Will The County Council Subsidise A Rayleigh Bus Service?




When Firstbus diverted the no. 24 bus from the London Road area and sent it to Asda instead, this caused a lot of unhappiness for bus users in Grange and Sweyne Park wards. The no. 24 bus was particularly valued as although it was only once per hour, it was a lot more reliable than the no. 25 bus that is supposed to come every half-hour.

So when a public meeting was arranged for tonight to discuss the situation, it’s not surprising that over 100 people attended. Mr Dorr, the Manager Director of Fisrtbus came along to listen and respond..

Feelings were soon running very high. One person complained that the bus fleet was a disgrace – most buses were rattling, shaking and dirty and should be replaced. Another man said that to get to a 2:00 pm appointment today, he had had to aim to catch the 1:00 pm no. 25 bus in case the 1:30 pm bus didn’t turn up. So he got to the bus stop at 12:50 pm, and the bus didn’t come until 1:25 pm! One retired businesswoman said she thought Firstbus marketed their buses very poorly. Another lady complained about the lack of an evening bus service.

But the main complaint was about the shifting away of the no. 24 route. Mr Dorr was giving a pretty rough ride by his customers (pardon the pun). However he pointed out that he had to run things on a commercial basis , the no 24 route had been losing money and bus services had been hit by 1) the deregulation of buses in 1985 under Mrs Thatcher 2) the new system of concessionary fares which produced less funding for bus companies and 3) the soaring cost of fuel.

When Mr Dorr said that when the route was diverted it had yielded 700 more passengers in a 3-month period than before, he was almost drowned out by the noises of sheer disbelief from the public (although 700 passengers in three month period is only about 8 per day!)

The only real signs of progress were that Mr Dorr said he would be asking the County Council for a subsidy to help finance an extra service along the London Road area – although the service to Asda was likely to stay.

All in all, a good meeting that might just lead to something,

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  • Mr Dorr is obviously living in cloud cuckoo land! Perhaps he needs to come and see just how many people get off the No24 at ASDA, and just how many get on!

    If the bus service was not viable for financial reasons when the service was running along London Road at one bus per hour – how can it be viable now, with only an 8 patron increase?

    There is clearly more to this story than Mr Dorr is prepared to let on!

  • I wonder if other bus services such as the 20 has lost 700 passengers in the same time?

    Why can’t it go in a circle – carrying on from Asda down Rawreth Lane and going round to London Road therefore everyone would be happy?

  • It’s all very well people complaining about the ‘loss’ of a bus service, but has anyone given some thought to those who do not live within walking distance of Asda and only have the 2 hourly Regal bus service.

    Although I do live within walking distance of Asda I regularly used taxis or my personal chauffer (otherwise known as my husband) to get about as the first Regal bus did not arrive until after 10:00. Since the No24 has been running I regularly use the service thus saving me money as I only pay £2.70 for a day rover instead of approx £6.00 each way into Rayleigh. I only wish that the 24 or some other service could take in Battlesbridge?!!!?

  • £6 pound each way to/from Rayleigh! Which Asda do you live near to, the one in Basildon?

    Even at today’s prices you could drive to Bluewater and back for that money. Public transport is obviously a luxury only the well-off can afford. A taxi can’t cost much more than that.

  • ST1 my nearest Asda is the one in Rawreth Lane, and yes it is £6 each way to get a taxi to/from my house to/from the rank in Rayleigh High Street. Public transport is not a luxury for those of us who do not drive, but a necessity and now that the No24 starts/terminates from Asda I can now afford to travel into Rayleigh at least 4 times a week instead of just once.

  • I for one am opposed to this bus service terminating in Priory Chase.

    Priory Chase is NOT suitable for a bus stop, the bus stop is currently on double yellow lines and there is already more than enough traffic created by ASDA patrons, delivery HGV’s, Rayleigh Leisure Centre, school run traffic to St Nicholas Primary and local residents.
    The single decker buses are unable to navigate the mini roundabout in Priory Chase without reversing into oncoming traffic or mounting the pavement!
    I can appreciate that a bus route is desirable for many people BUT surely this should have been thought of in the planning stages of the site and subsequent revised road layout at the junction of Rawreth Lane and Priory Chase?
    A bus stop on Rawreth Lane would be far more suitable and also safer for pedestrians and other road users!
    As Mark says above why can’t an additional stop on Rawreth Lane be added to the original route of the 24 making it a circular service?

    IN ADDIDTION to this what happened to the proposed public foot and cycle path across the waste ground behind Rayleigh Leisure Centre linking Priory Chase to Rayleigh Town centre and the Railway station?
    I appreciate that this would need proper funding for lighting etc.. but this would make an enviromentally friendly route to Rayleigh for shoppers, school children, residents, leisure centre users and commuters alike…

  • TWR – Thank you for your thoughtful comments, they are what this website is for !

    You used the phrase ‘planning stages of the site’ . Trying to look at things impartially, I think the planning of the site has been farcical at times. The road that is now Temple Way squeezed through the planning committee – and that was one of the worse decisions I think I’ve seen. The road is too narrow , hence the yellow lines. But those are not OFFICIAL yellow lines , they are not enforceable, they have just been painted at someone’s request to ease the situation for lorries.

    In the next 12 months County Highways should adopt the road, then the County Council will starting taking legal steps to make the yellow lines official (Asda agreed to pay the legal costs) and at that point residents can formally object to the lines going in.

    If there had been slightly fewer homes and a smaller store, that would have left room for a slightly wider road, some community uses such as a doctors surgery, more parking, more room to expand the leisure centre.

    And you are right, Rayleigh should have a swimming pool.

    If you want to discuss matters in more detail, email me and I ‘ll be glad to come round.

  • TWR – it is almost like you and I are singing from the same hymn sheet. There is a bus stop already on Rawreth Lane at the bottom of the ASDA car park. It seems to me that the bus company have no intention of listening to the people of Rayleigh. Priory Chase residents do not want the bus stop, I don’t want a bus terminating inches from the corner of my property, and London Road residents want their service back. If the bus company amended their route to go down Rawreth Lane, along the A1245 and along London Road, everyone will be happy, and there will then be no need for a bus to have its rest break on a narrow road causing congestion. At the end of the day, this all would require someone to use some common sense, and I am sorry to say it seems that that is something that many people seem to lack these days!

  • How did we get to this point in the first place. Surely people in positions of power, those who have the responsibility of ensuring the well being of residents should have stood up and said what was happening is wrong! If it’s overdevelopment, lack of public transport or retail outlets does not matter one bit. Councillors should, no must, work for their residents first not multi-national companies. We are the people who should dictate what decisions our council makes not what the ‘CEO’ or council leader wants to do. This council has unfortunately taken on the Maggie Thatcher ideal, they know what is right for us, well they don’t.

  • I use the 24 bus going along the Rawreth Lane, we had the diamond bus going to Chelmsford for a long time which was originally every half hour and then an hour and now has been replaced by the number 3 a 2 hourly service. For me the number 24 gets me to both Asda and Sainsburys. The only other bus that runs along downhall road is the 20 which is standing room only at 9.30am.

    I know a few more people would use it if they could easily get on and off it with trolleys or pushchairs, the entrance with a pole in the middle and a few stairs makes it impossible.

    Why cant the bus actually go into asda from a slip road in Rawreth Lane, the Asda car park is there but I have never seen it full of cars especially at the Rawreth Lane end. Or how about it going on to Macro and turning there, The car park is huge there.

  • I really like your thinking Betty. If the 24 went on to Macro – the bus company could find it has an increase in patronage if those that work on the industrial estate there have public transportation that can take them to and from the station.

    Also, as it’s not near a residential area, it won’t cause any nuisance when turning.

  • Why not get the 24 to go all the way along Rawreth Lane and on to Battlesbridge. I’m sure that more people would use it and maybe the bus company may decide to give us two busses an hour or am I being too optimistic?

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