Arriva is one of the largest transport services organisations in Europe, with operations in Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. With some 30,000 employees across the group, the company provides over one billion passenger journeys every year through buses, trains, commuter coaches and waterbuses. In the UK, the group also does business in bus and coach distribution and it is the largest bus operator in London.

Its 2005 figures were lower than the previous year, partly down to the company losing its Northern Rail franchise.

Users of its red-liveried bus fleet may soon see increased fares as the company passes on the higher costs of fuel, among other increasing overheads. The company was also caught fixing bus prices in Leeds along with ostensible competitor FirstGroup, and was fined over £200,000. The luckless pair were the first UK companies ever prosecuted under the 1998 Competition Act. On the railways side, the company is involved in a major trial of new computerised safety systems being set up by Network Rail, a £60 million evaluation of the European Rail Traffic Management System on the Cambrian Line, which serves the West Midlands and parts of Wales. Though not due to begin until 2008, if successful this system could end up being deployed on all UK high speed trains. In base technology terms, five years ago Arriva completed a major desktop refresh, moving to NT, though it is unclear where the company is in terms of moving that along to XP. What it did update was its bus timetable application in 2004, shifting from a mainframe application to a new Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2003 environment, using the services of its IT partner Capgemini. That is not to say it is all about the new. The company maintains some ‘green screen’ legacy applications on old HP kit in some dozen or so of its London bus operations, as it was thought unnecessary to retrain data entry staff in the world of Windows and GUIs.

The company has also had an increased focus on security, with Arriva Trains Wales enhancing security measures at the stations by introducing ticket-gated entry, improving use of CCTV technology, ensuring a visible staff presence and working with British Transport Police on high profile policing operations.