Hungary, private undertakings dealing with person and cargo transportation
meeting primarily small region requirements were established at the beginning
of the XXth century.
The first firm having nation-wide network, the Magyar Vasutak Autóközlekedési Részvénytársaság /Motor Vehicle Transport Company of the Hungarian Railways/ (MAVART) was established by the MÁV /Hungarian Railways/, in 1927.
The company was dealing with transportation of persons and goods and, it was connected primarily to the railway network. In 1934, the firm took over 34 motor buses of the Post, thus becoming outstandingly the biggest road traffic transport company, which in 1935 was transformed into the Magyar Államvasutak Közúti Gépkocsi Üzeme /Road Motor Vehicle Plant of the Hungarian Railways/ (MÁVAUT), running buses already on 224 lines.
During the Second World War a big part of the Hungary vehicle fleet got ruined resp. robbed out from the country. Again small undertakings were established but these were quickly squeezed out from the market by different restrictions and centralization ambitions.
In 1948, full-scale development of the road transportation for public use took its beginning. The MÁVAUT Autóbuszközlekedési Nemzeti Vállalat /National Coach Transport Company/ , then the Teherfuvarozási Nemzeti Vállalat / National Cargo Transport Company/ (TEFU NV) were established. In 1953, the two companies performing nation-wide tasks were decentralized and about 80, territorially numbered coach transport companies (AKÖV), performing person and cargo transportation tasks were established. The work of these companies was directed by nine Autóközlekedési Igazgatóság /Motor Vehicle Transport Directorate/ (AKIG).
With contribution of the quickly developing Hungarian vehicle production the holdings of assets of the companies were rapidly growing. In the early fifties, construction of a nation-wide network of the technical-traffic sites and bus stations was commenced. The management system, however, became clumsy and staggered and for this reason the KPM /Ministry of Transport and Communications/ established the Autóközlekedési Vezérigazgatóságot /Vehicle Transport Directorate/ (AVIG), under the direction of which numbered, mixed-profile motor traffic companies were created on basis of the "one county - once company" principle, in 18 counties. Exemption was given only to Budapest resp. Pest county: in the capital the clear-profile TEFU /Cargo Forwarding/ resp. the MÁVAUT /Person Forwarding/ companies were instituted, whose activities reached well beyond the territorial borders. In the spirit of the reorganization fashionable in Hungary at that time, the Autóközlekedési Tröszt /Vehicle Transport Trust/ (AKÖTRÖSZT) was established, taking over the tasks of its predecessor. An intensive development of the road transport was commenced, taking over the tasks of the small-traffic railway lines, making the activity complex.
A tender was called by the Trust for a common fantasy name and emblem. Out of the 22 tenders, the nowadays Europe-wide known VOLÁN name and the VOLÁN snail emblem have been accepted and patented.
Subsequent to the successful tendering the VOLÁN TRÖSZT /VOLÁN TRUST/ was established in 1970 and the 1-24 numbered VOLÁN companies created.
On impact of the new economy management system and the reforms the person and cargo transportation performances were dynamically increasing and, a nation-wide network of the bus stations and technical-traffic sites was established. In the public-road public utility motor traffic quality changes also occurred: new asset maintenance systems were elaborated and computer-aided bus timetable making, traffic data optimizing and installation of the ticket machines were commenced. In the cargo transportation also advanced technologies were developed, making the services complex, with expansion of the general freight transportation and, the polygon transportation.
By the early 1980's the independence of the companies continuously increased, by means of which the companies could already manage 80 per cent of the investment resources. The companies with their organization, modern maintenance and site management systems, human resource saving, versatility of their activities not only preserved by even improved their positions in the market competition.
During the trust-managed activity period success could be achieved to connect every settlement with more than 200 inhabitants into the scheduled bus traffic. 50 bus stations, 100 plant unit management sites were built and success was achieved in establishing of about 40 social service improving bases. The companies smoothly took over the traffic of 75 outdated narrow-gauge railways.
In 1983, decision was taken by the Council of Ministers for a further decentralization. Economically entirely independent companies, as well as the VOLÁN Vállalatok Központ / VOLÁN Companies Headquarters/ (VVK) were created. The issues affecting the entire VOLÁN network were drawn under the control of the Board of Directors (BD) formed by the managers of the companies as well as the director general of the VVK. The BD, on basis of common interests of the companies, assigned the interest collation of company-level activities, centralized vehicle procurement, preparation of blanket agreements affecting several companies and elaboration of recommendations relating to modernization of the activity, to the tasks of the VVK.
On basis of a decision of the DB, the director general transformed the background institutions into subsidiaries. According to this, the VOLÁN Elektronika Számítástechnikai Leányvállalat /Electronics Information Technology Subsidiary/ and the VOLÁN Oktatási és Továbbképző Leányvállalat /Educational and In-Service Training Subsidiary/ were established. Subsequently these companies entered into agreement on business base with those requiring their services.
In the spirit of the further modernization, creation of company-board directed companies was commenced.
In 1985 the companies took new brand names which meanwhile preserving the VOLÁN character, referred to the sphere of their activities, county and possibly peculiarities.
In 1986 the VOLÁNCAMION Subsidiary was founded, organizing freights to 21 countries already in the first years of its operation.
At the end of the '80's a keen competition was caused on the freight market in lack of big investments, by the fact that the big companies were not very willing to receive the vehicles afternoon or during the weekends and for this reason the device utilization got worsened. New situation was brought in turn by the international activity: both the person and the cargo transportation were dynamically growing, and the currency yielding was outstandingly high.
In 1989, after the appearance of the Company Law it became evident that the role and power of the VVK does not any longer comply with the spirit of the age. The authority functions bestowed on it were contradicting to the total company independence. Preparation of the new, voluntary work organization not impairing the company independence at all took its beginning. This work was crowned by success: on 15th November, the managers of the companies signed the foundation deed of the VOLÁN Egyesülés /VOLÁN Professional Association/.
At the beginning of the '90's more and more crisis symptoms made the activities of the companies more difficult. The cross-financing became impossible, at many places the formerly profitable cargo forwarding turned into deficit, thus causing lack of resources for financing of the person transportation. Streamlining of the product range became necessary: the forwarding agents and other service units of the companies got transformed into independent corporations, a bigger part of them subjected to privatization later on. The VOLÁN coach transport companies - according to the act issued on the economic corporations - were transformed into incorporated companies. In 1995, the VOLÁN companies owned in majority by the state were shifted to the ÁPV Rt. /legal successor from 2008: MNV Zrt - Hungarian National Property Managemen/, a body exercising the owner's rights, whilst the vocational guidance remained further on at the KHVM /today: NFM - Ministry of National Development/. From that time two local corporations performing public mass transport were operated in joint property with the self governments (Pécs, Kaposvár).
Today VOLÁN Professional Association has 51 members.
The scheduled interurban and local mass transport is conducted by 33 companies. These companies transport more than 3,9 million passengers by 77 693 lines, daily. The interurban lines cover 3128 settlements. Two thirds of the population can reach their workplace, another settlement, a physician, etc., exclusively by Volán coaches. Scheduled local transport exists on 107 settlements. By the international coach lines passengers are transported to 13 countries.
The 8 units of the company group performing transportation of goods, forwarding and logistic services participate both in the domestic and international forwarding activities.
By the VOLÁN companies not mentioned so far various services are provided such as: informatics, financial and banking services, auditing, leasing activities, assets leasing, insurance, pension fund services, asset management, taxi transport, education, training, constuczion activity.
Of the companies belonging to the company group more and more comply with the requirements of the quality assurance resp. environment-oriented management systems. The activities of the VOLÁN companies are bound with many threads to the region. These all serve to enable high-standard services customary in the European Union.