Arriva is one of the UK’s leading providers of bus transport that has one goal to provide good value tickets and safe, comfortable, reliable bus journeys for our customers.

The company provide around 18% of the capital’s bus services, operating about 100 routes under contract to Transport for London. Each year this adds up to transporting nearly 300 million passengers for more than 50 million miles!

Matt Greener, Director, Arriva Group’s Zero Emission Institute spoke to MOVE about Arriva’s exciting expansion into the new year and the company’s commitment to sustainable transport 

Find out more below!


Q: For those who may not know, tell us about Arriva?

Arriva is a leading passenger transport company in Europe, serving 1.2 billion passengers a year across 12 countries.  As an organisation, we are united in our purpose to connect people and communities safely, reliably and sustainably, enabling millions of people each day to go about their daily lives.  We constantly strive to deliver our transport services in a better wayand we use our geographic scope to share the best innovation across markets so that we can learn from each other.  This breadth of experience is attractive to our passenger transport authority clients who can access the expertise and experience we have gained across multiple Arriva businesses

We have the largest footprint across Europe of any of our major competitors:

We operate in 12 countries
We have 39,000 employees working for us
We are proud to serve 1.2billion passengers each year
We operate just over 14,100 buses and around 623 trains (incl trams)


Q: Arriva had an exciting end to 2022. The first Open Access night trains to start operations in the Netherlands, alongside new rail contracts in Poland. What’s next for the company’s expansion in the new year?

We put innovative thinking at the heart of Arriva and this was shown with the launch of Open Access night trains in the Netherlands in December 2022, which started operating just 18 months after submitting the original application.  Open Access services operate without any government subsidy or involvement which means we are fully responsible for everything associated with starting a new route, including promoting, establishing a customer base and growing it.  The services in the Netherlands fill a gap in the transport market and serve the early morning flight departures from Schiphol Airport with a public transport offering that hadn’t previously existed.  We are using existing rolling stock to serve these night timeoperations, utilising assets that would otherwise be standing still outside of normal operating times.  This is great news for passengers and great news for expanding the attractiveness of public transport.  We already have experience of operating Open Access through our UK based train operating company, Grand Central, so building our expertise in another market is an exciting development for Arriva.

During 2023 we expect to continue growing our MaaS (mobility as a service) offering in the Netherlands under the ‘glimble by Arriva’ brand.  This digital app brings together all transport offerings in the Netherlands under one virtual roof.  This allows easy connectivity between different types of transport for passengers. They can plan, book and pay for travel and they have the ability to search for the best option for their needs according to a number of different criteria including step-free access, least carbon emissions, shortest journey times, cheapest routes etc. We recently doubled our followers to 200,000 so it’s clear that glimble is proving very successful.  The technology was developed with pan-European potential so we will explore how it could expand into other markets where the data regulations allow.

We expect to continue growing the number of electric vehicles entering our fleets during 2023 as our transition to zero-emission vehicles continues.  We will be working with our passenger transport authorities to create an environment where public transport can thrive and helping them to achieve their climate goals.  Our Zero Emission Institute will also be gathering data throughout Europe on the performance of vehicles operating different fuel types – electric, hydrogen and HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oils).  It’s important to understand performance, operational demands and life-cycle costs in different settings – rural or urban – and under different geographic conditions to select the best vehicle technology.

We will also be nurturing innovation from within Arriva through a new portal which has launched to our employees called The Ideas Engine.  We know our colleagues have great ideas and these often come when we least expect them, so by creating a framework for everyone within the Arriva family to be able to share their great ideas, we can tap into the creativity that exists.


Q: What steps are Arriva taking to make public transport more sustainable?

We take our responsibility seriously and we are passionate about building a more sustainable future. This means two things:

1. We must encourage modal shift! Getting people out of cars and onto public transport is one of the biggest changes we can make as a society right now.
2. We must work together to ensure the public transport sector itself becomes greener, more sustainable and fit for a zero-emission future.

Across our Group and the countries in which we operate, we are already investing in zero-emission bus fleets, hybrid trains and alternative fuels. We are trialing new technologies that can help us reduce our emissions, and we are starting to future-proof our depots in preparation for growing number of zero-emission vehicles.

But, it’s important to note that Arriva cannot achieve decarbonisation alone. Full decarbonisation is complex and transitioning to zero-emission technologies takes time and requires true partnership with transport authorities, vehicle manufacturers, energy providers, research institutions, and many others.  This is why we have the Zero Emission Institute at Arriva – to centralise our experience and expertise and to support cities and regions as they create cleaner mobility strategies and networks.

We are already partnering with stakeholders to accelerate change and help to tackle one of the biggest challenges of our generation.  There is much to do across Europe, from electrifying depots and accelerating the deployment of alternative fuel infrastructure, to working with energy companies to ensure the grid is able to cater for demand, but I am confident that by working together in partnership we will build a better and greener future where passenger transport is the best choice!


Q: Tell us about the Zero Emission Institute and how this has impacted your journey to net-zero

In its first year of existence, the Zero Emission Institute has made great strides.  We have been very focussed on the development of strategic partnerships – and these have helped us in a number of ways.  We’ve been able to build relationships with organisations that share our ambitions and goals for a climate-netural future in transportation.  This has helped us successfully secure EU funding, which in turn has seen Arriva taking part in some high-profile technological trials across multiple countries in Europe.

Through these relationships we have also run educational webinars to share knowledge and best practise across our European businesses.  We have hosted country visits which have allowed clients, suppliers and Arriva businesses to come together and learn from eachother.  We have facilitated training and knowledge build for our engineering teams to ensure they are equipped to look after the vehicles of the future.  The ZE Institute has also been instrumental in the running of a number of trials to evaluate energy efficiency and product quality amongst different technologies.  We will continue to capture data which will be shared across our European businesses, equipping them with expertise which can in turn be shared with local authorities.


Q: What can we expect to hear from you at MOVE 2023?

At MOVE I’ll be talking about the importance of collaboration between transport operators and local passenger transport authorities.  We know that understanding the long-term goals of our transport authority clients will ensure we are able to align our own objectives to help them achieve theirs.  By understanding what is motivating a PTA – CO2 reduction versus air quality improvements (or both) – we can make sure we are transitioning our fleets to the right technology to deliver the best value in terms of clean, reliable and safe public transport for the long-term.

You will hear me repeating the mantra “there is NO one-size-fits-all” when it comes to decarbonisation.  I will be highlighting the multiple challenges that need to be considered and overcome – for example, grid capacity, the availability of green fuels such as biofuels or green hydrogen, or the challenges associated with their related infrastructure and how that affects the planning process for full transition.

I’m looking forward to some positive collaboration and to further establishing relationships with my industry colleagues.