Arriva Southern Counties

Arriva Southern Counties

Arriva Medway Towns Wright StreetLite at Chatham Waterfront bus station in January 2012
Parent Arriva
Founded November 1986
Headquarters Maidstone
Service area East Sussex
West Sussex
Service type Bus services
Depots 8
Operator Arriva Guildford & West Surrey
Arriva Kent & Sussex
Arriva Kent Thameside
Arriva Medway Towns
Arriva Southend

Arriva Southern Counties[1] is a bus operator in Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent and Essex in England. It is a subsidiary of Arriva.


Arriva Kent & Sussex Northern Counties Palatine bodied Volvo Olympian in Royal Tunbridge Wells in April 2009

In November 1986 the National Bus Company sold Maidstone & District in a management buyout to Einkorn Limited.[1] In June 1988 New Enterprise Coaches of Tonbridge was purchased, followed in December 1991 by four buses and their associated Kent County Council services from Shearings,[2] and in June 1992 Boro'line Maidstone.[3][4][5]

In 1990 British Bus purchased the Cranleigh, Guildford and Woking based operations of Alder Valley followed in 1993 by Colchester Borough Transport and Southend Transport.[5]

In April 1995 Einkorn was sold to British Bus,[6] which had purchased Kentish Bus in July 1994 and Londonlinks in 1988. In August 1995 Einkorn was renamed Invictaway.[1] Invictaway was previously the name of the Maidstone & District commuter services to London, which were renamed Green Line at the same time.[5]

In July 1996 British Bus was taken over by the Cowie Group.[7][8] Invictaway was renamed Arriva Southern Counties in April 1998,[1] and Arriva transferred London & Country (also owned by British Bus) to it. The subsidiary operating companies therefore became:

Current operations in the South East area are:

Many reorganisations of Arriva operations in South East England have followed since and today the company also controls Arriva Guildford & West Surrey, Arriva West Sussex, and Arriva Southend. The Croydon & North Surrey subsidiary was largely transferred to Arriva London.

In August 2004 Arriva Colchester was sold to Tellings-Golden Miller, although with the December 2007 sale of Tellings-Golden Miller, Colchester is once again owned by Arriva, albeit not under the control of Arriva Southern Counties.[14][15] In October 2009 the Horsham depot and routes were sold to Metrobus with 19 buses.[16]

The coach subsidiary, New Enterprise Coaches of Tonbridge, inherited from Maidstone & District continues to trade under its own brand.[17]

Operation Overdrive

The Medway Towns network was upgraded in a £10 million investment marketed as Operation Overdrive.

Maidstone Park & Ride

Arriva also operates Maidstone park & ride under contract to Maidstone Borough Council.[18] The buses are painted yellow with a green stripe swooping down from the top of the back of the bus to the bottom of the front. The fleet comprises two Wright Cadet bodied DAF SB120s and nine Wright Commander bodied DAF SB200s. In September 2007 the Coombe Quarry Park & Ride site (route 504) was closed due to apparent budget difficulties. As a result, some of the buses were absorbed into the main fleet.

Arriva Sapphire

Main article: Arriva Sapphire

Arriva also operates two Sapphire routes in Kent, The buses serve route 101 from Gillingham to Maidstone via Chatham[19][20] and routes 480 and 490 from Valley Drive to Dartford,[21][22] The fleet comprises Alexander Dennis Enviro400s[19] and Wright StreetLites, The buses are painted in a two tone blue livery,


Fastrack liveried Wright Eclipse bodied Volvo B7TL at Dartford in March 2008
Main article: Fastrack

Arriva Southern Counties operate the Fastrack busway scheme in the Thames Gateway area of Kent on behalf of the Kent County Council and Prologis. This network currently consists of two routes: Route A runs between Dartford and the Bluewater Shopping Centre, while Route B runs from Temple Hill to Gravesend via Dartford. Since November 2007, Route B has connected with the Eurostar at Ebbsfleet International railway station, and Eurostar passengers are allowed to use the route for free. On 11 February 2008, Arriva started a new "m-tickets" scheme, where passengers are able to pay for bus tickets using their mobile phones.[23]


Main article: Arriva § Livery
Arriva Kent & Sussex Plaxton Pointer bodied Dennis Dart SLF in Royal Tunbridge Wells in April 2009

The main corporate Arriva livery is aquamarine for the body, with a cream "swoop" at the front and a white separator line in between, blue Arriva "circles" logos, and a thin yellow line at skirt level. There are many variations of the livery, such as:

As well as this, many vehicles operating under different schemes run in different liveries, for example Fastrack and Maidstone Park & Ride.


Arriva Kent & Sussex Alexander ALX400 bodied Volvo B7TL in Tunbridge Wells in April 2009
Arriva Medway Towns Northern Counties Palatine bodied Volvo Citybus in the schoolbus livery in Cliffe in August 2009
Arriva Guildford & West Surrey Transport for London liveried Alexander Dennis Enviro 200 in Dorking in July 2009

The locations of Arriva Southern Counties' depots and the divisions which operate them are:

Former depots of Arriva Southern Counties were:

Dartford and Grays garages were the only Arriva Southern Counties depots which did not have commercial services and only handled services operated under contract to Transport for London with all buses painted in red Arriva livery.

Commercial routes previously operated from Dartford depot before it became an all Transport for London depot were transferred to Northfleet. Grays depot switched to all Transport for London services after Arriva Southend withdrew both commercial routes 373 and 383 in the Grays area, partially replacing them by extending route 5 from Southend-on-Sea. Routes 44 and 150, the remaining services in the Grays area, are operated under contract to Thurrock Council. The buses used for these routes were transferred to Southend.

As at September 2014, Dartford garage operated London routes 160, 428, 492, B12, B13 and B15.[30] Grays garage operated London routes 66, 346, 370, 375 and 499.[31]

As part of a decision to consolidate all of Arriva's Transport for London routes, Dartford and Grays garages transferred to Arriva London on 1 January 2016.[28][29]


As at December 2013 the fleet consisted of 900 buses and coaches. As at September 2014, 113 buses were dedicated to the Transport for London services.[32]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Companies House extract company no 2031405 Arriva Southern Counties Limited formerly Invictaway Limited formerly Einkorn Limited
  2. Shearings bus sale continues Commercial Motor 3 January 1992
  3. The supply of bus services in Mid and West Kent Monopolies & Mergers Commission August 1993
  4. Maidstone & District Motor Services Archived 7 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine. M Dek Bus Club
  5. 1 2 3 History - South East Arriva
  6. Competition Commission report (1997) Competition Commission
  7. Cowie Group plc and British Bus Group Limited: A report on the merger situation Competition Commission 31 October 1996
  8. Midland Red History: Timeline Menu
  9. Companies House extract company no 2536462 Arriva Guildford & West Surrey Limited formerly Guildford & West Surrey Buses Limited
  10. Companies House extract company no 114841 Arriva Kent & Surrey Limited formerly Arriva Kent & Sussex Limited formerly The Maidstone & District Motor Services Limited
  11. Companies House extract company no 2005266 Arriva Kent Thameside Limited formerly Kentish Bus & Coach Limited formerly London Country Bus (South East) Limited
  12. Companies House extract company no 3943257 Arriva Medway Towns Limited
  13. Companies House extract company no 1992873 Arriva Southend Limited formerly Southend Transport Limited
  14. Arriva to acquire Tellings Bus & Coach Professional 20 December 2007
  15. Arriva plc offer for TGM Group plc Arriva 20 December 2007
  16. 1 2 Go-Ahead to acquire Arriva's Horsham Bus Archived 8 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Bus & Coach Professional 3 September 2009
  17. Welcome to New Enterprise Coaches New Enterprise Coaches
  18. Maidstone Quality Bus Partnership Kent County Council
  19. 1 2 Peat, Chris (10 September 2014). "Arriva launches premium Sapphire service on 101". Bus&Coachbuyer. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  20. "Arriva Sapphire - 101 Timetable". Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  21. Matthews, Alex (3 October 2014). "Arriva invest more than £2 million on 490 and 480 buses running in Gravesend and Dartford". KentOnline. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  22. "Arriva Sapphire - 480/490 Timetable". Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  23. "Arriva Mobile ticketing: m-tickets". Archived from the original on 26 June 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  24. 1 2 Operator summary for licence PK0003562 Vehicles & Operator Services Agency
  25. 1 2 3 4 Operator summary for licence PK0000208 Vehicles & Operator Services Agency
  26. 1 2 Operator summary for licence PK0001285 Vehicles & Operator Services Agency
  27. 1 2 Operator summary for licence PF0000093 Vehicles & Operator Services Agency
  28. 1 2 3 Arriva London adds four more garages Arriva London
  29. 1 2 3 "Arriva London" Buses Magazine Issue 731 February 2016 page 66
  30. Carr, Ken (September 2014). The London Bus Guide (4 ed.). Boreham: Visions International Entertainment. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-9570058-6-0.
  31. Carr, Ken (September 2014). The London Bus Guide (4 ed.). Boreham: Visions International Entertainment. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-9570058-6-0.
  32. Carr, Ken (September 2014). The London Bus Guide (4 ed.). Boreham: Visions International Entertainment. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-9570058-6-0.

External links

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