A subsidiary of the international transport company Arriva Group, Arrivabus has roots extending back to a 1938 second-hand motorcycle shop in Sunderland. Expanding from there into motor retailing and eventually transit, it started to purchase bus companies beginning in 1980, slowly growing into the major transportation company it is today. From these humble beginnings, Arriva was born in 1997, bringing together many different company backgrounds into one umbrella organization. Beginning in 1999, Arriva started to concentrate its efforts on building a major international transportation company, disposing of its various motor retailing and rental branches. In 2010, Arriva Group was acquired by Deutsche Bahn, the biggest train provider in Germany.
Arrivabus has local, subsidiary companies in the following areas: Arriva North East, Arriva Yorkshire, Arriva North West, Arriva Buses Wales, Arriva Midlands, and Arriva South East. Each company has roots to previous, smaller, local companies in the area that have since been taken over by Arrivabus.
In some areas, in addition to the longer bus routes connecting towns or villages, Arrivabus offers a network of local bus services, allowing passengers not only to travel between destinations, but also locally within a town itself.
Arrivabus offers free bus travel for people over 60 who have registered for a free bus pass. In England, free travel applies during off-peak times: between 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on weekdays, and all day on weekends and holidays. In Wales, there are no time restrictions for free travel for seniors.