The history of Grindewald Bus

In 1955, the company Gebrüder Balmer, Transporte, Grindelwald was officially founded with the purchase of an HGV.

In January 1959, Gebrüder Balmer, Transporte applied for a license for a scheduled post bus service on the Grindelwald-train station-Itramen Habsucht route during the summer months. On April 7 1959, a provisional license was granted to operate 4 buses a day with a VW mini-bus from
June 15 to September 30.

Since 1966, the Itramen route has been served all year round, the State and Canton guaranteeing to finance any deficit.

In 1959, improvements were made to the access road to Grosse Scheidegg and Bussalp.

In 1960, the service operated by Ad. Lauener, Taxi from the train station to the Upper Glacier since 1947 was taken over during the summer months.The idea of operating a bus on the Alpine roads in order to offer both guests and locals a better service became all the more important.

On February 22, 1962 an application to extend the scheduled route from the Upper Glacier to Unteres Lauchbühl on the new gravel road was handed in to the Federal Department for Transport and Energy. The partially controversial authorisation of the extension to the license lasted two whole years.

In summer 1964, the buses went as far as Unteres Lauchbühl upon agreement on the level of taxes to be paid for use of the road. 10% of the normal fare was paid to the Council and 5% to the Alpine borough. In addition, special fares were negotiated for local farmers.

After the road was extended to Grosse Scheidegg in 1966, the application was made to extend the bus route to the pass on the Grosse Scheidegg. After crossing many hurdles a license was granted in April 1968.

Early 1968, the scheduled bus service from Grindelwald to Grosse Scheidegg was opened with 4 buses a day operated by two 26-seat buses (old Post vehicles with Common Rail Diesel engine).

In 1969, the Terrassenweg route was opened in summer and in 1973, operated throughout the year. In the same year the company carried out the first milk transport.

In 1972, we took over Albert Bohren, Transporte?s license for the summer scheduled service from the train station to Glacier Gorge.

In 1973, we opened the Bussalp service in summer and in 1975, also in winter. The general opinion was that a winter service to Bussalp was impossible. A powerful snowblower had to be acquired, as well as a Meili snowplough and road marker poles. The Council gave us entire responsibility for keeping the road open, which required special liability insurance conditions being negotiated. We had to cover half the costs of clearing the road to Bussalp, approximately CHF 17,000 per winter at that time.

In 1975, the Scheidegg scheduled service to Schwarzwaldalp was extended as far as the council border, 600 metres short of the Schwarzwaldalp Restaurant.

Likewise in 1975, the public limited company Autoverkehr Grindelwald, Gebrüder Balmer AG was founded.

In the winter of 1976/77, a ski bus was first operated on the Church-Tuftbach route as a pilot project. This was followed, in 1978/79, by the Church-Männlichen cableway route.

After a series of negotiations with land owners in Schwarzwaldalp, a solution was finally found and the missing link between the council border and the Schwarzwaldalp Restaurant was constructed at our cost, 700 cubic metres of gravel being delivered and levelled by hand.
In 1979, a scheduled service from Grindelwald-Grosse Scheidegg-Schwarzwaldalp was finally opened.

1980 saw construction of the workshop in Grindelwald.

In 1984, official opening of the Grindelwald Ski Bus service.

In 1991, sale of the builders? merchant, heating oil, and transportation operating branches to Hans Balmer. From this point the new company name was Autoverkehr Grindelwald AG.

In 1992, construction of the depot for milk collection vehicles in Geissgasse, Interlaken.

In 1995, extension of the Grindelwald depot in keeping with the increasing scale of operations.

In 1996, the Grindelwald to Waldspitz route was opened, providing considerably improved access to the First ? Bachalpsee ? Bussalp walking area.

In 1999, our take-over of the post bus company in Meiringen represented further considerable expansion to serve the Grimsel, Nufenen, Gotthard and Susten passes, as well as the tourist routes to Engstlenalp and Rosenlauital and the local route to Gadmen and Guttannen.

In 2000, construction of new office building and depot in Grindelwald.

In 2004, acquisition of the brand name Oberland Tours from Auto AG Interlaken which opened for us a new company location in Interlaken. This extension also facilitated opening of the Bus Service Centre in Interlaken.

In 2004, take-over of the local bus route in Meiringen, Geissholz and Unterbach also now being served.

In 2006, opening of the test facility for cars and buses in the Bus Service Centre Interlaken.

In 2007, sale of the milk distribution business including the depot in Geissgasse to the company Rolli in Gasel.