Arriva North East

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Arriva North East
20190530-Arriva-NorthEast-4719 (cropped).jpg
A Temsa Avenue, branded in the new corporate livery, at Coatham Road in Redcar.
ParentArriva UK Bus
HeadquartersAdmiral Way
Doxford Business Park
Service area
Service typeBus and coach
FleetAround 500 (as of January 2020)
Managing DirectorNick Knox

Arriva North East is one of the three main bus operators in North East England alongside Go North East and Stagecoach North East. It provides regional bus services as far north as Berwick-upon-Tweed in Northumberland, west as Carlisle in Cumbria, and south as Scarborough in North Yorkshire. It is a subsidiary of Arriva UK Bus.


In the 1980s, as part of the privatisation of the National Bus Company, United Automobile Services was split in two.

The northern part was sold in a management buyout to Proudmutual, as Northumbria Motor Services.[1][2][3] In 1994, it was then sold to British Bus.[4][5]

The southern part, encompassing the County Durham, North Yorkshire and Teesside operations, were sold in a management buyout to Caldaire Holdings.[6] In 1992, it was sold to the Westcourt Bus Group,[7] then National Express (in 1995), followed the Cowie Group (in 1996).[4]

Following the Cowie Group purchasing British Bus in August 1996, both were once again under common ownership, although North East Bus and Northumbria Motor Services continued to operate as separate entities. In November 1997, Cowie was rebranded as Arriva, with new trading names introduced:

  • North East Bus became Arriva North East
  • Northumbria Motor Services became Arriva Northumbria
  • Tees & District became Arriva Tees & District
  • Teesside Motor Services became Arriva Teesside
  • United Motor Services became Arriva Durham County

Gradually, the operations of Arriva North East and Arriva Northumbria were integrated, with common fleet numbering and management. All operations now run under the licence of Arriva Durham County.[4]

Fleet and operations[edit]

A large part of the Arriva North East fleet is made up of vehicles manufactured by Alexander Dennis, Wrightbus and VDL. As of January 2020, Arriva North East has a fleet of over 500 buses.[8]

Most vehicles are branded in the interurban fleet livery, consisting of vehicles painted in an aquamarine livery with a cream semi-circle at the front, a dark blue skirt and yellow stripe.

An Alexander Dennis Enviro 400, in former Coastliner branding, seen in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Other brands include the former MAX (designed for inter-urban express services),[9] and Sapphire (designed for premium, high-frequency services).[10]

The former interurban-branded fleet is being gradually replaced by the new corporate livery, this featuring an all-round aquamarine livery, and a white stripe at the front, with vehicles wearing the new Arriva logo.[11]

Current depots[edit]

As of February 2020, Arriva North East has nine bus depots:

Former depots[edit]

Below is a list of former Arriva North East depots:

  • Ashington: In March 2014, all buses and employees transferred to the new depot on Lintonville Parkway, (a short walk from the original depot). The new depot was officially opened by Ashington's longest serving driver and engineer. The drivers' rest room and supervisor's office remained in the old depot building until November 2014, when a nearby derelict building was refurbished for the drivers' rest room. The supervisor's office was moved into a portacabin on the main area of the bus station. As of August 2015, the depot has been completely demolished.
  • Bishop Auckland (Go North East): In March 2006, Go North East announced that it was withdrawing services from Bishop Auckland, with the exception of three flagship routes (mainly those linking to Durham and Newcastle), which transferred to their Chester-le-Street depot. The bulk of its operations (but no vehicles), which had been taken over from OK Travel by Go-Ahead Northern in March 1995, were transferred to Arriva. The former Go North East depot in Bishop Auckland has since been demolished.[13]
  • Bishop Auckland (The Eden): The Eden Bus Company was purchased by North East Bus in 1995, and operated from a base at West Auckland. This depot was subsequently closed, with operations being moved to the Bishop Auckland depot. taking on the function of a "low cost unit". Of the Eden fleet, only the Leyland Nationals served for any length of time after the take over, though some native United vehicles did carry Eden fleet names. By the time the Arriva identity appeared, the Eden brand had ceased to be used. The Eden name was subsequently purchased from Arriva, by Graeme Scarlett, who now operates a small fleet in a red and ivory livery.
  • Darlington: In May 2007, it was announced that Arriva North East would take over Stagecoach North East's operations in Darlington, pending approval by the Office of Fair Trading.[14] By August 2007, all Stagecoach North East services, drivers and vehicles (except one) in Darlington were transferred to Arriva North East and the former Stagecoach fleet was repainted. In March 2008, all Darlington operations moved to the new Faverdale depot. The previous depot at Feethams then briefly operated as an administrative outpost, whilst the Tubwell Row offices were refurbished, before being closed and has been demolished.
  • Durham: In December 2012, Durham's Waddington Street depot was closed, following the completion of the new Belmont depot, (despite being only one minute away from Durham Bus Station). By July 2013, the former depot had been demolished, with the site being redeveloped for residential use.[15]
  • Hexham: In March 2010, Arriva North East took over Go North East's Ashington depot (then located in Jubilee Industrial Estate), in exchange for the operation of Hexham depot.[16] Arriva jointly operates the Cross Pennine 685 service with Stagecoach in Cumbria & North Lancashire, with Arriva's buses operating from the depot at Jesmond.
  • Loftus: Arriva's Loftus depot closed in January 2009. Prior to this, services X3, X4 and 789 were transferred to the depot at Redcar. After the closure, services 56 and X56 were shared between Stockton and Whitby outstation, whilst Redcar further gained services 65, 65A and 828.[13]
  • Richmond: A bus depot operated at Richmond until its closure in March 2006. From that date, the remaining routes in the area (X26, X27 and X28) were transferred to the Faverdale depot. At this time, most of the council supported services previously run by Arriva were taken on by Dales & District, with most running to the same timetables, and staffed by many of the drivers from the former Richmond depot.

Popular culture[edit]

In August 2016, DalesBus route 830 from Richmond to Ingleton, was the subject of an episode of television series BBC Four Goes Slow entitled The Country Bus, with a series record average audience of 800,000.[17][18]


  1. ^ An outstation, for services operating in Northumberland, based at the Rothbury Motors depot in Alnwick.
  2. ^ Opened in 2014, as a replacement for the former depot at Ashington.
  3. ^ Opened in 2012, as a replacement for the former depot at Waddington Street (Durham).
  4. ^ An outstation of the Redcar depot, for services operating in and around Whitby.


  1. ^ Companies House extract company no 237558 Arriva Northumbria Limited formerly Northumbria Motor Services Limited
  2. ^ History North East Arriva
  3. ^ Companies House extract company no 2106786 The Proudmutual Transport Group Limited
  4. ^ a b c 1998 Cowie Handbook, British Bus Publishing ISBN 1-897990-71-5
  5. ^ Companies House extract company no 2756786 British Bus Limited formerly British Bus plc
  6. ^ Companies House extract company no 2066896 Yorkshire Bus Holdings Limited formerly Caldaire Holdings Limited
  7. ^ Companies House extract company no 2953095 United Automobile Services Limited formerly Westcourt Bus Group Limited
  8. ^ "Arriva North East Fleet List: 26 January 2020" (PDF). UK Buses. 26 January 2020.
  9. ^ "MAX - inter-urban express services from Arriva". Arriva Bus UK. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  10. ^ "Getting you there in style". Arriva North East. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  11. ^ "The Arriva brand is changing". Arriva Bus UK. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Unwrapping a new bus depot for Durham". Intelligent Transport. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  13. ^ a b Arriva North East / Nothumbria Fleetlist Archived 7 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine Jeff's Bus Lane 6 June 2012
  14. ^ "Arriva – Cheaper travel for passengers as Arriva takes over Stagecoach's Darlington services". Arriva. 9 May 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  15. ^ Go-ahead for housing plan on old bus depot site Sunderland Echo 16 November 2012
  16. ^ Anticipated acquisition by Go Ahead North East Limited of the bus operations of Arriva Northumbria Limited in Hexham, Northumnberland Archived 5 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine Office of Fair Trading 26 May 2010
  17. ^ Slow TV bus tour of Yorkshire Dales drives nearly a million viewers The Daily Telegraph 30 August 2016
  18. ^ Country Bus: How a two-hour bus trip of the Yorkshire Dales caused a social media stir The Yorkshire Post 31 August 2016

External links[edit]