DATTCO— New England’s Famous Red Bus, PLUS!
DATTCO, a transportation staple in the New England region may be best known for their iconic red buses, but the family-owned company, which dates back to the 1920s, operates divergent business lines in the motorcoach, school bus and sales and service businesses. Now owned and operated by second and third generations, DATTCO continues to grow and broaden its footprint in both the Northeast region and nationwide.
By Beth Stanley
In 1949, brothers Louis and Edward DeVivo, along with cousin Mike Tolomea, ran a local school bus transportation service they called D & T Transportation. Starting with just one bus, Louis and Edward grew the business by transporting generations of families safely and dependably to schools throughout the State of Connecticut. Today the company serves more than 27 school districts throughout Connecticut, transporting over 100,000 students daily during the school term. The company’s proven safety record, quality drivers, as well as student safety programs have established a strong reputation for safety and reliability throughout the region.
While the company’s core business relied on small school bus contracts in the early days, they expanded in 1962 when they purchased MASTCO, a local transit and charter service. Two years later, they took advantage of a great opportunity by providing shuttle service to and from the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City. The service proved to be a springboard for entry and expansion into the tour and charter segment and today the company operates one of the most diverse fleets in the Northeast market. As the company grew, the name was changed to the acronym DATTCO (DeVivo and Tolomea Transportation Company).
With a robust offering of full-service ground transportation options, DATTCO can now accommodate virtually any customer with fleet options that include everything from town car service and SUVs to cutaway shuttle buses for smaller groups, to 35 and 40 foot midsize buses, 52 to 56 passenger luxury motorcoaches and double-decker buses with seating for up to 81 riders.
A new trend in luxury
DATTCO operates a premium and updated fleet with over 80 percent of equipment five years old or newer.
The fleet is heavily weighted with Van Hool models and DATTCO has recently taken delivery on their 100th Van Hool coach from ABC Companies, Van Hool’s exclusive North American distributor.
Like DATTCO, ABC is a family-owned business and DATTCO President Don DeVivo cites their cultural similarities as a key component in the long-term relationship.
“We share common values with both ABC and Van Hool,” he says. “We are all family-owned, and we pride ourselves on offering a great product and standing behind that product in terms of customer service and satisfaction.”
DeVivo says ABC has grown with them and credits ABC with helping DATTCO to continue to forge a market leadership position by innovating products to meet his customers’ changing demands. DATTCO’s latest Van Hool equipment acquisition is a prime example of that innovation and DeVivo’s vision of an evolving luxury market. The new Van Hool TX45 coach has been customized to feature less seating (52 passengers) in order to provide more legroom and the addition of mid-ship doors for fast and easy passenger access. A relocated restroom, eliminates the bench seat and opens up the back of the bus, offering passengers a 360-degree view (front, back and side windows), effectively transforming the rear area into one of the most desirable seating locations onboard.
As the official Megabus franchisee in the Northeast region, DATTCO utilizes the Van Hool TD925 double-decker bus to serve customers. With routes operating between Boston and New York City, the service covers 15 cities throughout the region. Now in their tenth year with Megabus, DATTCO continues to enjoy a great partnership with the country’s leading city-to-city express service operator with future plans focused on maintaining and improving their existing Megabus routes.
DATTCO Sales and Service
1990 ushered in DATTCO’s Sales and Service Division. Born from a need and desire for personalized service not readily available from a dealer, DATTCO formed the sales and service division.
With seven full service facilities throughout New England and two collision repair locations, the division offers comprehensive vehicle sales and service of school bus and commercial buses and includes fleet repair service, collision repair, preventative maintenance and onsite vehicle repairs.
Additionally, DATTCO Sales and Service also stocks heavy-duty truck parts and operates Thermo King Northeast – a vehicle and transport refrigeration provider for trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles.
Superior staff is key to success
Of course all of this success and growth is unimaginable without the management staff and dedicated employees of DATTCO, according to DeVivo. The company employs over 2,200 people from locations throughout the Northeast and around the country.
“With our employees spread far and wide, I don’t get the opportunity to see everyone daily,” DeVivo says. “Their talents, respect for one another and ability to build strong relationships with their customers is what I believe makes DATTCO a great market leader, and I am grateful for their commitment every day.”
DATTCO’s core business values of respect, communication and nurturing relationships resonates deeply with Special Projects Manager Kyle DeVivo and the new generation of leadership coming online.
“As the third generation in this business, I’ve learned from an early age that everyone at DATTCO is family,” he says. “I’ve watched my dad and grandfather go to great lengths to make employees and customers always feel important and welcome, and I believe that our company
culture is what makes DATTCO unique.”
And investing in their corporate culture has paid off for DATTCO in terms of staff loyalty and tenure.
The company’s executive management team includes industry veterans that bring deep expertise across many business disciplines with some staff members holding positions for up to 35 years. Across the board from drivers and dispatchers, to customer service specialists, mechanics and managers, DATTCO is diligent in their efforts to attract, train and develop the finest transportation professionals in the country.
“Our people like working here and we invest in their success,” Don DeVivo says. “Customer feedback about our staff is consistently good.”
In many cases, customers will request a specific driver and DATTCO dispatchers are trained to give them what they want. Even after they’ve retired, some DATTCO employees have returned to their old positions and even tried new ventures within the company.
A voice in the industry
Community and industry involvement is also an important part of the DATTCO business strategy. With current and former board positions on numerous local and national boards and committees, Don DeVivo and his staff serve as an integral voice and force within the industry. Some of DATTCO’s industry participation and affiliations include the International Motorcoach Group (IMG) and American Bus Association (ABA) – where DeVivo currently serves as vice chair of the ABA. The DATTCO team is very involved with the Massachusetts, New England and Connecticut Bus Associations. On the school bus side, DATTCO participates in the Connecticut School Transportation Association, the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, Connecticut Association of School Business Officials and the Motor Transport Association to name just a few. In addition, the DATTCO staff is very involved in the local community serving on numerous civic and charitable boards thoughout southern New England.
Capitalizing on the future
Don DeVivo is confident about the future of motorcoach travel and DATTCO’s ability to capitalize on new opportunities. He cites the generational shift in demographics as an important factor that is and will continue to impact how the public travels. He forecasts favorable demand for group transportation and eagerly embraces the prospects of DATTCO’s role in filling that demand. As the firm continues to provide their signature high level of service across the Northeast, they also hope to expand DATTCO’s horizons throughout the region and beyond. Key to that growth will be improving efficiencies and processes that can be successfully replicated as part of expansion and growth, maintaining their high safety standard and, most importantly, securing the best-possible transportation specialists for the DATTCO team.