitoBus Excursions A/S (coaches), DitoBus A/S (buses), Torkilstrup Bus A/S (minibuses) and Hafnia Rejser (travel agency, coaches and minibuses).
Hovedstadens Lokalbaner sold Østtrafik A/S to the DitoBus Group. Østtrafik had 46 buses contracted to Movia in Faxe, Stevns and Køge municipalities. The Østtrafik finances were in a critical state, but the tenders for 40 of the 46 buses were soon up, and the plan was to save Østtrafik by retaining the contracts however at better prices than previously. The Østtrafik finances, and not least the contract for the six buses, turned out to be far worse than expected at the time of sale. For financial reasons it was therefore impossible for Østtrafik to enter the tendering round for the 40 bus routes.
DitoBus participated in Movia’s 3rd tendering round and won the contract to supply services with five buses in Ringsted and Holbæk.
DitoBus participated in Movia’s 5th tendering round and won a contract to supply services for 45 buses in Kalundborg, Slagelse, Svinninge, Holbæk, Faxe, Næstved, Præstø, and Stege. New depots were established in Svinninge, Faxe, Næstved, Præstø, and Stege and 100 new employees joined the company. Now the DitoBus Group comprised approximately 500 employees and 250 buses.
Torkilstrup Bus participated in the Roskilde Municipality tender for the elderly and disabled transportation services. Torkilstrup Bus won the tender in competition with eight other bidders. The day before the scheduled signing of the new contract, Roskilde Municipality cancelled the tender procedure and issued a new invitation to submit tenders. In the new tender Torkilstrup Bus came in second best; a new bidder which had now joined the tenderers came up with the best price which was slightly lower than the one offered by Torkilstrup Bus. The new bidder was Roskilde Municipality itself. At that time, Torkilstrup Bus had provided the elderly transportation services for the Municipality of Roskilde for 24 years.
Instead, Torkilstrup Bus achieved its largest assignment to date with the Municipality of Køge by signing a contract for establishment of an operating office and supplying of transportation services for referred citizens. In addition, Torkilstrup Bus won the contracts for elderly transportation in Frederikssund Municipality and parts of Holbæk Municipality.
DitoBus A/S changed its name to DitoBus Linjetrafik A/S, the reason being that this company specialized in fixed-route bus transport.
DitoBus Excursions participated in the Copenhagen Municipality tender to supply transportation services for outdoor kindergartens. After a series of very tough bidding rounds, DitoBus succeeded in retaining two of four kindergartens for whom the company had previously provided transportation, and in gaining three additional kindergartens. Furthermore, DitoBus Excursions gained a new customer, Klingenberg Rejser, and regained its framework agreement with Danmarks Radio.
DitoBus Linjetrafik participated in Movia’s A9 tendering to supply services of 25 buses. Despite fierce competition, DitoBus Linjetrafik succeeded in obtaining a new contract with similar extent. The new contract included three extra buses in Holbæk (line 555 and more) and three extra buses in Roskilde (line 358), whereas the previous contract for seven buses in Slagelse (line 432 and more) was not renewed.
Due to the new A9 contract the staff was reduced by ten employees in Slagelse and increased by 12 employees in Roskilde and Holbæk. DitoBus Linjetrafik also acquired 14 new, environmentally friendly vehicles of the Volvo B7RLE type (Nos. 4757-4770).
Since 2007, Torkilstrup Bus had successfully solved the complete task of planning and transportation of referred citizens in the Municipality of Høje Taastrup. The task was retendered in 2012 but unfortunately, Torkilstrup Bus did not succeed in regaining the assignment. Torkilstrup Bus participated in a couple of other major municipal offerings, however without being competitive. Nevertheless, Torkilstrup Bus managed to achieve its first smaller contract with Movia Flextrafik Rute. Also, Torkilstrup Bus strengthened the cooperation with the Municipality of Køge regarding the contract initiated in 2011.
As part of the general effort of making Torkilstrup Bus more competitive, the company introduced electronic communication between the operating office and the buses.
DitoBus Excursions decided to upgrade the design of the tourist buses. The new look was first tested in 2011 at the delivery of bus No. 370, and by the delivery in May 2012 the two new MAN Lion coaches (Nos. 371 and 372) were also updated with the new DitoBus Excursions design.
Despite the fact that the tourist transport market was negatively affected by the general economic downturn, DitoBus Excursions had a relatively successful year. Among other assignments, DitoBus Excursions managed to gain the firm order of providing transportation services for two additional outdoor kindergartens in the Municipality of Copenhagen.
By Movia’s A10 tendering to supply services of 49 buses, DitoBus Linjetrafik's largest contract was put out to tender. DitoBus Linjetrafik participated and despite fierce competition succeeded in obtaining a new and almost equally important contract including transport services of 42 of the previous 49 buses. The Kalundborg city bus services and the service of one bus in Mørkøv were taken over by other operators, thus reducing the staff by 18 employees in Kalundborg.
For the new A10 contract DitoBus Linjetrafik acquired 17 new vehicles, type Volvo B8RLE 8900, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and already meeting 2015 EURO 6 standards. In addition, DitoBus Linjetrafik acquired 8 new Mercedes Sprinter City buses. Also for the A10 contract DitoBus acquired the property at Marsvej 4 in Nykøbing Sj. and a building site at Kragelundsvej 2 in Sorø.
At the end of the year, DitoBus Linjetrafik obtained ISO 14001 certification, the globally recognized standard for environmental management systems.
Torkilstrup Bus experienced its worst year ever. At very short notice the Municipality of Roskilde decided to transfer its school bus transportation to Roskilde Fire Services. The transfer took place without competitive tendering.
At the same short notice, Torkilstrup Bus made an attempt to compensate for the loss of its core tasks in Roskilde by participating in Movia's tendering for Flextrafik services. However, Torkilstrup Bus had to withdraw its Flextrafik offer which turned out to be incorrect.
By streamlining business operations and improving marketing effectiveness, DitoBus Excursions did rather well during a year where the tourist transport market still felt the effects of the global recession.
At midyear, director and co-owner of Hafnia Rejser, Knud Erik Jensen, left the company in the pursuit of new challenges. Hence, DitoBus took over the full ownership of Hafnia Rejser.
At the beginning of the year, our minibus activities experienced great disappointment. The Municipality of Holbæk put their minibus transportation out to tender (Movia FR5). Despite being prequalified, in the subsequent tendering process Hafnia Rejser only obtained a smaller contract for school bus and elderly transportation services in the Tølløse area. The Hafnia Rejser's bus services in Holbæk were taken over by VBT, whereas Torkilstrup Bus’s transportation services in the Svinninge area went to the company Handicapbefordring. It turned out that VBT and Handicapbefordring had in fact obtained contracts for almost all bus transportation service in Holbæk Municipality. However shortly after, it became apparent that Handicapbefordring provided a very poor service, and after fierce user protests and media attention Movia had to terminate the contract. New tenderers were urgently invited with a subsequent screening of possible suppliers, and we were very satisfied when Hafnia Rejser together with the newly established DitoBus Servicetrafik succeeded in obtaining the majority of Handicapbefordring’s tasks, although all contracts in Holbæk Municipality had only a duration of 12 months.
During spring 2014, Hafnia Rejser acquired the first 5-star bus in agreement with Vitus Rejser (formerly 65-Ferie). The bus was a modern travel coach fully equipped with extra leg space, legrest and tablets at all seats.
DitoBus Excursions participated in the tendering for transportation services for a number of kindergartens in the Copenhagen Municipality. DitoBus Excursions succeeded in extending the contracts from previously 6 kindergartens to 12 kindergartens implying that, as from the beginning of 2015, 8 buses would be permanently stationed in Copenhagen.
The renovation of Marsvej 4 in Nykøbing Sj. was completed and at the end of 2014 DitoBus Linjetrafik moved from Nykøbing station to the new bus garage at Marsvej providing car wash, drivers' facilities, offices and parking areas.
During the last weeks of 2014 also the construction at Kragelundsvej 6 in Sorø was completed. This new garage for DitoBus Linjetrafik in Sorø provided workshop facilities, car wash, drivers' facilities, parking areas and a diesel service plant operated by Uno-X. The opening of the new garage in Sorø servicing the buses from Sorø, Slagelse and Ringsted, meant closing down the workshop in Slagelse.
In late December we reached an agreement with Thykjær to take over the company’s activities on Zealand covering a Movia contract with 15 operating buses. Setting the acquisition date at 1 January 2015, DitoBus Linjetrafik ended the year busy in preparing the welcome of approx. 35 employees and 17 buses from Thykjær.
DitoBus Servicetrafik participated in the Holbæk Municipality tendering of transportation services for referred citizens and succeeded in obtaining a contract for supplying almost all of the services put out to this tender. Subsequently as of 1 April 2016, a new type of partnership agreement was signed with Holbæk Municipality.
At the end of the year, as part of the generational handover at Kruse A/S, the DitoBus Group became the co-owner of Kruse A/S which subsequently is owned by Mie Kruse, Max Kruse and the DitoBus Group A/S by one third each.
For the first time in the DitoBus Excursions history four new coaches were delivered within the same calendar year - two ultramodern Volvo travel coaches and two state-of-the-art MAN lift coaches.
At the end of the year, DitoBus Excursions participated in the Copenhagen Municipality tendering to supply transportation services for public swimming pools, and won the contract commencing as of the turn of the year 2016/2017.
The DitoBus Servicetrafik contract with Holbæk Municipality commencing 1 April 2016 regarding the transportation services for referred citizens got off to a good start. However, despite multi-year and great performance unfortunately DitoBus Servicetrafik did not succeed in regaining the transportation service tasks in Frederikssund and Køge municipalities.
DitoBus Linjetrafik's large contract, A5, with Movia (public transportation services of 45 buses) was extended up to and including the year 2020 and at the same time, the A5 contract was amended by the replacing of 3 of the buses by new very environmentally friendly vehicles of the Volvo B8RLE type (Euro 6).
On 1 July 2016 the DitoBus Group acquired 51 % of the stocks of Jørns Busrejser A/S in Brønderslev. The acquisition was part of a generational handover as the owner, Jørn Pedersen, wanted to retire from the company gradually over a period of 3 to 5 years. Jørns Busrejser A/S provided public bus services as well as coach and taxi services, and the company numbered approx. 44 employees and a fleet of 30 vehicles.
DitoBus Excursions continued progressing and during 2017 acquired five new coaches. The many activities of the company were reflected in the composition of the new coaches, ranging from a midibus (10 m) to the longest model in the market (15 m).
Jørns Busrejser A/S moved its route activities into the newly founded company, Jørns Rutetrafik A/S. The DitoBus Group acquired 100 pct. ownership of Jørns Rutetrafik whereas Jørns Busrejser was jointly owned by Jørn Pedersen and the DitoBus Group.
Jørns Rutetrafik participated in the NT 23.1 tendering and succeeded in obtaining a contract to supply eight bus services, which subsequently were stationed in Dronninglund, primarily servicing the route between the cities of Asaa and Aalborg.
DitoBus Linjetrafik reached every quality goal set by Movia and consequently, at the beginning of the year, the two A9 contracts with Movia to supply 25 bus services were extended by two years until 2020.
DitoBus Linjetrafik participated in the the Movia A15 tendering and regained the contract to supply six city bus services in Holbæk.
Unfortunately, the contract to supply seven regional bus services in Ringsted was not regained and consequently, by the timetable change in December the company had to say goodbye to the number of employees who were now going to start working with the contract winning operator.
In December, the company acquired seven brand new and very environmentally friendly vehicles to cover the regained contract of supplying city bus services in Holbæk. Among other features, the buses were equipped with automatic stop announcement, real time information and infotainment screens.
In late December, a property purchase agreement was concluded regarding Industrivej 42 in Roskilde, for several years the depot of both DitoBus Linjetrafik and DitoBus Servicetrafik.