Arriva plc
Type Public limited company
Industry Transport
Founded 1938 (Sunderland)
Headquarters Sunderland, United Kingdom
Key people Sir Richard Broadbent (Chairman)
David Martin (CEO)
Revenue £3,147.8 million (2009)[1]
Operating income £165.5 million (2009)[1]
Net income £119.2 million (2009)[1]
Owner(s) Deutsche Bahn
Employees circa 44,000 (2010)[2]

Arriva plc is a multinational public transport company owned by Deutsche Bahn and headquartered in Sunderland, United Kingdom. It has bus, coach, train, tram and waterbus operations in 12 countries across Europe, employs more than 47,500 people and services over 1.5 billion passenger journeys each year.[3] Arriva is the third-largest bus operator in the UK (behind First Group and Stagecoach) and is one of the 'Big Five' UK bus operators (together with First Group, Stagecoach, Go-Ahead and National Express).



An example of an Arriva bus

The company was founded by T.S. Cowie in Sunderland in 1938 as a second hand motorcycle dealer trading as T.Cowie Limited.[4] In 1948 the business was re-launched by Tom Cowie, the founder's son, still selling motorcycles.[5] It moved into motor retailing in the 1960s.[4] In 1972 it formed Cowie Contract Hire which became the largest contract hire business in the United Kingdom.[5] In 1980 it acquired the Grey Green Coach and Bus Company in London.[4] In 1984 it acquired the Hanger Group and, with it, Interleasing, a large vehicle leasing business.[5] Then in 1996 it bought British Bus Group, which had acquired a number of privatised bus companies.[4]

In 1997 the company was rebranded as Arriva plc.[4] Widely acknowledged as one of the most successful re-branding exercises of the decade, the Arriva identity was created in-house by its then director of communications Robert Blower. In that year it also bought Unibus in Denmark, its first venture outside the UK.[4] Around the year 2000 it also started to participate in the opportunities created by rail privatisation.[4] In 2003 it sold its motor retailing business[6] and in 2006 it sold its vehicle rental business to Northgate for £129m.[7]

In 2010 it was reported that the national railway companies of Germany (Deutsche Bahn) and France (SNCF) were considering submitting bids for the business.[8][9] SNCF subsidiary Keolis and Arriva entered discussions regarding a merger,[10][11] however on 19 April 2010 it was announced that Deutsche Bahn was to make an offer for Arriva at 775 pence a share (£1.5 billion),[12][13] the merger was approved by the European Commission in August 2010, subject to DB divesting some Arriva services in Germany. The merger became effective on 27 August 2010.[14]

Current operations

Czech Republic

Bus & Coach

In December 2006, Arriva entered the Czech Republic bus market with the acquisition of Transcentrum Bus s.r.o, a leading company operating bus services to the north of Prague.[15]

In January 2007, Arriva acquired Bosák Bus s.r.o, which operates to the south west of Prague, strengthening their position in the Czech Republic bus market.[15]

In November 2007, Arriva acquired OSNADO s.r.o., which operates bus and coach services to the north east of Prague.[15]

Arriva operates 250 buses, and employs 400 people in the Czech Republic.[15]


An Arriva train in Denmark.


In 1997 Arriva entered the Danish bus transport market, acquiring Unibus.[16] In 1999 Arriva Denmark expanded with the acquisition of Bus Danmark[16] In 2001 Arriva acquired Denmark's largest bus operator, Combus.[16] In 2004 it went on to buy Wulff which operates buses in Jutland and Copenhagen, thus becoming the biggest operator in Copenhagen, with a 40% market share.[16] In 2007 Arriva acquired Veolia Scandinavia, then Denmark's second largest bus operator.[16] In 2009 Arriva commenced operating a unique electric bus system in the centre of Copenhagen. Arriva currently holds approximately 50% market share in Copenhagen's bus services. This market share is mirrored throughout Denmark.[16]


Denmark's rail services were opened up to private operators in 2000, and in 2003 Arriva was the first private company to win passenger rail franchises, running services in mid and north Jutland on eight-year concessions.[16] In 2009 Arriva retained the franchise for a further eight years commencing 2010.[16] Arriva operates around 15% of the Danish rail network, and has attained record levels of customer satisfaction.[16]


Arriva operates three waterbuses in Copenhagen's harbour area.


Arriva Denmark operates 1,450 buses, 44 trainsets, 3 waterbuses, and employs 4,300 people.



Arriva acquires 80 per cent of Interbus Invest, the holding company of Eurobus Invest, Hungary's largest private bus operator which operates bus services in Hungary and Slovakia.


Bus & Coach

In 2002 Arriva acquired SAB Autoservizi and entered the Italian market, operating in the Lombardy, Liguria and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions of northern Italy.[17]

In 2004 Arriva expanded into the Udine area of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region with the acquisition of 60 per cent of SAF.

In 2005 Arriva began operating SADEM in the Piemonte and Valle d'Aosta regions of northern Italy, near Turin. They run public transport bus services as well as commercial, contract and private hire services.

In 2007 Arriva entered a joint venture with Ferrovie Nord Milano Group (FNM SpA) and completed the acquisition of 49 per cent of Italian bus operator SPT Linea.[17]

In 2008 they took control of SAIA Transporti.[17]




Together with local partners The Tumas Group, Arriva hold a ten year concession to operate all scheduled bus services on Malta and Gozo. Public services commenced on 3rd July 2011. The main fleet of Arriva Malta is formed of 172 brand new King Long buses built in China. These are supported on high density routes by a smaller fleet of Mercedes-Benz O530G Citaro bendy-buses formerly operated by Arriva London. A small fleet of ten hybrid Optare Solos has also been ordered, which are slowly entering service. Two Blue Bird mini-buses for use in the city of Valletta have also been delivered. All Arriva buses feature Euro V engines.

During its first months of operation, Arriva's Malta concession has been roundly criticized for inadequate service. Complaints include poor route planning,[18] insufficient numbers of buses,[19] overcrowding, [20] and failure to run on time.[21] Because of the poor service, the Ministry of Transport twice threatened Arriva with having the contract terminated, less than four months after the service began.[22]


See also Public transport in the Netherlands.

Bus & Coach

Arriva moved into the Dutch market in 1998 when it bought Vancom Nederland and Veonn & Hanze.[23] In 2002 it won tenders in Gelderland and in 2003 won further work in the City of Groningen, Province of Groningen and Drenthe. It won further contracts in 2005 in Drenthe and Waterland and later in the Drechtsteden, Alblasserwaard, Rivierenland, Meierij, Oost-Brabant, and Vijfheerenlanden (DAV) area.[24] In 2009, Arriva lost the contracts in Drenthe and Groningen but won the 2010 contract of the Achterhoek and rewon the contract of Rivierenland.

Name From Until
Vlieland 01-03-2009 31-12-2015
Terschelling 01-03-2009 31-12-2015
Ameland 01-03-2009 31-12-2015
Schiermonnikoog 01-03-2009 31-12-2015
Rivierenland 01-01-2003 11-12-2010
Waterland 11-12-2005 10-12-2011
Drechtsteden/Alblasserwaard/Vijfheerenlanden 01-01-2007 31-12-2018
Hoeksche Waard/Goeree-Overflakkee 01-01-2008 15-12-2014
Meierij 10-12-2006 09-12-2014
Oost-Brabant 10-12-2006 09-12-2014
Achterhoek/Rivierenland 12-12-2010 01-01-2021


An Arriva train in service in the Netherlands

Arriva established a joint venture with NS in 1999.[24] It took complete control of this business in 2003.[24] In 2005 it secured a contract to operate trains from Groningen to Leeuwarden, Delfzijl, Roodeschool and Nieuweschans. It also secured a contract to operate trains from Leeuwarden to Harlingen Haven and to Stavoren. Later that year it secured a contract to operate trains from Dordrecht to Gorinchem and on to Geldermalsen (Merwede-Lingelijn).[24] From 2012, Arriva operates the trains in the Achterhoek.

Passes and tickets issued under the National Tariff System are valid on Arriva trains.

Current contracts Future contracts
  • Merwede-Lingelijn: 01-01-2007 - 31-12-2018




Arriva train operating in Poland.

Arriva formed a joint venture with PCC Rail, called Arriva PCC Sp. z o.o. (means Ltd. in Polish), in December 2006.[25] In December 2007 Poland became the 10th country in which Arriva operates transport services. The company won a tender to serve passenger rail traffic on some non-electrified lines in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship.[26]


Bus & Coach

In 2000 Arriva entered the Portuguese bus market, acquiring Ami-Transportes and Abilo da Costa Moreira who were running inter-urban services in the north west of Portugal.[23]

In 2002 Arriva acquired Transportes Sul do Tejo, a scheduled bus and coach operator in the growing commuter region south of Lisbon, an area of some 600 square miles (1,600 km2). They also operate schools and works contracts here.[27]

In 2006, Arriva acquired a 21.5 percent share of leading transport company Barraqueiro, with bus and rail operations in and around Lisbon, increasing the stake by 10% in 2008.[27]





In 1999 Arriva entered the Spanish bus market in Galicia acquiring Mercancia Ideal Gallego and Transportes Finisterre.[23] Their services cover three of the four provinces in the region - A Coruña, Lugo and Ourense - including part of the famous Santiago pilgrimage route. They are now focusing on working with the metropolitan transport authorities to develop their operations in A Coruña and Ferrol.

In 2002 Arriva began bus service operations in Majorca.[28] Their Autocares Mallorca and Bus Nord operations cover the northern and western parts of the island, linking the capital Palma with towns such as Soller, Inca and Alcúdia.

In 2007 Arriva acquired Esfera, an operator in Madrid, providing school contracts and private hire bus services, and Autocares Fray Escoba, another local operator.[28]

In 2008 Arriva bought Empresa de Blas y Cia, another bus operator.,[28] which operates routes between Madrid and its southwestern suburbs (Alcorcón, Mostoles, Villaviciosa de Odon...), and between these very suburbs. Buses in these towns are called "Blasas" after the name of the company.



Arriva has operated bus lines in southern Sweden/The Skåne Region since 1997 when it acquired Unibus of Denmark.[29]

Arriva also operates in the city of Jönköping and surrounding areas

Arriva operates bus lines in some municipalities of Stockholms län: Sigtuna kommun, Upplands Väsby kommun and Ekerö kommun.[30]

Arriva will be operating in the Halland Region from 2010, partly taking over services from Swebus.[31]


In June 2007 Arriva won a nine-year franchise for the Pågatåg regional rail services in Skåne County, south Sweden.[26]

United Kingdom

Bus & Coach

An example of a bus from The Original Tour fleet.

Arriva's bus network in the UK originates from its acquisition of Grey-Green Buses in 1980 and the British Bus Group in 1996.[4] It has the following operating units:

Arriva bus tickets are sold on buses, at their ticket offices and also online. Arriva joined the Ice loyalty scheme in 2011 due to the environmental credentials and shared sustainability ethos of the two businesses.


An Arriva train in North Wales.

Arriva Trains Wales/Trenau Arriva Cymru operates the majority of passenger rail service in Wales and the Welsh Marches. It gained the franchise in 2003 and it is due to run for 15 years, subject to Welsh Assembly Government reviews every five years.[32] Arriva also operates CrossCountry which provides rail services on long distance cross country routes in England and Scotland from 11 November 2007 to April 2016. The concession was previously operated by Virgin CrossCountry.[33]

Following the purchase of Arriva by Deutsche Bahn, Arriva UK Trains was expanded to include DB's existing DB Regio UK division who operate Chiltern Railways, Tyne & Wear Metro and LOROL.

In November 2011 Arrriva bought open-access operator Grand Central Railway for an undisclosed price.[34]

Arriva Trains Merseyside ran urban rail services on Merseyside from 2000 to 2003 and Arriva Trains Northern ran local rail services in Northern England from 2000 to 2004.


Green Line airport branded coach in Finchley Road, London
The interurban livery, which is now the standard livery for UK buses outside London

In the main, for bus and rail operations, Arriva uses a uniform corporate livery. The livery features an aquamarine base colour (Pantone 321) with a Cotswold Stone coloured semicircle on the upper front section, outlined by a white stripe. A thin yellow stripe runs around the base of the vehicle, and the same yellow is used for any lettering on the vehicle, although some vehicles have lettering in the same light green as their logo.[citation needed]

Various route branding schemes see the liberal application of basic colours and wording to some routes, usually through the application of vinyl stickers.

Initially to comply with Transport for London's contract requirements, Arriva London adapted its livery by using red as the base colour, with extra red at the front to form "horns" instead of a full circle. Latterly, London vehicles have been painted all-over red, with almost no trace of the Arriva corporate livery.

Exceptions to standard livery include:

In late 2009, a decision was finally made in the United Kingdom to make the previously "interurban" livery the standard livery for buses there, after a long period of confusion, with both repaints and new deliveries going into both liveries. A repaint programme has now started for all buses in the fleet. Continental European buses continue to carry the previous colour scheme.

Former operations



In 2005 Arriva bought Sippel which operates buses in Frankfurt, Mainz and Wiesbaden.[35] It went to buy Verkehrsbetriebe Bils in 2006, which operates buses in Münster, Warendorf and Hamm and later in the year it acquired Neißeverkehr which operates buses in the Neiße region.[35]


As part of the takeover of Arriva by Deutsche Bahn, Arrivas's German railway operations were sold to Ferrovie dello Stato to avoid antitrust suits.

In 2004 Arriva acquired Prignitzer Eisenbahn GmbH (PEG), which operates several lines in east Germany around Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg, North-Rhine Westphalia and Pomerania.[35]

In 2004 it also bought Regentalbahn AG, sometimes known as the Länderbahn, with its subsidiary Vogtlandbahn, which operates regional rail services in southern Saxony, northern and southern Bavaria and eastern Thuringia, and a long distance service to Berlin.[35]

In April 2007 Arriva acquired an 86% stake in the Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen AG (OHE)[36][37]: a majority shareholder in the Metronom Eisenbahngesellschaft which operates regional train services on the Hamburg to Bremen, Hamburg to Hanover, Hamburg to Cuxhaven and Hanover to Göttingen lines.[35]

Senior management

role salary bonus total
Sir Richard Broadbent Non-executive chairman
David R. Martin[38] Chief executive officer £480,000 £375,360 £855,360
Steve P. Lonsdale[39] Group finance director £312,000 £239,300 £551,300

David Martin has been the chief executive officer of Arriva since 19 April 2006.

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ a b c Preliminary Results 2009
  2. ^ Arriva Home Page
  3. ^ "Sharing the Journey" (Press release). Arriva plc. 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Arriva History
  5. ^ a b c Sir Tom Cowie
  6. ^ EU move prompts Arriva to sell car dealerships
  7. ^ Arriva sells van unit
  8. ^ Ben Harrington (24 March 2010). "FTSE flat but Arriva perks up on talk French backing to bid". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 March 2010. 
  9. ^ Nick Fletcher (24 March 2010). "Arriva moves ahead on bid battle hopes". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 March 2010. 
  10. ^ Press releases: Statement re Keolis SA 5/3/2010 ,
  11. ^ Arriva In Merger Talks With Keolis 28/1/10 ,
  13. ^ "Deutsche Bahn buys Arriva for £1.5bn". Financial Times. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 22 April 2010. 
  14. ^ "Railway Gazette: EC approves DB’s takeover of Arriva". Retrieved 2010-08-19. 
  15. ^ a b c d Arriva Czech Republic
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i Arriva Denmark
  17. ^ a b c Arriva Italy
  18. ^ Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, "B'tal-linja jaqbillek," L'Orizzont, 2 September 2011, p. 12
  19. ^ Elizabeth Hair, "Bid to improve bus routes," Times of Malta, 7 October 2011
  20. ^ [[1]]
  21. ^ Sarah Cabott, "Student heckles Transport Minister over bus service," Times of Malta, 6 October 2011
  22. ^
  23. ^ a b c Arriva Timeline
  24. ^ a b c d Arriva Netherlands
  25. ^ "Freightliner prepares to compete in Poland". Railway Gazette International. March 2007. 
  26. ^ a b Rolf Andersson (October 2007). "Skåne springboard as Arriva expands". Railway Gazette International. 
  27. ^ a b Arriva Portugal
  28. ^ a b c Arriva Spain
  29. ^ Arriva Sweden
  30. ^ Plan för SLs upphandling av buss- och spårtrafik 2009-2012
  31. ^ Arriva vinner trafik i Halland
  32. ^ Train firm to get £1.6bn BBC News, 2003
  33. ^ Virgin loses Cross Country rail BBC News, 2007
  34. ^ "Arriva acquires open access operator Grand Central". Railway Gazette International. 4 November 2011. 
  35. ^ a b c d e Arriva Germany
  36. ^ The remaining 14% is held by Verkehrsbetriebe Bachstein GmbH, a regional transport company in Celle
  37. ^ Arriva PLC: Acquisition Released :17/01/2007
  38. ^ "David R. Martin: Executive Profile & Biography". BusinessWeek. McGraw-Hill. Retrieved 18 September 2009. 
  39. ^ "Steve P. Lonsdale: Executive Profile & Biography". BusinessWeek. McGraw-Hill. Retrieved 18 September 2009. 

External links

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