Arriva Bus Enthusiasts

Arriva is pleased that it has a following of enthusiasts, who are interested in the vehicles, services and history of the local bus companies.

We regret that health and safety considerations mean that we aren’t able to permit depot visits.

There are various bodies that can provide information of interest to enthusiasts, including these…



Arriva’s operations in the south east of England were grouped together in 2010, combining units previously known as Arriva the Shires and Essex and Arriva Southern Counties.

Both developed from an amalgamation of several sections of former National Bus Company subsidiaries, each with long and illustrious histories of their own.

Luton and District Transport was formed in 1986 from the Aylesbury, Luton and Hitchin depots of United Counties. These had belonged to Eastern National until 1952. The United Counties operation grew rapidly when the former Luton Corporation municipal operation was taken over in 1970. There was further growth when it took over the collapsed Court Line business in 1973.

In 1987 Luton and District became the first National Bus Company subsidiary to be sold to its employees. A year later it acquired Red Rover in Aylesbury. Luton and District also assisted in employee buy-outs on Clydeside (which became Arriva Scotland West) and in Derby (now part of Arriva Midlands). Two significant additions in 1990 were two-thirds of the Stevenage operations of Sovereign and all of London Country North West.
London Country Bus Services had been divided into smaller units in readiness for privatisation, just like United Counties. London Country was the former ‘country area’ operations of London Transport which formed a ring around central London.

The former North East sector of London Country was privatised as County Bus and Coach in a management buy-out in 1990. It was sold to what became part of the National Express group in 1998. This business passed to Cowies in 1996 as East Herts and Essex.

Arriva Southern Counties grew from a diverse background. The bulk of the former operations of Maidstone and District Motor Services were at its core. This former National Bus Company subsidiary was founded in 1911 and we celebrate its centenary with pride. Maidstone and District was sold to its management team in 1986. The business was expanded with the purchase of New Enterprise in Tonbridge (still operating under its separate identity) and Maidstone Boro’line, the former municipal operation in Maidstone. It was sold to British Bus in 1995.

There was significant reorganisation once all had come under British Bus ownership The businesses were amalgamated as the Invictaway Group. Later this became Arriva Southern Counties, based at the former municipal bus operator offices in Maidstone.

The acquisition of the Tellings Golden Miller Group in 2008 brought the Colchester operation back into the Arriva fold, but this hasn’t been re-integrated into the Arriva South East operation.

A separate but still utterly fascinating story covers the iconic Green Line coach brand. Find out more about the history of Green Line