The new school year is about to start. Not all schools start back on the same days however, meaning that buses which run on schooldays only will not all start on the same day. In summary the first days that Stephensons buses will run are:
Southend and Westcliff area schools - Wednesday 2nd
Rochford, King Edmund - Wednesday 2nd
Rayleigh, Sweyne Park - Thursday 3rd
Thundersley, King John - Wednesday 2nd
Chelmsford area schools - Wednesday 2nd
Gt Baddow High - Thursday 3rd
Burnham on Crouch, Ormiston Rivers - Friday 4th
Maldon, Plume School - Monday 7th
Colchester area schools - Monday 7th
Saffron Walden County High - Wednesday 2nd
Newport, Joyce Frankland Academy - Monday 7th
UPDATE: timetables now available, see separate news item.
Essex-based independent bus company Stephensons, who already operate a number of services in the Witham and Braintree areas, have announced they will be stepping in to provide replacement services for many of the routes withdrawn by First from November 2nd.
The company will provide services, broadly at current frequencies, between Witham and Braintree via Silver End and Cressing (replacing 131/132), and from Braintree Bus Park to Bocking Deanery Gardens, and to Black Notley (service 21). Alternate journeys on the service from Witham will operate via Cressing Road and Stubbs Lane to replace service 30 in that area.
Managing Director Bill Hiron explained:
“We are a local company and very much part of the communities we serve. Once we learned of First’s decision to close its Braintree operation, we looked closely at what we could viably operate. Our bus services are highly regarded for their reliability and friendly drivers, and we have successfully taken on services withdrawn by others in the past, re-invigorating them with our local emphasis and high quality operation. Five brand new single-deck buses are on order for these new routes at a cost well in excess of £500,000 and we will be opening a small base in the town. We look forward to welcoming customers old and new to these new routes ‘’
The company will also be recruiting staff for its new depot, and would welcome applications from bus drivers currently working in the town who can deliver customer-focussed, friendly service and want to remain locally-based.
Fuller details of the new services, including timetable leaflets will be available in the coming weeks from Witham and Braintree Tourist Information Centres and details will also be on this website.
On Saturday September 12, the Aviva Mens Tour of Britain cycle race will be passing through Bury St Edmunds between about 1300 and 1400, leading to some short term road closures through the town centre and through Fornham. This will inevitably lead to some disruption to our buses, particularly Breeze 1 and 2, and to the service 16 bus due into Bury at 1300 and leaving at 1330. Buses may have to park up whilst the road is blocked.
Please bear with us, your drivers will do their best to run as close to normal times as they can, but there may be some gaps in the Breeze service.
You can read more about the race HERE - why not use our buses to get into town to see the race and avoid the hassle of parking.
Large operator drops local service, Stephensons save the day!
Bus 9 is currently on diversion, instead of using Churchill Road our buses have been diverted along Panfield Lane by the Police because of a fallen tree.
From September 1st, Stephensons will be operating all three buses on these services to Saffron Walden County High School and Joyce Frankland Academy at Newport. There are changes to the morning bus times, primarily because of a revised registration time at JFA which means buses need to arrive there at 0825 for an 0830 start. We are also allowing a little extra time on some sections of route in light of our experience to date.
The new bus times are on our site HERE and update the timetable we originally published.
To avoid overcrowding on individual buses and improve safety at certain stops, season tickets will only be valid on the specific bus shown on the ticket (either 417, 418 or 419) and should be presented to the smartcard reader on boarding on every trip, morning and afternoon. Passengers without a valid pass will be required to pay the daily cash fare to the driver. Cash fares are available on bus for journeys between any two stops on all three buses.
Due to the closure of Collingwood Road from The Avenue to Newland St for roadworks, expected to start at 2000 hours each evening this week, buses on routes 38 & 90 will divert via The Avenue and Newland St. Any passengers normally boarding in Collingwood Rd should instead use the stop opposite The George in Newland St.
The diversion will only apply from the time that the closure is implemented each night, daytime buses are unaffected.
From MONDAY SEPTEMBER 7, times of the first buses on the 18 will be changing to ensure an on-time arrival at Newport Joyce Frankland Academy.
The 0700 from Steeple Bumpstead into Haverhill will instead run at 0655.
The 0728 from Haverhill to Saffron Walden and Newport will run 10 MINUTES EARLIER at all stops; this will apply on all days of operation, Monday to Saturday.
These changes take effect from the first day of the new term at Joyce Frankland Academy, Monday September 7. For detailed times, click HERE.
From the start of the autumn term, on bus cash fares to most schools that we serve in Essex will be increasing, generally by 10p (single) or 20p (return). To get the best value, why not buy a term ticket, which offers a discount over paying daily. To see prices for your specific journey, go to the ticketing section of our website HERE.
If you are paying daily, please help to keep the bus on time by having the correct money ready, if possible. The driver can only carry a limited amount of change. Thanks!
[Different fares increases apply to buses 417/418/419 and the new Maldon-Heybridge-Hatfield Peverel to Chelmsford 673].
From the start of the new school term, the day and weekly fares on buses 14/15 (and variations of those routes) will be increased to:
Student day return £6.20
Student weekly ticket £28.50.
Please help the driver by having the right money ready if possible.