In addition, the company also operates the BAA Glasgow Flyer service between Glasgow International Airport and Glasgow city centre. Arriva also operate two other bus links to the airport, from Paisley town centre (branded as Arriva) and from Clydebank (branded as, and operated on behalf of, SPT).
Clydeside itself was a relatively short lived and troubled company, having been created as Clydeside Scottish in 1985 from the northern operations of Western SMT to prepare the state-owned parent company, the Scottish Bus Group, for deregulation of the bus industry and eventual privatisation. At the time, Clydeside's operating area was much larger, covering Inverclyde (including the towns of Gourock and Greenock), the Isle of Bute and much of the south side of Glasgow.
Despite bold attempts to secure a larger market share within the city of Glasgow upon deregulation by employing a large fleet of former London Transport Routemaster buses on a new network of routes, the company suffered an explosion of new, small operators within its territory, together with the retaliation of the city bus company Strathclyde Buses. As a result, Clydeside fell into financial difficulty and was re-merged with Western Scottish (Western SMT's successor company) in 1989 in an attempt to make it more financially viable, as well as a more attractive option to potential buyers.
The merger, however, was not a happy one, and on the privatisation of Western Scottish the Clydeside operations were sold to management and employees as Clydeside 2000 plc. Luton & District Buses also took a 23% stake in the new company. Clydeside began rationalising some of its operations, and depots at Largs, Paisley and Thornliebank were closed, the latter as a result of a reduction in operations within Glasgow.
British Bus purchased the company in 1994, having just completed the take over of shareholder Luton & District, and the new parent company began investing heavily in the ageing fleet. A more vibrant red, white and yellow livery was introduced, and new "Flagship" routes were created to raise quality levels. The main competitor in Greenock, Ashton Coaches, was purchased and the Greenock operations were re-branded GMS Greenock Motor Services, using Ashton's white, green and gold livery, in order to more effectively combat the plethora of small operators in the town. A stake was also taken in Dart Buses of Paisley, another competitor, though this operator would soon go out of business.
In 1997 the main operations became Arriva Scotland West Ltd, trading as Arriva Serving Scotland - that description suggesting a much larger area than actually covered - and the corporate livery of aquamarine and cream introduced. Long established independent operator McGill's Bus Services of Barrhead was purchased, which initially continued to operate under its own identity, and over the course of the late 1990s Arriva managed to consolidate its position within Renfrewshire. The company flirted with operations outside its operating area, successfully securing tenders to operate services in Cumbernauld (where a depot was established for a short time) and south east Glasgow, though these would be short-lived.
Further rationalisation would take place in 2002, with the troublesome Inverclyde operations being sold to local management. Confusingly, the new operation was created as McGill's Bus Service Ltd - the company name and operating licence having been purchased with McGill's of Barrhead - based in Port Glasgow, and employing a livery of blue, white and gold in the same styles as both Arriva and the GMS division, depending on what type of vehicle it was applied to. At the same time, the Barrhead depot, originally belonging to the initial McGill's Bus Service, was closed and operations concentrated on the two remaining depots.
Recently, as with Arriva's other operations throughout the United Kingdom, the regional 'descriptor' of "Serving Scotland" has been dropped, and the company simply trades as Arriva.
In 2007, BAA sent out for operators to run the new Glasgow Flyer 500 service. Arriva runs this, and has bought a new fleet of specially liveried Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse for the service. As a result the 905 Airlink service, jointly operated with Fairline Coaches under contract to Scottish Citylink, has ended; however Fairline have since started an independent service numbered 905.
The most recent vehicles are a batch of VDL SB120/Plaxton Centro, which were operated at first on the Glasgow Flyer pending the new buses for that route, but are now branded for service 1 and are in standard livery.