Coronavirus (COVID-19) Service Updates


We are pleased to announce that following government advice, from Monday 12th October 2020, most of our routes will revert back to pre-COVID timetables. Click here for timetables This will help to meet the predicted higher levels of demand as people return to work and education, and allow customers to effectively practice social distancing where applicable.

Generally, there is capacity on most of our services, although the busiest period tends to be 0800-1130 & 1500-1800.

We have arranged ‘duplicate’ vehicles on certain local bus services with busy journeys at peak times. Generally, schoolchildren will be asked to use the duplicate vehicle, which will follow the service bus. This will in most cases be a coach, and will carry the route number with an ‘S’ suffix (so for example, a duplicate on route 81 will display 81S). Students should show their pass to the driver or pay a fare in the usual way.

We have also organised ‘standby’ vehicles at key points across our network, to deal quickly with any overloading problems that arise and allowing us to maintain social distancing.

The situation in relation to COVID-19 is fast-moving, and coupled with the unpredictability of loadings in September, this may result in further timetable changes. As soon as these are confirmed, we will communicate the information to our customers here.

As the levels of demand increase, it is very important that our customers familiarise themselves with COVID-19 safety guidance when travelling by bus.

From 1st September, normal ENCTS pass time restrictions will resume, and free travel for NHS workers will end.

We continue to work hard to provide services that meet the needs of our customers, and especially key workers, throughout these very difficult times. We have some colleagues self-isolating or shielding, and so dealing with emails and phone calls is a challenge. This website will be updated regularly, so please check back frequently to keep updated on service amendments.


Current service patterns are as follows:


1 Pitsea Service resumes 6th July
105/107 Walton Full service resumes 1st September
12 Wickford Full service resumes 1st September
14 Wakering Full service resumes 1st September
16 Wethersfield Full service resumes 6th July
17 Leigh-on-Sea Service resumes 8th June
200/220 Dengie Full service resumes week commencing 1st September
21 Braintree Full service resumes 12th October
24 Southchurch Full service has resumed
265 Brentwood Normal Service Timetable
288 Maldon Normal Service Timetable
30 Braintree Full service resumes 12th October
301 Bishops Stortford Full service resumes 6th July
313/A Saffron Walden Full service resumes 1st September
34 Saffron Walden Normal Service Timetable
38/38A Braintree Full service resumes 10th August
39 Witham Revised Timetable commencing 8th June
5/6 Stansted Full service has resumed.
59/590/60 Saffron Walden Full service resumes 6th July
60 Canewdon Full service resumes 8th June
61 Fossetts Park Service resumes 8th June
6a Leigh Station Service resumes 6th July
7 Rochford Revised Timetable commencing 30th March
71/72/71C Brentwood Full service resumes 1st September
9 Great Holland Full service resumes 1st September
9/9a Great Bardfield Full service resumes 12th October
90 Maldon Full service resumes 10th August
Breeze 1 Bury St Edmunds Full service resumes  8th June
Breeze 2 Bury St Edmunds Full service resumes  8th June
14/15 Haverhill  Full timetable has resumed
16 Newmarket Full timetable resumes 1st September

Peak times services to schools will be running normally from the start of the Autumn term. These will temporarily be restricted to carry students and school staff only, and as such social distancing is not required.  Where several schools travel on one bus, please follow any guidance given (for example, one school on the lower deck and one on the upper). 

Keeping our colleagues and customers safe during Covid-19

We have introduced enhanced cleaning procedures throughout our operations. All touchpoints in our buses are sanitised regularly, this includes grab rails, luggage areas, windows, cash trays, ticket machine housings, entrance doors and any other areas which passengers may touch, in order to help prevent the transmission of the virus. In addition, we use a ‘fogging’ system on our bus interiors which coats all surfaces in an anti-bacterial coating. We are encouraging our colleagues to wash their hands at regular intervals, and they are also issued with gloves, masks and hand sanitiser for their personal use. Buses circulate air every time they come to a bus stop and most of our buses also have windows that can be opened at any time.

Who may and may not travel?

Following recent Government advice, Stephensons are pleased to welcome you back aboard our buses.

We request if you feel unwell in any way that you do not travel on any off our services.

If you have coronavirus-like symptoms, stay at home and call 111 if you need help.

Reduced capacity on vehicles

The seating capacity of our buses has temporarily been reduced to the range displayed on the vehicle*. No standing is allowed. The exact capacity will vary depending on those passengers who can sit closer together from the same household, and our drivers have been asked to use their discretion. This is in order to help customers to maintain effective social distancing when traveling, and to make our services COVID-19 secure for all who need to use them. This may mean in some cases that your driver may ask you not to board, and to wait for the next bus. If your bus displays “Bus Full” please await the next bus. Drivers are asked to report such instances and if there are frequent examples, we will provide extra capacity. Please support our colleagues by remembering to practice social distancing both whilst waiting at the bus stop and onboard- keep your distance from those who don’t live with you and use common sense, and remember it is compulsory to wear a face covering (with certain exemptions).

We also advise that you try to travel before the last service of the day, to avoid the risk of the last bus being full. Should this be the case you will have to arrange your own transport.

*Note that capacity on dedicated school buses remains as normal, saying that standing is not permitted, and any facing seats and those immediately adjacent to the driver are out of use.

Temporary Perspex screens

Temporary Perspex screens have been added to the cab area all vehicles. These reduce the chance of virus transmission between customers and colleagues, and are cleaned nightly with a chemical that should prevent the virus settling on the screen for up to 72 hours.

Cordoned off seats

We have cordoned off those seats closest to the driver, and any seats which face each other less than 2m apart, to aid social distancing. Please help keep everyone safe by not sitting in them.

Bus travel guidelines

We have put up both physical and digital signage to remind customers of social distancing etiquette and safety when traveling by bus during the pandemic. Unless you are traveling with members of the same household, please sit next to a window, with an empty seat next to you (and where possible, in front of and behind you). Do not stand.

Once you’ve purchased your ticket or showed your pass, please move quickly to a seat and sit down. When alighting, please do not stand on or near the platform area adjacent to the driver.

Please keep bus windows open where possible to ensure fresh air circulation.

Contactless up to £45

Many customers have asked if we still accept cash bus fares during this time and we can confirm that we do, however we actively encourage you to use contactless or mobile payments (up to £45) where possible.

Hand sanitisers, protective gloves and face coverings.

We do not provide hand sanitiser on board our buses. We recommend that customers carry their own and use it prior to boarding and upon alighting from buses, or wear gloves if they prefer. NOTE that it is compulsory to wear a face covering when using public transport and this includes our bus services (there are certain, limited exceptions).

If you are exempt for wearing a face covering, you may choose to use a card or badge to avoid being challenged by our drivers. Such badges are produced by the Government. There is however, no legal requirement to do so.  Click here for templates.

Driving colleagues have been issued with masks, hand sanitiser and protective gloves to help them stay clean, and disinfectant wipes to clean the cab area whenever taking over a vehicle from a colleague.

Assistance for Disabled Travellers

Our drivers will still assist unaccompanied wheelchair users on and off the bus where required, though will practice social distancing wherever possible. Please wear a face covering, and remember that our colleagues are limited to providing basic assistance in the current circumstances.

General Information

The health and safety of our customers and colleagues is our number one priority.

We are following the latest advice from Public Health England, the National Health Service, the World Health Organisation and transport industry bodies.

As the situation evolves, we will continue to engage with government, follow the guidance from public health bodies, and provide advice and updates to you on our services.


For more information, please go to the NHS website:


Government advice Website

Information last updated 26th August 2020