Arriva Southern Counties

Arriva Southern Counties

Arriva Southern Counties is a bus operator in London, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent and Essex in England. It is a division of Arriva.


The company was originally founded in 1986 when "Einkorn Ltd." bought "Maidstone & District" (M&D) from the National Bus Company. In 1995, "British Bus" had ownership of M&D, "Kentish Bus" and "Londonlinks" services, and renamed Einkorn as Invictaway Ltd. to be the management services company for these routes. Invictaway was previously the name of the "Maidstone & District" commuter services to London, which were renamed Green Line at the same time. Upon the takeover of "British Bus" by Cowie Group and the subsequent renaming of Cowie to Arriva, the company was renamed "Arriva Southern Counties" in 1997, and the subsidiary operating companies became as follows:

Maidstone & District:
*Mainly became Arriva Kent & Sussex Ltd.
*Medway area became Arriva Medway Towns Ltd.

Kentish Bus:
*Mainly became Arriva Kent Thameside Ltd.
*Partly became Arriva Kent & Sussex Ltd.

London & Country:
*Became Guildford & West Surrey Ltd.

*Became Croydon & North Surrey

Current operations in the Southern Counties area are:
*Arriva Kent & Sussex
*Arriva Kent Thameside
*Arriva Medway Towns
*Arriva Guildford & West Surrey
*Arriva Maidstone
*Arriva Southend

Many reorganisations of Arriva operations in the South East have followed since, and today the company also controls "Arriva Guildford & West Surrey Ltd.", Arriva West Sussex. and "Arriva Southend Ltd." (and, for a time before sale, "Arriva Colchester Ltd."). The "Croydon & North Surrey" subsidiary was largely transferred to Arriva London.

Arriva Colchester was sold in 2003 to Tellings-Golden Miller, although with Arriva's recent purchase of the Tellings operations, Colchester has now returned to the group. The coaching subsidiary, "New Enterprise Coaches (Tonbridge) Ltd.", inherited from "Maidstone & District", remains in operation.

The company offices have been based since its founding at "Invicta House" in Maidstone.


Arriva's bus routes are generally identified by a route number. Many of the routes serve Maidstone or Tunbridge Wells. The routes include:

*5: Maidstone - Staplehurst - Cranbrook - Hawkhurst - Sandhurst (this route previously ran from Hawkhurst to Battle and Hastings instead)
*6: Maidstone - Paddock Wood - Pembury - Tunbridge Wells
*7: Maidstone - Hadlow - Tonbridge - Tunbridge Wells
*9: Maidstone - Bearsted
*12: Maidstone - Headcorn - Tenterden (only Maidstone - Headcorn on Sundays)
*26/27: Maidstone - Marden - Goudhurst
*34/35: Guildford - Woking - Bagshot or Frimley - Camberley

*50: Horsham - Cranleigh
*59: Maidstone - Grafty Green
*70: Maidstone - Larkfield - West Malling - Borough Green
*71 "Mainline": Maidstone - Leybourne Lakes/Snodland
*72: Maidstone - Larkfield - West Malling - Kings Hill
*77: Tunbridge Wells - Tonbridge - Hadlow - Kings Hill. On Sundays, route 77 extends to Maidstone and includes the route 72 service.
*79: Penenden Heath - Maidstone
*84: Maidstone - Senacre Wood
*85: Maidstone Hospital - Maidstone - Shepway - Senacre Wood
*89: Maidstone - Loose - Coxheath

*100: Chatham - St. Mary's Island
*101: Maidstone - Chatham - Gillingham
*105: Chatham - Davis Estate
*133: Cliffe - Strood - Rochester - Chatham
*116: Chatham - Hempstead Valley
*142: Chatham - Rochester - Blue Bell Hill
*155: Maidstone - Aylesford - Wouldham - Rochester - Chatham

*256: Tunbridge Wells - Lamberhurst - Wadhurst
*267: Hawkhurst - Cranbrook - Goudhurst - Tonbridge - Tunbridge Wells (school days only)
*277: Tunbridge Wells - Sherwood
*281 "Town centre bus link" for Tunbridge Wells: High Brooms - town centre - Rusthall
*297 "Transweald": Tunbridge Wells - Pembury - Cranbrook - Tenterden - Ashford (Monday to Saturday)
*298: Tunbridge Wells - Pembury - Paddock Wood - Cranbrook - Tenterden (Sundays only, and operated by Kent Top Travel not Arriva)

*333: Maidstone - Sittingbourne - Faversham - Oare
*334: Maidstone - Sittingbourne - Iwade - Sheerness

*402: Tunbridge Wells - Tonbridge - Sevenoaks - Bromley
*455: Dartford - Greenhithe - Gravesend - Valley Drive
*477: Bluewater - Dartford - Swanley - Orpington

*501, 503 and 506 are Park and Ride routes in Maidstone.

*703: Maidstone - Lunsford Park - Snodland - Bluewater
*707: Coxheath - Maidstone - Larkfield - Snodland - Lakeside - Romford (Essex)
*781/784: Maidstone - West Malling - Lewisham - City of London - London Victoria

Medway Towns upgrade

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

Maidstone park and ride

Arriva also operates Maidstone park and ride for Maidstone Borough Council. The buses are 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 DAF SB120 10.8m/Wright Cadets and 9 DAF SB200 11.8m/Wright Commanders. In September 2007 the Coombe Quarry park and ride site (route 504) was closed due to apparent budget difficulties. As a result, some of the buses were absorbed into the main fleet. This leaves no park and ride service for South Maidstone for at least 4 years.


Arriva Southern Counties operate the Fastrack busway scheme in the Thames Gateway area of Kent on behalf of the Kent County Council. This network currently consists of two routes: Route A runs between Dartford and the Bluewater Shopping Centre, while Route B runs from Temple Hill near Dartford to Gravesend via Dartford. Since November 2007, Route B has connected with Eurostar at the new Ebbsfleet International railway station, and Eurostar passengers are allowed to use the route for free. [ [ Eurostar launches Ebbsfleet International and goes head-to-head with South East Airports.] ] On February 11, 2008, Arriva started a new "m-tickets" scheme, where passengers are able to pay for bus tickets using their mobile phones. Initially, this will only be available on Route B, but if successful could be extended to other Fastrack route and possibly even conventional Arriva bus routes. [ [ Arriva m-tickets] ]


The main Arriva livery is aquamarine blue, with champagne cream and white separator line. There are many variations of the corporate livery. They are:

*Interurban livery – Aquamarine, with dark blue band to skirt level. With the cream champagne “cow-horns” very much like Arriva London.

*London livery - The original London livery was red, with champagne “cow-horns” (a thined version of the aquamarine swoop) and thin yellow line at skirt level. The Arriva “circles” logo is orange, not blue, as the corporate one. The new London livery is completely red, with the thin yellow line at skirt level and the Arriva “circles” in plain white.

*Bluwater Livery - No longer used, the Bluewater livery was allover blue, with a water shimmer effect. The servces using this livery were replaced by Fastrack in 2006.

As well as this, many vehicles operating under different schemes run in different liveies, for example Fastrack and the Maidstone park and ride.


The depots of Arriva Southern Counties are located at:
* Cranleigh - Guildford & West Surrey
* Dartford - Kent Thameside
* Gatwick (Copthorne) - easyBus (New Enterprise Coaches)
* Gillingham - Medway Towns
* Grays - Grays
* Guildford - Guildford & West Surrey
* Horsham - Guildford & West Surrey
* Maidstone - Maidstone / Kent & Sussex / New Enterprise Coaches
* Northfleet - Kent Thameside
* Sheerness - Medway Towns
* Southend - Southend
* Tenterden - Kent & Sussex
* Tonbridge - New Enterprise Coaches
* Royal Tunbridge Wells - Kent & Sussex


There are over 700 vehicles in the Southern Counties fleet. Below, is a list of some of the most interesting vehicles, and sole survivors from previous fleets:

  • 1450 (GX55 LNF) Optare Solo M920 (9.2m) - Horsham, is a hybrid bus.
  • 1455 (YN53 ELU) Optare Solo M850 (8.5m) - Tunbridge Wells, for ESCC route 256.
  • 3018 (M520 KPA) Dennis Lance SLF 11SDA / Wright Pathfinder 320 - Tunbridge Wells, the only remaining Lance SLF in the Southern Counties fleet, from London & Country.
  • 3045 (F45 ENF) Leyland Lynx LX112L10ZR1R - Tunbridge Wells, the only remaining Lynx, as similar 3041/3/49/65 (E885/7 KYW, H256 YLG & G45 VME) have all been transferred to the training fleet.
  • 3384 (M274 JPA) Dennis Lance SLF 11SDA / Wright Pathfinder 320 - Tunbridge Wells, the only remaining Lance SLF in the Southern Counties fleet, from Southend Transport. 3379 suffered severe fire damage.
  • 3730 (LF02 PVA) Volvo B7L / Wrightbus Eclipse - Guildford, ex-Arriva "Bus of the Future"

    ;Double-deck, low-floor

    ;Single-deck, step-entry


    ee also

    * List of bus operators of the United Kingdom
    * Pentagon Bus Station


    External links

    * [ Arriva UK bus website]
    * [ Maidstone Borgugh Council's Park and Ride webpage]
    * [ The official Fastrack website]

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