First Essex has announced it will be introducing changes to bus services across Basildon, Thundersley and south Essex starting from today (April 17).

The changes come as a response to people travelling less often and having less certainty about how many times a day or week they require travel.

Why is First Essex changing its services?

A spokesman for the company said: "These changes are designed to deliver sustainable networks, that are easier to use and continue to provide the ability to travel around the towns and villages across the county on our services.

"Some buses will run earlier and later in the day, some more often, some less often and there will be new networks in the Basildon, Chelmsford and Colchester areas.

"Buses that connect the local suburbs to the centre of Basildon, Chelmsford and Colchester will be replaced by locally focussed services with simple, regular timetables, simple, easy to use fares starting at £2.50 for an adult and with new, newer, or fully refurbished vehicles being introduced over the coming months with a new red based colour scheme.

"The services that we provide to connect other towns and cities to these locations and each other will also start to see new, newer, or fully refurbished vehicles being introduced and will become Essex Bus services in our new exciting green based colour scheme.

"We have already simplified the fares in Chelmsford and Colchester and from the same date (17th April) we will be bringing the same flexible way to pay, for bus travel, by introducing Tap&Cap to Basildon.

"Unfortunately, we are having to increase a small number of ticket prices in South Essex. However, we are not increasing any other fares at this time in recognition of the fact we are all paying more for daily essentials.

"Fares increases will be necessary in the future as our costs are also increasing but we will try and keep these increases to a minimum."

Changes to the bus network in Basildon

A spokesman for First Essex said: "The local bus routes in Basildon, connecting the town centre with Pitsea and Laindon, will be replaced by the Basildon Shuttles network to make them more reliable and easier to understand. This network will operate with self-charging hybrid vehicles to reduce emissions in the town centre."

  • B1: Route B1 will run between Laindon, Fenton Way and Basildon via Durham Road, Laindon Station and Great Knightleys as routes 8/8A currently do.

The first bus will leave Laindon at 5.15am on Monday to Saturday (7am on Sundays and Bank Holidays) and will then leave Laindon up to every 10 minutes in the morning peak, every 12 minutes during the day and evening peak and then every 30 minutes up to 11pm.

On Saturdays, buses will run every 20 minutes for most of the day and every 30 minutes in the evening.

From Basildon the first bus will be 5.40am Monday to Saturday with the last bus leaving at 11.30pm Monday to Saturday (10pm on Sundays).

  • B2: Route B2 will again run from Laindon, Fenton Way and Basildon but will use the King Edward Drive leg of routes 8/8A to get to Laindon Station. From here, it will replace route 5 to Langdon Hills then run via Staneway to The Knares and along The Knares replacing route 5 to Basildon.

Customers in Langdon Hills will now have to wait on the other side of the road to go to Basildon. Buses will run every 30 minutes all day Monday to Saturday and hourly on Sundays.

  • B3: Route B3 will start at Pitsea Tesco and run via London Road to Pitsea Broadway where it will replace routes 5/5A/5B to Basildon. Buses will leave Pitsea every 12 minutes in the morning peak, every 15 minutes for the rest of the daytime on Mondays to Saturdays with buses every 30 minutes in the evenings until 11pm. The last bus will leave Basildon at 11.30pm.
  • B4: Route B4 will also start at Pitsea Tesco and run via London Road to Pitsea Broadway where it will replace 8 to Basildon via Wickford Avenue running every 20 minutes during the daytimes and every 30 minutes in the evening and on Sundays with the last bus leaving Basildon at 11.20pm (9.20pm Sundays).
  • B5: Route B5 will start from Pitsea Broadway (westbound) and run via Sandon Road and Luncies Road to Basildon as route 8A currently does. When arriving at Pitsea; B5 buses will terminate at Pitsea Broadway (eastbound).

Buses will again run every 20 minutes during the day, every 30 minutes in the evening Monday to Saturday, every 30 minutes on Sundays with the last bus from Basildon at 11.40pm (9.40pm Sundays).

Routes 22 and 28 will no longer travel via Cherrydown East to reach the Bus Station and will instead continue on Clayhill Road to reach the Bus Station.

As a result of the introduction of these services, routes 5/5A/5B and 8/8A will be withdrawn. The Basildon to Grays service currently provided by routes 5A and 5B is covered by route 200.

Changes to the bus network in South Essex

  • Route 9 (Basildon to Brentwood) is reduced in frequency to hourly with extra peak journeys to meet customer demand at the busiest times.
  • Route 16 (Wickford to Runwell) has new bus stops in Runwell and a minor timetable change.
  • Route 20 (Hullbridge – Southend) will now run every 20 minutes instead of every 15 minutes. 
  • To make journeys on route 21 (Canvey Island – Southend) more reliable, during peak times the route will not serve Morrisons (Northwick Road).
  • Route 21 will also now serve SEEVIC on all journeys but this means that Thundersley Village will no longer be served.
  • When buses reach Thames Drive they will replace route 26 along Thames Drive to serve Leigh-on-Sea Railway Station and Rectory Grove. Most journeys on route 21 will continue along Broadway and Leigh Road to London Road where they will then use Southbourne Grove (Westbourne Grove on journeys to Canvey Island) to reach Prittlewell Chase and Southend Hospital.
  • Some journeys will leave Rectory Grove via Station Road to serve the schools along Blenheim Chase before re-joining the main route at Prittlewell Chase. Buses will continue to terminate at Southend Travel Centre.
  • Route 21B is withdrawn and replaced by journeys at similar times on route 21.
  • Route 22 (Canvey Island to Basildon) is reduced in frequency to every 20 minutes and will be timetabled to work with route 28 between Benfleet and Basildon to provide a combined 10 minute service on this section of the route. Route 822 is withdrawn and replaced by journeys on route 21 that divert via Prittlewell Chase at school times.
  • Route 25 (Basildon to Southend) will now run every 20 minutes during the day on Monday to Friday instead of every 15 minutes.
  • Route 26 is withdrawn as it is mostly replaced by route 21. The section from Southend Travel Centre to Newington Avenue will now only be served by Stephenson’s route 24.
  • Route 27 (Canvey Island to Southend) is reduced to every 20 minutes but timetabled to provide a 10-minute service with route 28 between Benfleet and Southend. Route 827 is revised to stop at all stops along line of route and will run along the same roads as route 27 to Station Road in Leigh on Sea where it will operate as route 21 will do to the schools on Blenheim Drive and on to Southend.
  • Route 27X is withdrawn and replaced by short journeys on route 27 operating between Leigh Beck and Benfleet Station (and back in the afternoon) and additional journeys on SEEVIC college days between Leigh Beck and SEEVIC and back in the afternoon. 
  • Route 28 (Basildon to Southend) is reduced to every 20 minutes and will have better coordination with routes 22 and 27 to provide a bus every 10 minutes between Basildon and Benfleet and Benfleet and Southend.
  • There will be a bus every 15 minutes between Southend and Benfleet.
  • Route 100 between Basildon and Chelmsford will be replaced by route 300 using the same route and at the same times as route 100 currently does with newer buses being used. Route 100 will remain between Basildon and Lakeside with double deckers being used.
  • Route 200 will be reintroduced to replace routes 5A and 5B between Basildon and Grays. In Corringham buses will be diverted to serve more customers by turning from Southend Road into Springhouse Road to serve Corringham Town Centre before travelling along Abbots Drive and picking up the existing line of route. All journeys will run via Orsett Hospital and the route will run once an hour with extra journeys at the busiest times.

Stansted Airport service reintroduced

A spokesman for First Essex said: "Having successfully had significant numbers of new colleagues join us, we are able to reintroduce route X10 between Basildon and Chelmsford and on to Stansted Airport.

"More suitable vehicles are being refurbished to provide a more pleasant travelling environment as the route whisks you across the county.

"We are sorry that we had to remove this popular link, due to a lack of staff, but hope to see you onboard again as soon as possible."