Arriva PLC is a British multinational public transport company headquartered in Sunderland, England and owned by Deutsche Bahn. It was established in 1938 as T Cowie Ltd. and through a number of mergers and acquisitions was rebranded Arriva in 1997 and became a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn in 2010. Arriva operates bus, coach, train, tram and waterbus services in 14 countries across Europe. As of September 2018, it employed 61,845 people and operated 2.4 billion passenger journeys annually. It operates as three divisions: UK Bus, UK Rail and Mainland Europe. Deutsche Bahn announced in 2019 they wished to sell Arriva, but the sale was placed on hold as of November in that year.
|Mike Cooper (CEO)|
|Services||Bus, ferry & rail services|
|Revenue||€5.35 billion (December 2017)|
|€569 million (December 2017)|
Number of employees
|61,845 (September 2018)|
|Divisions||Arriva UK Bus|
Arriva UK Trains
|Subsidiaries||List of Subsidiaries|
The company was founded by T. S. K. Cowie in Sunderland in 1938 as a second-hand motorcycle dealer trading as T. Cowie Limited. In 1948 the business was re-launched by Tom Cowie, the founder's son, still selling motorcycles. T Cowie plc was floated in December 1964, and in 1965 it bought out the first of many car dealerships.
In 1972 it formed Cowie Contract Hire, which became the largest contract hire business in the UK. In 1980 T. Cowie made its first foray into bus operations, buying the Grey-Green operation in London from the George Ewer Group.
In 1984 T. Cowie p.l.c. acquired the Hanger Group, which included Interleasing, a large vehicle leasing business. Further leasing companies acquired were Marley Leasing, RoyScot Drive and Ringway Leasing. Following the retirement of Tom Cowie, the company was renamed Cowie Group plc in April 1994.
Cowie p.l.c. bought United Automobile Services and British Bus in July and August 1996, both of which had acquired a number of privatised bus companies. As a result of these transactions, in October 1996 Cowie Group was reclassified on the stock exchange from a motor dealer to a transport group.
In June 1999 Arriva sold its vehicle-hire business to General Motors. In February 2000 Arriva purchased MTL Holdings, which included its first UK rail franchises, Merseyrail Electrics and Northern Spirit. In 2002/03 Arriva sold its motor-retailing businesses and in February 2006 it sold its vehicle-rental business to Northgate. In April 2008 the LNWR train maintenance business in England was acquired.
In 2010 it was reported that the government-owned railway companies of France (SNCF) and Germany (Deutsche Bahn) were considering making takeover bids for the business. SNCF subsidiary Keolis and Arriva entered discussions regarding a merger, but in April 2010 Deutsche Bahn made a takeover offer for Arriva at £7.75 a share (£1.585 billion). The takeover was approved by the European Commission in August 2010, conditional on Deutsche Bahn disposing of some Arriva services in Germany. The takeover took effect on 27 August 2010, and Arriva was delisted from the London Stock Exchange on 31 August 2010.
In late 2011 Arriva acquired Grand Central and sold its Arriva Scotland West bus operation. In May 2013 Arriva purchased Veolia Transport's Central European business with 3,400 vehicles.
Arriva changed its logo in January 2018.
In March 2019, DB announced that it would be selling Arriva through either a sale or possible public flotation and invited companies interested in acquiring it to register expressions of interest by 3 May, but by mid-November the sale was placed on hold.
In May 2013 Arriva entered the Croatian bus market with the purchase of Panturist Veolia Osijek (Veolia Transport Central Europe) with 120 buses. In August 2017 Arriva took a 78.34% share in Autotrans Group (ATG), thus becoming the number one private bus operator in Croatia 
Arriva group bought three medium-sized bus transport companies (Transcentrum Bus s.r.o., Bosák Bus s.r.o. and Osnado s.r.o.) in 2006 and 2007 end established its own rail transport company Arriva vlaky s.r.o. in 2009. These four companies are owned through Arriva holding Česká republika s.r.o. which is owned by the Dutch company Arriva Coöperatie W.A. (majority of 99.9% since 2008).
In July 2013, the current Veolia Transport Česká republika a.s. with its four subsidiary companies fell under Arriva group as Arriva Transport Česká republika a.s. The daughter companies were simultaneously renamed and rebranded as Arriva Praha s.r.o., Arriva Teplice s.r.o., Arriva Vychodni Cechy a.s. and Arriva Morava a.s. They operate primarily buses (it is the biggest bus transport operator in the Czech Republic) but also trolleybuses in Teplice (Arriva Teplice) and Desná Railway (Arriva Morava).
The two Arriva holdings in the Czech Republic have not any direct interconnection yet. Moreover, the Arriva group operated in the Czech Republic also through the German rail transport company Vogtlandbahn GmbH.
Former Abellio's companies Probo Bus and PT Real, purchased in December 2013, are owned by DB Czech Holding s.r.o. which is owned by German DB Mobility Logistics AG.
Bus and coachEdit
In December 2006 Arriva purchased Transcentrum Bus, operating services in Mladá Boleslav District of the Central Bohemian Region, north east of Prague. In January 2007 Arriva acquired Bosák Bus, which operates to the south west of Prague and the Příbram District of the Central Bohemian Region. In November 2007 Arriva acquired Osnado, which operates bus and coach services in the north of Hradec Králové Region in East Bohemia, in the foothills of Krkonoše mountains. The three bus companies retain their original names but with the Arriva corporate logo and livery. At the turn of 2014/2015, Bosák Bus s.r.o. was merged with Transcentrum Bus s.r.o. and Transcentrum Bus s.r.o. renamed to Arriva Střední Čechy s.r.o.
In July 2013 [Veolia Transport] Česká republika a.s. was purchased with its four subsidiary companies which were renamed Arriva Morava, Arriva Praha, Arriva Teplice and Arriva Východní Čechy. These four companies are owned by holding company Arriva Transport Česká republika. It also operates trolleybuses in Teplice (Arriva Teplice) and trains in Desná Railway (Arriva Morava).
German rail transport company Vogtlandbahn, owned by Arriva since 2004, operated several train routes in the Czech Republic as a subcontractor of České dráhy (München – Regensburg – Hof – Plzeň – Praha, line VB2 Zwickau – Plauen – Bad Brambach – Františkovy Lázně – Cheb – Mariánské Lázně, line VB8 Marktredwitz – Schirnding – Cheb) and GW Train Regio, formerly Viamont (line VB1 Zwickau – Klingenthal – Kraslice – Sokolov). Since December 2010, Vogtlandbahn operates under its own name the line Trilex (Liberec – Zittau – Varnsdorf – Rybniště/Seifhennersdorf). After Arriva was bought by Deutsche Bahn in 2010, Vogtlandbahn was resold to the Italian state railways Ferrovie dello Stato together with Luxembourg infrastructure fund Cube.
Between September 2013 and December 2013, Arriva vlaky tried operating a commercial service from Praha Masarykovo nádraží to Kralupy nad Vltavou in competition with subsidised lines of České dráhy. The company did not succeed with its effort to gain a subsidy for it to continue.
Four trains on the local Desná Railway, operated by Connex Morava (lately Veolia Transport Morava) since 2002, were taken over by Arriva Morava in July 2013. In March 2016, Arriva introduced a weekly service from Praha to Trenčín in Slovakia and daily service from Praha to Benešov. It has applied to increase this to twice daily from December 2016.
In September 1997 Arriva purchased Unibus. In March 1999 Arriva Denmark expanded with the acquisition of Bus Danmark In April 2001 Arriva acquired Denmark's largest bus operator, Combus with 1,200 vehicles. In August 2004 Arriva purchased Wulff, which operated buses in Jutland and Copenhagen. In 2007 Arriva acquired Veolia Denmark, then Denmark's second largest bus operator with 640 buses. Arriva operates 50% of bus services in Copenhagen and 40% throughout Denmark.
In 2003 Arriva began operating an eight-year contract to operate services in mid Jutland. In March 2009 Arriva was awarded a new franchise until December 2018. Arriva operates 17% of the Danish rail network.
In 2000 Arriva began operating waterbuses in Copenhagen's harbour.
In April 2008 Arriva purchased an 80% shareholding in Eurobus Invest, Hungary's largest private bus operator, which operates services in Hungary and Slovakia. In 2009 Arriva purchased the remaining 20%. Arriva is in a joint venture with Videoton Holding operating as VT Transman.
In May 2013 VT Transman began operating two bus contracts in Budapest for eight years. This will see 150 Mercedes-Benz Citaros added to the 225 bus fleet. The joint venture now operates under the VT-Arriva brand.
Bus and coachEdit
In May 2004 Arriva expanded into the Udine area of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, buying 49% of 500 bus SAF, exercising an option in December 2005 to increase its stake to 60%. In October 2005 Arriva began operating in the Piemonte and Valle d'Aosta regions of northern Italy with an 80% shareholding in SADEM, increased to 100% in 2008. In 2006 Arriva purchased a 35% share in Trieste Trasporti, increased in 2007 to 40%.
Bus and coachEdit
In 2003 it won further work in Drenthe and Province of Groningen. It won further contracts in 2005 in Drenthe and Waterland and later in the Drechtsteden, Alblasserwaard, Rivierenland, Meierij, Oost-Brabant, and Vijfheerenlanden areas. In 2009 Arriva lost the contracts in Drenthe and Groningen upon retendering but in 2010 won a contract in Achterhoek and retained the Rivierenland contract. From December 2012 Arriva won the contract for South Holland North, around Leiden, Alphen aan den Rijn and Gouda and in Friesland around Leeuwarden.
|Rivierenland||1 Jan 3||11 Dec 10|
|Waterland||11 Dec 5||10 Dec 11|
|Drechtsteden/Alblasserwaard/Vijfheerenlanden||1 Jan 7||31 Dec 18|
|Hoeksche Waard/Goeree-Overflakkee||1 Jan 8||15 Dec 14|
|Meierij||10 Dec 6||9 Dec 14|
|Oost-Brabant||10 Dec 6||9 Dec 14|
|Ameland||1 Mar 9||31 Dec 15|
|Schiermonnikoog||1 Mar 9||31 Dec 15|
|Terschelling||1 Mar 9||31 Dec 15|
|Vlieland||1 Mar 9||31 Dec 15|
|Achterhoek/Rivierenland||12 Dec 10||1 Jan 21|
|Lelystad/Flevoland||4 Sep 11||4 Sep 21|
|North and Southwest Friesland||9 Dec 12||12 Dec 20|
|South Holland Noord||9 Dec 12||12 Dec 20|
|Limburg||11 Dec 16||12 Dec 31|
Arriva established the joint venture NoordNed with Nederlandse Spoorwegen in 1999, taking 100% ownership in 2003, and dropping the name NoordNed two years later. In 2005 it secured a 15-year 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 (MerwedeLingelijn). In 2012 Arriva commenced operating trains in the Achterhoek and between Zwolle and Emmen. These services operate under the Spurt brand.
On 21 June 2013 Arriva was selected to operate a new service between The Hague and Brussels. Service was set to start in December 2015, but the project was cancelled in 2014 because the involved parties could not agree upon a final business case and because NS reactivated the original service to Brussels, making the new Arriva service unnecessary.
|Groningen/Friesland||11 Dec 5
13 Dec 20
|12 Dec 20 |
15 Dec 35
|Merwede-Lingelijn||1 Jan 7||31 Dec 18|
|North and Southwest Friesland||9 Dec 12||11 Dec 27|
|Gelderland/Achterhoek||9 Dec 12||1 Jan 21|
|Zwolle-Emmen||9 Dec 12||1 Jan 21|
|Limburg||11 Dec 16||12 Dec 31|
Bus and train combinationEdit
The Province of Limburg awarded a contract in June 2015 to Arriva to provide for the entire public transport (buses and five regional rail lines) in Limburg from December 2016 up until 2031. Abellio has originally been named the preferred bidder, but after it was discovered Abellio had gained some information that was not available to the other bidders, the contract was withdrawn. Another tenderer, Veolia, announced they will object to the decision of the province.
Arriva formed Arriva PCC, a joint venture with PCC Rail in December 2006. In December 2007 Arriva commenced operating services on all non-electrified lines in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship. In June 2010 Arriva took 100% ownership of the business and renamed it Arriva RP. In December 2010 Arriva RP won a 10-year extension.
Bus and coachEdit
In November 2000 Arriva purchased João Carlos Soares e Filhos, Viação Costa & Lino Lda, Ami-Transportes and Abílio da Costa Moreira & C Lda who were running inter-urban local bus services in the north west of Portugal.
In June 2002 Arriva bought a 51% shareholding Transportes Sul do Tejo, a scheduled bus and coach operator in the growing commuter region south of Lisbon. In September 2003 Arriva exercised an option to buy the remainder of the company. In May 2006 Arriva acquired a 21.5% share of leading transport company Barraqueiro, with bus and rail operations in and around Lisbon, increasing the shareholding in January 2008 to 31.5%.
In December 2021, Arriva Portugal announced the closure of its operation by the end of the year.
In May 2013 Arriva entered the Serbian bus market with the purchase of Veolia Transport Central Europe (Veolia Transport Litas in Požarevac and Veolia Transport Luv in Belgrade) with 250 buses. In January 2015, Arriva commenced operating bus services in Niš with 33 buses.
In July 2008 Arriva entered the Slovak bus market with the purchase of an 80% share in Eurobus Invest. In July 2015, it purchased SAD Liorbus and SAD Trnava. Coach services are operated under the Arriva Express brand. by November 2016, Arriva was employing 2,390 people and operated 1,335 buses. Later, Arriva also bought the bus companies Veolia transport Nitra, SAD Nové Zámky, SAD Michalovce.
In July 1998 Arriva purchased Ideal Auto Sociedad Anónima (IASA) followed in September 1999 by Transportes Finisterre, both in Galicia. Their services cover three of the four provinces in the region: A Coruña, Lugo and Ourense, including part of the famous Santiago pilgrimage route. In January 2002 Arriva commenced operating in Majorca with the purchase of Autocares Mallorca and Bus Nord. These operate on the northern and western parts of the island, linking the capital Palma with towns such as Soller, Inca and Alcúdia.
In 2007 Arriva acquired Autocares Fray Escoba and Esfera in Madrid. In July 2008 Arriva acquired Empresa de Blas y Cia, which operates routes between Madrid and southwestern cities in its metropolitan area (Alcorcón, Móstoles, Villaviciosa de Odón, Navalcarnero...), and between those cities.
Arriva has operated bus lines in southern Sweden/The Skåne Region since 1997 when it purchased Unibus of Denmark.
Arriva operated and operates bus lines in certain counties in the Stockholm Region: Sigtuna County, Upplands Vaesby County and Vallentuna County from the 1st of March 2009 until the 21st of June 2019. In Ekeroe County, traffic started on the 1st of March 2009 however Arriva won this contract again in 2019. The E32 contract which was procured in 2019 had three contesters Arriva who came on first place, Nobina who came on second place and Transdev who came on third place. In August 2012 Arriva began operation in western Stockholm with 255 buses under a 12-year contract with the regional transport authority. In January 2013 a further 229 buses were added. When Arriva took over the Roslagen Light Rail and bus traffic in the Roslagen area of Stockholm, it became total chaos. Arrivas failure to follow the contract resulted in a record fine of 174 million kronor.
Arriva has operated services in the Halland Region since June 2010, partly taking over services from Swebus.
In 2009 Arriva expanded its rail operations in the country with a new contract operating the Kinnekulletåget between Göteborg and Örebro. In December 2010 DB Regio Sverige AB started to operate regional trains in Östgötapendeln. In November 2011 the company was renamed Arriva Östgötapendeln AB.
Since August 2012, Arriva has operated the Stockholm light rail systems Cross Light Rail, Nockeby Light Rail, Lidingoe Light Rail and Saltsjoe Light Rail. In January 2013, Arriva commenced operating the Roslagen Light Rail in the north of Stockholm.
Bus and coachEdit
Arriva operates 5,900 buses in London, the north east, north west and south east of England, Yorkshire, the Midlands and Wales.
Arriva Transport Solutions provides non-emergency ambulance services, typically to convey disabled patients to and from hospital out-patient appointments. These services, formerly provided by ambulance services are now awarded by competitive tender. The company has been running these services in Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Rutland since 2012. A report by the Care Quality Commission in 2014 said that patients were "often" arriving late for appointments, and taxi drivers with "poor attitudes" being used when other resources were unavailable.
Following its successful bid over the rival North West ambulance service for non–emergency transport, in Greater Manchester Arriva admitted it had submitted incorrect performance figures which had earned it a £1.5 m bonus. Arriva had been the subject of many complaints about its service. Comparisons were drawn with misreporting in the UK Serco scandal and MPs said the Serious Fraud Office may need to be involved.
Arriva has operated a number of rail franchises in the UK since privatisation in 1996 though its subsidiary, Arriva UK Trains. It gained its first franchises in February 2000. Arriva UK Trains currently runs a number of train operating companies:
- Arriva Rail London: operates London Overground, concession runs until May 2024
- Chiltern Railways: operates services on the Chiltern Main Line, franchise runs until December 2027
- CrossCountry: operates long-distance cross-country routes, franchise runs until October 2023
- Grand Central: open-access operator with services on the East Coast Main Line purchased in November 2011
Following the purchase of Arriva by Deutsche Bahn in August 2010, Arriva UK Trains expanded to take over Deutsche Bahn's existing DB Regio UK division which consisted of Chiltern Railways, Tyne & Wear Metro and London Overground Rail Operations.
Arriva UK Trains wishes to expand the number of UK Rail businesses it operates by developing open access operations and successfully bidding for further Department for Transport rail franchises. Alliance Rail Holdings continues to develop new open access proposals following the rejection of its initial plans by the Office of Rail Regulation in 2011.
During 2011/12 Arriva's applications to bid for the InterCity West Coast, Greater Anglia, Essex Thameside and Thameslink franchises were all rejected by the Department for Transport. Following this run of failure Arriva was publicly critical of the government's prequalification process and called for it to be abolished. However Arriva was subsequently shortlisted for the Greater Western, Crossrail, Caledonian Sleeper and ScotRail franchises.
In April 2004 Arriva purchased Prignitzer Eisenbahn Gruppe which operated five franchises. In October 2004 a 77% shareholding, increased later in the year to 93%, was purchased in Regentalbahn. In 2007 Arriva purchased an 85% shareholding in Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen.
As part of the takeover of Arriva by Deutsche Bahn, Arriva's German railway operations were sold to Ferrovie dello Stato to comply with a European Commission condition. These are now branded as Netinera.
In July 2011 Arriva commenced operating a ten-year concession to operate all scheduled bus services on Malta and Gozo. Arriva held a 67% shareholding with the local Tumas Group owning the remaining 33%.
The main fleet of Arriva Malta was formed of 172 new King Long buses. These were supported on high-density routes by 68 former Arriva London Mercedes-Benz O530G Citaro articulated buses. Ten hybrid Optare Solos and two Bluebird mini-buses for use in the city of Valletta were also purchased. An assortment of the newest buses from the former owner/driver pre-July 2011 operation were also acquired and refurbished to bring them broadly into line with the rest of the fleet. This included the fitting of air conditioning and CCTV equipment and rebranding into standard Arriva livery for daily use alongside the main fleet. These included buses built by SCARNIF, MCV, BMC, King Long and Saracakis among others, with the main common factor being that they are all fully automatic and low floor designs.
Arriva has been harshly criticised both by commuters and by the government agency Transport Malta for consistently failing to keep up standards. On 14 November 2012, Arriva was harshly reprimanded by Transport Malta and given until the end of the month to bring up all its routes to 100% efficiency before TM deploys its own shuttles at Arriva's expense.
In August 2013, the Government of Malta instructed Arriva Malta to remove the articulated buses from service, pending investigation following three major fire outbreaks in the span of 48 hours. The fires destroyed the buses and in one case caused extensive damage to some nearby vehicles belonging to MaltaPost, the country's postal operator. Nobody was injured in these incidents. Like in the UK when the same buses had caught fire, these buses became a popular joke in conversations and social media sites.
By the end of December 2013 Arriva had run up losses of €50 million in two and a half years.
On 1 January 2014 Arriva ceased operations in Malta, with the services nationalised by the Maltese government as Malta Public Transport. Upon being tendered, the services were taken over by ALSA.
- Arriva Scotland West sold to McGill's Bus Services in March 2012
- The Original Tour sold to RATP Group in September 2014
- Arriva Horsham sold to Metrobus in 2009
- Arriva Trains Merseyside ran urban rail services on Merseyside from February 2000 until March 2003
- Arriva Trains Northern ran local rail services in Northern England for the Regional Railways North East franchise from March 1997 until December 2004
- Arriva Trains Wales: operated the majority of rail services in Wales, the Wales & Borders franchise ran from 7 December 2003 until 13 October 2018.
- London Overground Rail Operations 50/50 joint venture with MTR Corporation, operated London Overground concession from November 2007 until November 2016, now operated by Arriva Rail London
- Arriva Rail North: operated from 1 April 2016 until 29 February 2020
- Tyne & Wear Metro operated from April 2010 until March 2017
- Wrexham & Shropshire joint venture open access operation (50% shareholding). Ran services between Wrexham and London, ceased January 2011 due to lack of profitability
Prior to being rebranded as Arriva in November 1997, the Cowie fleets generally were still trading under their pre-privatisation names with individual liveries. As part of the rebranding the operations were renamed as Arriva Derby, Arriva Fox County etc.
A uniform livery of aquamarine (pantone 321) with a cream coloured semicircle at the front with a yellow skirt and signwriting was adopted. This livery was adopted by most by Arriva's European acquisitions as well as Arriva Trains Northern and Arriva Trains Wales. The same livery was applied to the Arriva London fleet albeit with red in lieu of aquamarine to comply with a Transport for London requirement for buses to be 80% red. London vehicles are now painted all-over red to comply with Transport for London's amended requirements.
In the mid-2000s, an aquamarine livery with less cream, a dark blue skirt and yellow stripe was adopted for some longer distance services in the United Kingdom. The first buses to carry this new style were 3 Northern Counties Palatine II DAF DB250s based at the Arriva Southern Counties Gillingham garage for routes 700/701 between Medway Towns and Bluewater. Dubbed the interurban livery, in September 2009 it was decided to adopt this livery as standard for all UK buses. Most European operations retain the old livery, although some Czech buses have also received it. In December 2008 Arriva Trains Wales unveiled a dark blue livery on its Mark 2 carriages, this has since been adopted as its standard livery.
Exceptions to standard livery include:
- Arriva Denmark – Yellow and blue (following Sydttrafik, Midttrafik, Nordjyllands Trafikselskab and Movias own colour schemes)
- Arriva London – red livery specified by Transport for London
- Arriva Mobility Solutions (Slovakia) - red livery according to IDS BK specifications
- Arriva Rail London – white, orange & blue livery specified by Transport for London
- Arriva Rail North - white & blue livery specified by Department for Transport
- Arriva Stockholm – Red and blue specified by SL
- Chiltern Railways – existing white & blue livery retained, superseded in 2013 by a white & silver livery
- CrossCountry – maroon, grey & pink
- Grand Central – existing black & orange livery retained
- Green Line Coaches – light & dark green
- Glasgow Flyer – white, green & black
- New Enterprise Coaches – white with red logos
- Spurt – red and white
- VT-Arriva, Hungary – light blue
- Wardle Transport – Arriva livery but with red in lieu of aquamarine
- Yorkshire Tiger – Yorkshire Tiger branded vehicles are mainly orange with the exception of Tiger Blue and Flying Tiger which are blue
- Transportes Sul do Tejo - TST vehicles are mainly white with some having yellow and blue stripes, others only blue stripes and the Sulfertagus service having a red transition to blue on a mainly white livery.
Sapphire premium servicesEdit
Arriva Bus & Coach was a bus and coach dealership based in Gomersal, England. Established in 1951 as Stanley Hughes, it was purchased by the Paul Sykes Group in 1982 and the Cowie Group in 1988. It sold primarily Plaxton bodied coaches, and was a DAF dealer. Hughes DAF was rebranded to Arriva Bus & Coach in 1998 and is now the main dealer for Temsa and Van Hool. coaches in the UK as well as more recently Ilesbus.
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Media related to Arriva Group companies at Wikimedia Commons