Safer, Greener, Healthier: Essex takes the first step towards a better bus network

Lifestyle / Wed 30th Jun 2021 at 07:57am

ESSEX has taken the first step in a long-term strategy to transform its bus network by working with bus operators to enable them to provide more buses and better services, to help people make sustainable transport choices.

Essex County Council and Essex bus operators will work together to develop a package of measures which will transform the bus network over the coming years, with a long-term goal to grow the county network, reduce carbon and air quality emissions from car traffic as well as reducing congestion, supporting jobs and the local economy and making our communities better places to live.

Using the Bus Services Act 2017, Essex County Council will create an Enhanced Partnership in Essex.

An Enhanced Partnership (EP) is an approach which allows operators and councils to work together to make legally binding commitments on everything from ticketing and fares to service frequency.

It includes a clear vision of the improvements that the EP is aiming for – this is known as an EP plan. The EP plan is then supported by EP schemes which set out the changes that will be made, such as more buses on a busy route. 

Cllr Lee Scott, Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, said: “I’m really excited to take this first step in transforming the way we travel in Essex to make it safer, greener and healthier.  Buses are a great way to get around, to invest in your community, the environment and the local economy and jobs.  

“Buses have already seen a positive change – you can track them on your phone, pay by card or app and work or relax while you travel.  During the Covid-19 pandemic buses have provided a lifeline for key workers and essential journeys.  We want them to come back better and stronger.  The bus operators, drivers and support staff have done a fantastic job over the past year keeping the network running.  I am looking forward to working with them to bring even more buses to Essex”.

The decision by ECC cabinet on Tuesday 22 June to proceed with an Enhanced Partnership is the first step in what will be a long-term transformation.  Further details will be set out in Essex’s Bus Service Improvement Plan in the autumn.  

Recovery from Covid-19 will take some time to deliver in the bus travel network and there may be short term changes in the network where usage has been lower.

Essex County Council’s statement of intent, which formally signals the start of the process can be found here.

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3 Comments for Safer, Greener, Healthier: Essex takes the first step towards a better bus network:

Tony Durcan
2021-06-30 08:23:44

We should welcome this initiative as one of the legacies from the former Labour cabinet member for environmental Danny Parton was a sustainable public transport service that reach into local areas. Making this the first choice to get around Harlow. Affordable and dependable. Danny will be watching.

2021-06-30 09:12:41

Does the plan include Hydrogen fuel buses?That would be greener. Batteries in battery driven vehicles make them environmentally damaging because the mining, processing and recycling processes are either polluting (mining) or consume vast amounts of energy. The metals used are also in short supply. Thus even the old trolley buses could have probably been greener if we had had wind turbines to generate the electricity! Great if there's more affordable frequent, reliable and cleaner buses though!

2021-07-01 00:53:51

The last 'improvement' made by ECC to Harlow bus services resulted in a cut to evening services & reduction of Sunday Town services to a 2 hourly frequency which has made them almost useless.

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