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Arriva plc is a UK-based international public transport operator, headquartered in Sunderland. It has bus and/or rail operations in Denmark, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


The company grew out the Cowie motor retail business which gradually bought various UK bus companies from 1980 onwards. It is the second largest bus operator in the UK and one of the big five operators that have come to dominate the UK bus market since deregulation, the others being Firstgroup (the largest), Stagecoach, Go-Ahead and National Express. The Arriva brand was introduced on its numerous bus operations in 1997. Along with the other major bus groups Arriva also moved into rail operations following privatisation. Also in 1997 Arriva made its first move into the continental European market with acquisition of Danish firm Unibus Holdings.

As well as public transport operations Arriva runs large vehicle rental and bus & coach distribution businesses in the UK. It disposed of its original motor retail division in 2003.


The company uses a corporate livery adapted according to the vehicle types, whether bus or train. The livery features an aquamarine base colour with Cotswold Stone colour sections on the upper front separated by a white stripe. A thin yellow stripe runs around the base of the vehicle, and the same colour is used for any lettering required. In London, Arriva are forced to adapt the livery to suit Transport for London regulations, so red is used as a base colour, with cream "ice-cream scoops" or "horns". Latterly, the vehicles have been all-over red, with almost no trace of the Arriva corporate livery. There is a new "express" livery with blue skirt and "cow's horns" (like London) instead of the Cotswold Stone Swoop. For "Airlink" services 500 (Liverpool City Centre Circular — Liverpool John Lennon Airport) and 700 (Manchester City Centre Circular — Liverpool John Lennon Airport) the livery used is normal except that the aquamarine is dark blue.

Lobbying Labour

In 2001 Solomon Hughes noted

Rail firm Arriva has also promised to return to the Labour conference this year. This March Labour's Strategic Rail Authority awarded Arriva a host of new rail franchises. By June the Health and Safety Executive wrote to Arriva and nine other rail firms warning them to take urgent action over the number of Signals Passed At Danger. Just two weeks before the Labour conference Arriva was forced to sack Nigel Patterson, the manager of Arriva Trains. The sacking came after Patterson was mauled by the Passenger Transport Authority because his firm had to cancel 2,000 rail services for lack of drivers. However, faced with a shortage of labour, the firm has decided to spend its money lobbying Labour instead of investing in staff. The corporate-sponsored meetings are staffed by suited lobbyists fuelled by power breakfasts of ice-cold orange juice and croissants. The real and readily available prize for the plc hopefuls is to get a minister on their platform.[1]

According to the Independent:

Tony Depledge, 58, joined the bus industry in 1970 as a driver for the long-since defunct Midland Red company. He now spends his days liaising with mandarins and lobbying ministers for improvements to the nation's road infrastructure, in his role as Arriva's director of transport policy development.[2]

Senior management


  1. ^ Solomon Hughes Corporate conquest Issue 256 of Socialist Review, Published October 2001
  2. ^ James Morrison Recruitment: Jobs With Stagecoach Or Arriva Independent, Published: 01 June 2006