Niš-ekspres was officially founded on March 3,1951, and registered as the passenger transport company.
Niš-ekspres trams used for passenger service to Niška Banja from 1951 to 1958 were withdrawn from the streets of Niš. In 1958, the company renewed its fleet with 30 new buses. Some of these buses carried passengers across former Yugoslavia for years.
On January 23,1971, Niš-ekspres moved to a new location. The new modern business complex worth about 25 million Yugoslav dinars included a new administrative building, workshops, a parking lot, a canteen, an ambulance, a fuel station and recreation facilities for the employees.
Some urbanists believed that the new location was too close to the city center and that it would have great impact on the environment, especially having in mind the fact that the apartment block projects for the neighbouring area had already existed.
On April 24,1977, in the presence of numerous guests and city officials, including Mr Vladimir Petković, the Mayor, the new bus station was opened. Niš-ekspres invested more than 400 million Yugoslav dinars in the project realized by the Prokuplje Projekt team of architects and engineers and Građevinar, Niš.
The fact that it was located near the Fortress of Niš, one of the most important archeological sites in Niš, determined the design of the main building and surrounding facilities – the whole construction could be moved to a new location if necessary.
Niš-ekspres Bus Station was unique for its functionality and modern equipment. It was the first closed-type bus station in former Yugoslavia and the second object of the type with turnstile entrance in Europe, only after the Paris Airport. For the first time in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a bus station had terminals with lighting and audio announcement system. Providing comfort to our passengers was one of our primary concerns. The station facilities included a shop, a restaurant,a left luggage office. Mr Aleksandar Avramovic, Niš-ekspres General manager at the time, insisted on lifting the floor of the ticket counter building, so that passengers would not have to lean forward when purchasing tickets.
In 1996, Niš-ekspres management decided to invest DEM 15 million in the production of fifteen new buses. This decision marked the beginning of NIBUS product line. The first vehicle manufactured in Niš-ekspres workshops was NIBUS 350. It was released in August 1996.
To our great satisfaction, the representatives of MAN, one of the leading German bus manufacturers, had no serious objections after having examined the prototype of NIBUS 350.
Our engineers have been continually developing the NIBUS product line and today, several types of buses and coaches are manufactured in Niš-ekspres: articulated city bus NIBUS 100, city bus NIBUS 200, local service bus NIBUS 300, and tourist coach NIBUS 400.
On May 1,1999, around 1 pm, NATO missiles hit Niš-ekspres coach operating on a regular service Niš – Podujevo - Priština. The vehicle was cut in two by the strike. Eyewitnesses said that massacred and charred bodies had been strewn along the bridge and around. It was estimated that around seventy people died in the attack, some of them women and children. Niš-ekspres driver Vukadin Jelić was one of the victims.
Thirty minutes later, an ambulance sent to help the injured was hit in a second NATO strike. NATO officials stated that it was”an accident that happened in the attempt to prevent sending supplies to Serbian military and police forces in Kosovo”
In 1999, Niš-ekspres was probably the only passenger transport company that provided regular service to Kosovo. For the people who lived there, that was the only connection with the rest of Serbia.
The exact number of victims has never been defined.
On May 12,1999, St. Basil of Ostrog day, Niš municipality Duvanište was struck with cluster bombs. Fortunately, there were no injured or dead, despite the fact that the attack happened around 3 pm, when most people went home from work.
Niš-ekspres took some precautionary measures to protect its fleet during the 1999 war. Parking some of the buses outside the garage was one of the measures. Unfortunately this was not enough. Fifteen Niš-ekspres articulated buses parked along Sreten Mladenović Boulevard (today Byzantine Boulevard) were completely destroyed in this attack.
In 1999, and later, after the international peace forces had taken control over Kosovo, Niš-ekspres was probably the only passenger transport company that provided regular service from Belgrade to Priština.
The final destinations of Niš-ekspres coaches were the Serbian enclaves in Kosovo.
On February 16, 2001, the convoy of seven Niš-ekspres coaches escorted by KFOR forces was on the way to Gračanica and Štrpce. After the convoy had crossed the administrative border, at around 11.15 am, in Livadice near Podujevo, the bomb exploded hitting the first of five coaches in the convoy. In the explosion, 12 people were killed and 43 injured. Two Niš-ekspres drivers died: Milenko Kragović and Nenad Stojanović.
Zoran Jovanović and Gradimir Krstić, Niš-ekspres drivers, witnessed the scene from the last coach in the convoy:”The scene was horrifying...The coach in front of us turned into a fire mushroom...Parts of human bodies and parts of the vehicle were mixed in the air...”
The investigation proved that the powerful explosives which were placed in a sewage pipe under the road were activated from a house 600 metres from the road.
After his initial arrest, the prime suspect, Kosovo Albanian Florim Ejupi, managed to escape from the military prison in the U.S. Camp Bondsteel near Uroševac. He was arrested again in Tirana in June 2004, and was later handed over to the UNMIK police in Kosovo.
The new social and economic environment, rapid market development and growing competition required prompt responses and adjustments. In 2003, Niš-ekspres management initiated the process of privatisation in order to improve efficiency, increase profit and create a better working environment . The initiative was approved by the company’s employees.
Aware of the necessity to adapt to the new business environment and believing that they knew what would be the best choice for their company, the employees formed a consortium in order to participate in the public tender for the sale of socially owned capital in Niš-ekspres. Mr Zoran Jovanović, General Manager of the company, was appointed the representing member of the consortium.
Thanks to € 140,000 donation from DIN Philip Morris, the first articulated city bus NIBUS 100 was produced in Niš-ekspres workshops. NIBUS100 was released in July 2006. The new vehicle was presented at the ceremony attended by numerous project partners and business partners, including Mr Eugenio Sidoli, General Manager of PMI Niš.
In December 2006, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications and the economic daily “Privredni pregled” presented Niš - ekspres with the Best of Serbia Award for introducing a new product – NIBUS 400, a tourist coach produced in Niš-ekspres workshops. The decision to award our company was based on the fact that NIBUS 400 was the only coach manufactured in Serbia with internationally recognised Vehicle Type Approval ( the confirmation that the vehicle as a whole, vehicle systems and separate components, met specified performance standards. It guaranteed the level of safety and restricted environmental influence of a vehicle). Another important fact that influenced the decision to award Niš-ekspres was that NIBUS 400 had a TEMPO 100 permit, the permit for a coach to travel at 100 km/h on European motorways.
The unstable economic and business environment and numerous factory closures resulted in the decline of the number of passengers using urban transport in Niš. In July 2006, the local authorities introduced new urban transport companies. Due to these circumstances, Niš-ekspres management decided that articulated buses were no longer the best solution for urban transport in Niš. In November 2007, ten new three axle buses intended for urban and suburban transport were released from Niš-ekspres workshops. This was a step in the fleet renewal plan realisation, and at the same time the answer to the changing market demands.
The first NIBUS 400 was sold to Bečej prevoz, a passenger transport company from Bečej.
In the second half of 2007, Niš-ekspres started the production of the first low floor bus- NIBUS 150.16, designed by Niš-ekspres engineers. Its first test drive was in December 2007.
What made NIBUS 150.16 different from other buses in Niš-ekspres fleet were the following characteristics: its floor was 30cm from the ground; it had the extended ramp for people with mobility impairments; electronic control system made the operation of the vehicle easier; passenger seat heating system made the ride more comfortable.
From 1996 to 2007, Niš-ekspres released several types of buses and coaches: tourist coaches intended for intercity and international passenger transport, solo and atriculated high floor buses for urban transport.The low floor bus completed the NIBUS product line.
On its October 17 session, the Tender Commission accepted the decision of the Negotiation Commission and approved signing of the agreement on the sale of seventy per cent of Niš-ekspres socially-owned capital with the only bidder, the Consortium of Niš-ekspres employees.
The session was attended by the President of the Tender Commission Mr Luka Andrić ( Adviser to the Prime Minister), Deputy President of the Tender Commission Mrs Slađana Kocić (Niš-ekspres Representative), Members of the Tender Commission: Mr Goran Batić (Adviser in the Ministry of Economy and Regional Development), Mr Dejan Blagojević (Local Self Government Representative) and Mrs Vera Milojević (Niš-ekspres Workers Union Representative).
This decision marked the end of the privatisation process started in 2003. Further investment in the improvement of the vehicle fleet, production line and vehicle maintenance in order to provide better service to our customers and material welfare to the employees remained Niš-ekspres management’s primary goal.
On November 17, A Consortium between Niš-ekspres employees and Serbian private company Delta Real Estate, a part of Delta Holding Company, became the owner of Niš-ekspres. Niš-Ekspres was sold for € 3.27 million. The Consortium accepted the welfare program and pledged to invest € 4.6 million in further modernisation of the company.
A Supreme Court panel of five judges, three Eulex and two local judges, ordered the release of Florim Ejupi. He had been accused of blowing up Niš-ekspres bus, killing twelve and injuring thirty people in February 16, 2011. He was acquitted of all charges and released for a lack of evidence.
On July 27, in the presence of Mr Aleksandar Stefanović, the Manager of the Centre for Engines and Motor Vehicles at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Mrs Snežana Ličanin, Niš-ekspres Bus Manufacture and Service Department Manager, Niš-ekspres promoted its new product – MIDIBUS N95.01.The nine meter long coach with thirty seats was the first Niš-ekspres vehicle with automatic transmission system and EURO 4 engine produced in the USA. The most important fact about MIDIBUS N95.01 was that it met the highest standards in terms of safety and environmental protection.
On July, 30, Niš-ekspres Driving School celebrated its 18th anniversary. On this occasion, the oldest and the youngest candidate received special gifts, and our delicious birthday cake was served to all our guests. Niš-ekspres Driving School started in1991, with three Yugo passenger vehicles, one truck and one bus. Only three instructors were in charge of the training process.
In 2009, the school was a modern training center with high quality vehicle fleet. Eleven professional and reliable instructors ensured the highest quality training to our clients.
During this period, 7.752 candidates obtained driving licences (67 for A category; 3,582 for B category; 1,141 for C category and 1,121 for D category) and 592 candidates passed the theory test.
In April 2010, at the Belgrade exhibition of commercial vehicles Beotruck, Niš-ekspres was awarded for the best domestic bus - MIDIBUS 95.02. The award was presented to our representative by Mr Dušan Jugović, Manager of daily magazine Pregled, media sponsor of the exhibition. Mr Zoran Lupšić, Beotruck Event Manager, said that awarding Niš-ekspres confirmed the aim of the exibition - to promote and support domestic industry. Ms Nataša Dorđević stated, on behalf of Delta Generali, general sponsor of the exhibition, that by developing its own bus and coach production, Niš-ekspres confirmed its reputation of a responsible Serbian company with creative management ready to face the growing economic challenges by investing in further development and engaging the company's human and technical resources.
The production of MIDIBUS started in April, 2009. In 2009, Niš-ekspres produced 20 MIDIBUS vehicles.
In December 2010, the Regional Chamber of Crafts and the Balkan Small Business Association presented a special award to Mr Zoran Jovanović, Niš-ekspres General Manager. As stated at the ceremony: “Our decision to present the special award to Mr Jovanovic is based on the results of his work. Mr Jovanović is awarded for keeping one of the leading Serbian companies stable and its employees safe in times when Serbian economy is faced with global economic crisis.
The company's primary activity is urban, intercity and international passenger transport. Niš-ekspres was founded more than half a century ago, or, to be more precise, in 1951. They started with ten old trams and seven buses, and today Niš ekspres is the leading company in this part of Serbia, with the impressive vehicle fleet and 2,200 employees. Next year, the company will celebrate its 60th anniversary.”
On March 3, 2011, Niš-ekspres celebrated its 60th anniversary.
Niš-ekspres was founded in 1951. We started as the passenger transport company with 10 old trams and seven used buses. Niš-ekspres management’s business policy based on the employment of the company's own human and material resources, provided not only the survival of the company, but its continual development as well.
In 1996, Niš-ekspres started its NIBUS product line. Fifteen years later, most of the vehicles in our fleet were the vehicles manufactured in our workshops. Niš-ekspres fleet of red buses became a synonym for reliability and safety in passenger transport.
Sixty years' experience turned Niš-ekspres into a stable company providing material and social stability for its 2,200 employees and their families.
In 2013 and 2014, Niš-ekspres renewed its fleet with 37 mini buses (14 NIBUS buses, manufactured in Niš-ekspres workshops and 23 Volkswagen, Mercedes and Feniks buses) intended for local passenger transport in Nišava, Toplica, Pirot and Timok District. In the last few years there has been a rapid decline in the number of passengers in local transport. Replacing fifty seat buses for thirty five seat mini buses was the response to the changing market demands.The new vehicles provided more comfort for our clients and better organisation possibilities for the company. At the same time, Niš-ekspres created the conditions for keeping bus service to the remote and least developed parts of South Serbia.
In 2014, Niš-ekspres bought 17 new MAN, Mercedes and Setra buses intended for urban and suburban passenger transport.
These new and comfortable low floor buses, with 70-130 passenger capacity are equipped with air conditioning and extended ramps for passengers with mobility impairments. They all have Euro 3 engines and comply with high standards concerning exhaust and noise emission. All the vehicles have been approved by the Road Traffic Safety Agency of the Republic of Serbia.
Our passengers have had very positive opinions about the new modern and comfortable buses.