Following our report here on the removal of the Number 3 and Number 1 service, we are pleased to report that a replacement Number 3 bus service is now in operation.
You will be aware of the decision by Regal Busways to withdraw their commercial bus services 1 and 3. Regal’s decision left the County Council in a difficult position as analysis suggested that several settlements would be left without or with a severely reduced service, with a significant impact on residents – particularly older people, younger people and people using the bus to access work or medical appointments – whereas the County Council’s budget for supporting local bus services was fully committed. As a result, it has taken some time to reach a resolution, but we do have a positive outcome for most areas affected.
Officers have worked with service providers to identify a replacement for service 3 that is both affordable to the County Council and that meets the needs of as many residents as possible. Unfortunately, we are not in a positon to be able to replace service 1, although people will still be able to travel from Canvey Island to Chelmsford by changing buses in Southend or Basildon.
On this basis, the County Council has awarded a contract to Essex and Suffolk DaRT CIC to run a replacement for Service 3 using a 16 seat minibus, subject to a call-in period that ends on 5 January 2018. The new service will run to the existing route and offers broadly comparable journey opportunities. This is a Monday to Friday Service (a full timetable is attached for reference) and will be published via Traveline, but stops include Daws Heath, Rettendon, Battlesbridge, Rawreth and East Hanningfield, as well as Chelmsford, Rayleigh and Southend. There are both peak and off peak timed journeys. As the operator has to source vehicles and crew, we do not currently have a starting date for the new contract, but can advise that it has been contracted to run until 27 July 2020. We will contact you again when the start date has been finalised.
The replacement of Service 3 has required the Council to commit to significant additional funding and I would urge residents to make use of the service as its future beyond 2020 will be largely dependent on its continued use. For more information about the service operation please visit Traveline: www.traveline.info/se.”
A PDF timetable for the new service can be found here