The development of the Autotrans Croatian transport system began in 1947, when, by the decision of the Ministry of Transport, a company called "Autobusno poduzeće za Istru i Hrvatsko primorje " ("Coach Company for Istria and Croatian Littoral") was established in Rijeka. From a company that had fifteen used vehicles at the moment of establishment, of which ten buses of different brands and types, fifteen drivers, eleven conductors and twenty-five office workers, to the present Autotrans, seventy years passed, and in that period it grew into a system that owns 480 buses and employs more than 1000 workers.
A few years and periods were the milestones in the development of the system, and certainly one of them is 1953, when the company was registered for international transport and was also renamed into Autotrans – the name that has been kept to this day. At that time, new business in passenger and freight traffic was organized and the company chose to focus on standardization of the fleet with vehicles from abroad.
In the 1950s, a new road Zagreb – Rijeka, the Adriatic Road, opened, and the new roadway to Dalmatia and Autotrans opened new routes.
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, with a fleet of 41 coaches and two coach trailers, 36 trucks and 18 truck trailers and 305 employees, it ranked among the leading road transport companies in the former country. With the slogan "Fast, Comfortable, Safe," the company continued to develop and introduce new seasonal departures on international and inland coach lines.
The period between 1960 and 1970 was marked by intensive growth of the company, the integration with several Istrian companies was carried out, ending the long process of organizing public road traffic in the area of Istria, Gorski Kotar and the Croatian Littoral, in which Autotrans had a crucial role. New stations were opened, the most modern coaches were supplied and used to transport passengers on the routes to Vienna, Budapest, Dubrovnik, the Autotrans travel agency was founded, construction investments were performed, young professional staff was employed, and on Autotrans’ twentieth anniversary it owned 147 buses, which transported 7.439 million passengers, passed 10.412 million kilometres, while 203 trucks transported 359 563 tons of cargo. That same year, 1047 workers were employed.
The year 1978 is considered to be significant in the third period because it is when the merger in the SOUR Kvarnertrans took place. By merging in the SOUR, Autotrans experienced status, as well as organizational and technical changes. Through the accepted concept of division of labour within the SOUR, that is, by surrendering freight vehicles and repair shops to Autopromet, as well as freight vehicles in Pazin and Buzet to Gradšped in 1982, and by the formation of RO Autoremont, a new stage in the development concept of Autotrans started. The company had 746 employees left. They were located in eleven business units in the wider Rijeka area and they began to engage exclusively in transportation of passengers, along with the development of tourism activities.
The early 1990s were crucial for the survival and further development of the company. These were the years of the Croatian Homeland War, Croatia gaining independence, and simultaneously preparations for the transition to market economy and privatization of Autotrans began. It was completed on 16 June 1992, when Autotrans became a stock company. This is a time of expansion in inland and foreign markets; Slavnik - Koper is bought, as well as a share in the Croatia - Zadar Line company, Autoprometno poduzeće Požega is taken over so Autotrans becomes present in Slavonia, and the Pan Alpen Adria company is established in Germany, which takes care of positioning the system in the EU.
The 21. century in Autotrans is characterised by two important decisions: the acquisition of Croatiatrans Gospić, and the establishment of a new company on the island of Brač. Autotrans began to strengthen its position in the region of Lika in 2008 when it became the majority owner of the company Autoprijevoz d.d. Otočac. A few years later, precisely in 2013, the Group expanded by acquiring another public limited company, the Karlovac Bus Terminal, and the future plan involved the development of transport in the wider Karlovac area, which was achieved in 2015 when Autopromet Slunj joined the system.
The sister company App d.d. Požega started intensifying its business in the area of the Osijek-Baranja County when in June 2011 it started providing bus terminal services in the new “A” category bus terminal in Osijek, for all types of bus transport. At the same time the county and inter-county line transport were developing, and the Osijek-Baranja County was connected with Zagreb, Istria, and Dalmatia through all year round lines. The constant business expansion continues also in the area of Slavonski Brod where in the summer months of the same year the reconstruction of the service-garage centre took place, which purpose is the maintenance of buses and commercial vehicles.
Activities continue also in the south of our country, where the Korčula’s Vojvodić Promet and Korčula Bus joined the Group, and at the beginning of 2016 Autotrans takes over Dalmacija Bus from Stobreč, a company whose knowledge, experience, and market knowledge will strengthen the position in the touristically most propulsive region of Croatia.
With these acquisitions the Group is becoming the backbone for developing and managing passenger transport on the entire Croatian territory.
Autotrans – member of Arriva Deutsche Bahn
In August 2017, Autotrans group became a part of the international group Arriva Deutsche Bahn, one of the world’s leading passenger transport and logistics service providers.
Headquartered in Sunderland, UK, Arriva operates in 14 countries across Europe, employing around 60,000 people and delivering more than 2.2 billion passenger journeys every year. Arriva is responsible for Deutsche Bahn's regional passenger transport services outside of Germany and is present on Croatian market from May 2013, following the acquisition of Panturist.
With acquisition of 78.34% share in Autotrans Group (ATG), Arriva became the number one private bus operator in Croatia and now operates a fleet of 600 buses serving 11.5m passengers a year and employs 1,418 staff in Croatia.
Expansion of operations in Croatia, Central and Eastern Europe opens up opportunities for further growth and development of the group with the aim of providing passengers with better quality services and being the first choice and partner in their journeys.