Issue 8: January 2014


By Phillip Heathcote, Bid Director, Arriva Trains

It is an exciting time for the Scottish rail sector. Since 2004 passenger numbers have increased by 33% meaning there are now 83 million passenger journeys every year. Forecasts suggest even more growth, with a further 24-48% predicted over the coming decade. The sector is now seen, rightly, as crucial to Scotland’s economy, carbon footprint and social wellbeing. Rail is well positioned to contribute to all of the Scottish Government’s five core objectives; making Scotland Wealthier and Fairer,  Smarter, Healthier, Safer, and Stronger and Greener. 

The opening of new passenger lines, including the imminent re-opening of the Borders rail link, as well as the purchase of a modern fleet of electric trains for the Ayrshire, Inverclyde and North Berwick services are evidence of the Scottish and UK Government’s commitment to rail as an environmentally sustainable and safe form of transport. Arriva is already playing its part by operating cross border CrossCountry services linking Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh and intermediate stations with destinations in England. We hope to play a much bigger role in the future through supplying successful bids to operate the ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper rail franchises.

We are already playing a major role across Europe in taking cars off the road and encouraging the use of public transport. Arriva is one of the largest transport providers in Europe, employing some 56,000 people and delivering more than 2.2 billion passenger journeys across 14 European countries every year. We are part of Deutsche Bahn, responsible for the growth, operation and development of all Deutsche Bahn’s regional passenger transport outside of Germany.  We currently run the London Overground (JV) and Tyne and Wear Metro concessions, Arriva Trains Wales, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry and Grand Central. This means that we currently operate around 14% of the total UK passenger rail market.

Tendering authorities such as Transport Scotland are increasingly looking to operators to offer high-quality services to help reduce congestion, improve environmental standards and make travel a more pleasant and accessible experience. Our expertise means we are well placed to develop and deliver contracts to high environmental standards, providing smarter services through smarter working.

Continued investment in technology is key to achieving this outcome for Scotland and Arriva is already investing to deliver improvement at its existing Scottish rail services.

This year we will invest £4.5 million in installing leading eco-technology on more than 580 train cabs from 15 different train fleets across the UK.  CrossCountry will be the first Arriva business to benefit from the Energymiser® Driver Advisory System. The on-board computer screen will provide real-time route information on train running times and help drivers deliver smoother, more efficient journeys for our passengers travelling from Scotland. At the same time the technology, which will also be installed at Arriva Trains Wales, Chiltern Railways, and Grand Central, will reduce fuel consumption by up to 15 per cent and lower overall diesel fuel related emissions delivering smarter, greener travel.

If transport operators are to tempt more people out of their cars and onto the railways, then we need to use technology to its full advantage.  The 21st century passenger increasingly wants a more active travel experience.  They want to be able to book and check travel arrangements while on the move and trains are often mobile offices, or places to catch up on social networks, book holidays etc. The more train operators respond to these aspirations, the greater the number of rail travellers we will see in Scotland.

The 21st century passenger increasingly wants a more active travel be able to book and check travel arrangements while on the move and trains are often mobile offices, or places to catch up on social networks.....The more train operators respond to these aspirations, the greater the number of rail travelers we will see in Scotland.

Technology is also revolutionising and simplifying ticket purchasing and Arriva’s Chiltern Railways and CrossCountry businesses have led the way in the UK with m-ticketing and award-winning travel apps enabling thousands of journeys every year.

In addition to simpler ticketing, passengers – and tendering authorities – want operators to provide attractive fares to make rail travel a realistic alternative for more people. 

We recognise this and passengers using CrossCountry’s long-distance services are already taking advantage of ‘Advance on the Day’ - an industry-leading trial which offers passengers the opportunity to buy advance fares up to 10 minutes before their train departs.  In the Netherlands, we are also currently testing an innovative Touch&Travel app on train services in Friesland and Groningen and Arriva buses in Friesland. The technology allows passengers to check on and off public transport, regardless of the provider, using their smartphone and calculates and bills people at the end of the month for their travel.

The economic situation across Scotland, the UK and globally, undoubtedly, remain challenging which means a firm focus on delivering efficient and effective services is vital. 

Tendering authorities need transport operators to demonstrate their commercial expertise and entrepreneurship more than ever.  They need them to innovate and make maximum use of the resources available to develop networks and services which enable local business and communities to prosper.

Across our businesses we always look to develop timetables that ensure our fleets are used as to their full potential, supported by maintenance programmes that help improve reliability and overall performance.  In Wales, our expertise has helped deliver some 465,000 extra seats annually from the trains allocated to the franchise.

While fostering economic development and wealth creation through improved transport links is a priority for tendering authorities - and operators – delivering it sustainably is essential.

Public transport can be part of the solution with modal shift to bus and rail helping reduce overall congestion and responsible operators – like Arriva – always seek to minimise the carbon footprint of their operations.

Across Arriva we use fuel-saving technology, promote eco-driving techniques and work with industry stakeholders to explore alternative fuels and tractions technologies to reduce the impact of our operations.  This has led to Arriva becoming the partner of choice for many industry leading transport projects.

Our commitment to reducing the impact of our operations was also recognised when Arriva UK Trains was selected as a 2013 National Champion to represent the UK in the European Business Awards' Millicom Award for Environmental and Corporate Sustainability.

We believe that the provision of reliable, safe and comfortable public transport services is essential to the development and well-being of the economic and social wellbeing of the communities we serve or seek to serve. 

We are passionate about what we do. Our commitment to offering innovative solutions, focusing on intelligent integration and setting the standards for quality and customer service can support tendering authorities achieve their long-term strategy to deliver a sustainable future for all.


By Phillip Heathcote, Bid Director, Arriva Trains

Issue 8: January 2014

Issue 8: January 2014


Smart Cities: Smart Services: Smart Working Editorial

In focusing on 'Smart Cities' let's start with a few teaser questions (answers at the foot of this column)...


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