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The history of Transportes Pesa

The history of Transportes Pesa is, to some extent, the history of passenger transport in the Basque Country. Its origins date back to 1833, when “La Esperanza”, an empresa later absorbed by Pesa, began running stagecoach services from Ondarroa.

At that time there were none of the roads or motorways there are today and travel was often suspended due to snow and bad weather. Even a short journey could mean a real adventure for the travellers who were bumped around on a road that was often little more than a dirt track.

But with the arrival of the 20th century those animal-drawn vehicles were gradually replaced by others with engines. It wasn’t long before we adopted the new invention in the Basque Country, and as far back as 1901 the Sociedad Vitoriana already had three 20-seater steam-driven “automobile-omnibuses” on the Vitorio-Lemona route.

Thanks to the possibilities offered by the new invention, numerous passenger transport companies gradually started appearing throughout the country. Many of these companies only had one bus and its owner, who would agree to the times and stops with the passengers who requested their services. One of these companies was the forebear of what was later to become Transportes Pesa.

On 1st October 1955, two transport companies decided to unify their lines and create a company to provide travellers with an improved service. They were the founders of Transportes Pesa. To start with, they had two main lines that they adapted to the circumstances: Bilbao-San Sebastián and San Sebastián-Bayonne.

In the following years, Transportes Pesa, S.A. gradually added to its fleet; it also set up a support network of garages at the main points on the different routes and centralised the administrative work at its installations in San Sebastián’s Ibaeta district.

The important improvements in road structure started in the 70s greatly improved communications between many of the towns connected by Transportes Pesa, S.A. This meant that the company could run more buses, reduce travel time and renew its fleet more regularly.

In that same decade, Transportes Pesa, S.A. took over the road routes between Bilbao-Lemona-Durango, until then covered by the “Compañía de los Ferrocarriles Vascongados, S.A.” (FFVV), since the closure of its subsidiary “Tranvía de Bilbao a Durango y Arratia” (TBDA).

This trend continued throughout the 80s, when “Autobuses de Arratia, S.A.”, the company holding the concession for the Zeanuri-Bilbao line, joined the Grupo Pesa. It was around the same time that the situation was repeated by “Transconor, S.A.”, with its Escoriatza-San Sebastián line, and “La Vergaresa, S.A.”, holder of the concession for the Eibar-Vitoria route running through Bergara and Arrasate.

During these 20 years, Transportes Pesa, S.A. had a great many different models of bus in its fleet, although a lot of them were the Pegaso 5031 for which Irizar provided the bodywork. These buses were above all used on the long-distance lines. The biggest change came about in the mid-80s, when we started to acquire the first Scania models, the K112, again with bodywork by Irizar. In the following decade, later versions of these models went on to form an important part of the new look adopted by vehicles at Transportes Pesa, S.A.

The 90s marked a profound about-turn in the situation of Transportes Pesa, S.A. until that time. New management brought new ideas and the desire to make the group competitive in facing the challenges of integration to the European Union and the new millennium.

The first step taken was to change the corporate image. As far as the fleet was concerned, the green by which the Transporte Pesa S.A. vehicles had been identified until then was changed for a livelier colour, more suited to modern times.

Almost at the same time, a policy was launched to unify all models of vehicles in the fleet, with two basic models: Scania K112 and Volvo B10M, in both cases with later series.

Similarly, with our sights on improved service quality, in September 1997 the lines owned by Transportes Pesa S.A. in Bizkaia became part of Bizkaibus, an operator dependent upon the Transport Department of the Bizkaia Regional Council, thereby creating the subsidiary, Pesa Bizkaia, S.A.

Since the millennium, Transportes Pesa, S.A. has put great effort into improving the quality of its services by training its employees and drivers. It has also renewed its fleet with the acquisition of 31 new vehicles (Scania K124 and Volvo B12D models), bringing the average age of its vehicles down to no more than 4 years.

Transportes Pesa, S.A. wishes to take yet another step forward in its adaptation to the possibilities offered by new technologies by providing practical, immediate information and permitting all those who wish to contact us for guaranteed direct communication with citizens. Another innovation is the incorporation of ITS on board all the vehicles in our fleet for safer, more efficient and environment-friendly driving. We have also introduced a pre-pay system for faster boarding; vehicles adapted to the needs of persons with functional diversity, etc. Thanks to these moves, we aim to involve users and workers at our organisation in the process of continuous improvement to which we are strongly committed at Transportes Pesa.