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Arriva Southend is a division of Arriva Southern Counties, a subsidiary of transport group Arriva which operates bus services in and around the Southend-on-Seamarker, Rochfordmarker, Rayleighmarker, Basildonmarker, and Thurrockmarker areas of Essex. They operate most routes east of Southend and a few routes west of Southend, and compete to a limited extent with four other local operators with services in the same areas: First Essex, NIBS, Regal Busways, and Stephensons of Essex.

History

The company was founded in 1901 as Southend Corporation Transport, was renamed Southend Transport in 1974, and formerly owned and operated by Southend Borough Council. It began operating motorbuses in 1912, and became a limited company on October 26, 1986 due to the 1985 Transport Act. Southend Transport was involved in a price war with Thamesway (now part of First Essex) that resulted in the bankrupting of both companies. Southend Transport was sold to the British Bus group in June 1993 for a reported £1 , which in turn was taken over by the Cowie group.

Cowie was renamed Arriva in August 1998 and Southend Transport was renamed Arriva serving Southend as part of this rebranding. Although the 'serving Southend' local identity caption has now been phased out, due to the difficulty of keeping them updated as buses were transferred between different Arriva subsidiaries , it can still be seen on the sides of some of their buses.

On January 28, 2000, the original Southend garage at 87 London Road dating from the foundation of Southend Corporation Transport was closed and demolished shortly afterwards, with a new one constructed in Short Street, Southend-on-Sea. The old London Road site is now occupied by a retail park.

Arriva Southend had continued the route X1 commuter service to London inherited from Southend Transport, latterly as the Green Line 721 service. In 2001 operation of route X1 was taken over by Stephensons of Essex, which withdrew it in July 2008.

A restructuring in 2002 saw overall control of Arriva Colchester and Arriva Southend pass to Arriva Southern Counties from Arriva East Herts & Essex.

On 30 March 2008 both commercially run routes from the Grays garage (routes 373 and 383) were withdrawn, with the buses used for these routes moving to Southend garage. The Grays garage now only operates the Transport for London (TfL) contraced routes.

Criticisms

Arriva Southend has been criticised by users and the Southend Area Bus Users' Group for withdrawing services which it considered no longer economically viable due to low passenger numbers even when parts of the route were profitable when Southend Borough Council withdrew bus subsidies of up to £6 per passenger as part of budget cuts in 2005. On 21 January 2008 Southend Area Bus Users' Group and Councilor Steve Aylen successfully campaigned for improvements to route 6A after having been withdrawn in 2005. On 31 March 2008, route 7 was extended at the suggestion of Great Wakering Parish Council and the Rochford Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, who are subsidising the service. The company trials the operation of new routes to gague service demand, and makes routes permanent if there are enough passengers to support them being run.

It has also been criticised by Southendmarker Borough Council for the age of its bus fleet, as some of its buses are nearly 20 years old and many do not have low-floor, easy-access step-free entry which is important for older people, as Southend has an ageing population with the most senior citizens in the country, although most areas do not have full low-floor networks yet, and buses are built to have working lives of about 20 years. Arriva Southend did introduce some new Dennis Trident 2 Alexander ALX400 low-floor double-decker buses branded for use on routes 7 and 8 in 2000, but they were subseqeuently redistributed to Arriva Maidstone and Arriva East Herts & Essex in 2004/5 as Arriva decided that they were not getting enough passengers to justify their use. However, many of the older buses have now been replaced with more modern ones, and this process will continue over the next month to replace the remainder of the older double-deckers, although a few step entrance vehicles will remain.

Further criticism came from passengers when Arriva Southend and First Essex decided to withdraw their "Day Rover" ticket, which allowed unlimited journeys on the day of purchase on buses operated by both companies regardless of which company issued the ticket, so day tickets can now only be used on the buses of the company issuing them. They replaced it with a more expensive "Octopus" ticket which is issued by and can be used on any buses operated by Arriva Southend, First Essex, NIBS, Regal Busways and Stephensons of Essex in the Southend, Rochford and Castle Point districts, covering more bus operators and a wider area of Essex.

On 8 February 2009, Arriva reduced the frequency of services 7 and 8 to some areas, which angered some residents in Hockley and Hawkwellmarker, as it made it very difficult for them to get to and from Southend Hospital and Clements Hall Leisure Centre on time due to the 7 and 8 either running very late in the Shoebury area, or buses turning back before reaching their terminating point. The move also dismayed Rochford councillors. The Hockley Residents' Association also said that the figures for low customer numbers used to justify the frequency reduction were flawed. After receiving numorous complaints from Hockley residents, on June 7 2009 Arriva Southend extended some service 7 buses to Hockley Spa instead of terminating at Ashingdon Schools. This new change will be tested for 6 months before it is reviewed. Hawkwell residents then sent further complaints to the Essex County Council about service 8 not having evening services after 6:30pm since 2002. They demanded that one of the service 7 evening buses to become an 8 and divert to Hawkwell. Essex County Council said it would not be possible to add an evening service to service 8. Arriva Southend have also been criticised for running all of their services in the Shoeburyness area via Asda, after they changed the route of Service 1 to run through Asda instead of Elm Road.

Arriva Southend has started using an "undercover passenger" scheme to attempt to better understand problems and complaints with the changes they have made to their services, encouraging passengers to participate by offering them a week's free bus travel for rating the services they use.

Service 13 extension and new service

Arriva Southend, in conjunction with Southend Borough Council and First Essex, are bidding for £25 million from the Government over the next three years to fund improvements to bus services in Southend. If the money is granted, by late 2009 service 13 will be extended from Temple Sutton to Shoeburyness and include a Sunday service for at least 3 years, which could be extended if passenger numbers are financially viable. Also, a new bus service is planned, which will run from Garons Park via to Temple Sutton Leigh every 30 minutes between 6:30am and 7pm on Mondays to Saturdays, which could be run by either Arriva Southend or First Essex. Southend Council's bid submission included plans to improve infrastructure at bus stops, such as new bus shelters, information panels displaying real time passenger information, no-stopping zones at bus stops, and raised kerbs to aid step-free boarding and alighting where necessary.

Current routes

For a list of all bus services in Essex please see List of bus routes in Essex.
Route From To Via Notes
1 Shoeburynessmarker, Renown Rayleigh Rail Stationmarker North Shoebury, Thorpe Baymarker, Bournes Green, Southchurchmarker, Southendmarker, Leighmarker, Hadleighmarker, Thundersleymarker This route is operated using low-floor buses.
4 Southend Travel Centre Landwick Police Lodge Southchurch, Bournes Green, North Shoebury, Great Wakeringmarker The 4 does not run on Sundays as service 4A runs instead (see below).
4A Southend Travel Centre Landwick Police Lodge or Shoeburyness East Beach Southchurch, Bournes Green, Great Wakering The last journey Monday to Saturday, and all Sunday journeys, go to Shoeburyness East Beach as a 4A service instead of Landwick.
5 "Basildon direct" Southend Travel Centre Lakesidemarker Bus Station Leigh-on-Sea, Hadleigh, Thundersley, New Thundersley, Pitseamarker, Basildonmarker, Basildon Hospital, Chadwell St Marymarker, Graysmarker, South Stiffordmarker, West Thurrockmarker One bus every 30 minutes goes to Basildon Bus Station, whilst one bus every hour goes to Lakeside via Basildon. No service on Sundays.
6A Belfairs, Woodcutters Leigh Rail Stationmarker North Leigh Service operated during peak hours and Tuesdays only.
7 Shoeburyness, Renown Rayleigh Rail Station North Shoebury, Thorpe Bay, Southchurch, Southend, Prittlewellmarker, Southend Hospital, Rochfordmarker, Golden Cross, Ashingdonmarker, Hockleymarker Runs past Shoeburyness Renown to Great Wakering Church and Little Wakeringmarker Corner on Mondays to Saturdays. Low-floor easy access buses have now been re-introduced onto this service.
8 Shoeburyness, Renown Rayleigh Rail Station North Shoebury, Thorpe Bay, Southchurch, Southend, Prittlewell, Southend Hospital, Rochford, Golden Cross, Hawkwellmarker, Hockley Low-floor easy access buses have now been re-introduced onto this service.
9 Shoeburyness, East Beach Rayleigh Rail Station North Shoebury, Cambridge Town, Thorpe Esplanade, Southend, Prittlewell, Nobles Green, Eastwoodmarker
10 Pagleshammarker Eastend, Plough and Sail Pub Rayleigh High Street Canewdonmarker, Ashingdon, Lower Hockley, Hullbridgemarker Service runs on Wednesdays only. (Hail and ride throughout.)
13 "...the sutton shuttle..." Southend Travel Centre Temple Sutton, Cokefield Avenue Sutton Road Smaller AlexanderDennis Mini Pointer Dart single-decker low-floor buses are used on this service.
17 Southend Travel Centre Eastwood, Tesco Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliffmarker, Southend Hospital, Prittlewell Service runs on Thursdays only.
18 Eastwood Woodcutters Pub Eastwood Woodcutters Pub Stroud Green, Hawkwell, Hockley, Ashingdon, Golden Cross, Stroud Green Circular service, runs on Fridays only.
29 "the twenty-nine" Southend Travel Centre Belfairs, Belgrave Road Prittlewell, North Leigh
33 Shoeburyness, Blackgate Road Southend, Fossets Park North Shoebury, Bournes Green, Southchurch Service runs on Mondays only.
44 Lakeside Bus Station Grays Bus Station Uplands Estate, Garrison Estate, Purfleetmarker, West Thurrockmarker Service runs on Sundays only, weekday and Saturday service provided by Ensignbusmarker. Operated under contract to Thurrockmarker Council.
150 Lakeside Bus Station Basildon Bus Station West Thurrockmarker, South Stiffordmarker, Grays, Heath, Stifford Clays, Orsettmarker Hospital, Stanford-le-Hopemarker, Corringhammarker Service runs on Sundays only. Operated under contract to Thurrock Council.
256 Noak Hillmarker, Tees Drive Hornchurchmarker, St. George's Hospitalmarker Harold Woodmarker, Ardleigh Green Service operated under contract to Transport for London using buses from Grays garage.
346 Upminster Stationmarker Upminster Park Estate, Waycross Road Cranhammarker Service operated under contract to Transport for London using buses from Grays garage.
370 Lakeside Bus Station Romford Rail Stationmarker Chafford Hundredmarker, South Ockendonmarker, North Ockendonmarker, Corbets Tay, Upminstermarker, Hornchurchmarker, Gidea Parkmarker Service operated under contract to Transport for London using buses from Grays garage.
401 Hullbridge, The Anchor Pub Southend Travel Centre Rayleigh Rail Station, Thundersley Woodman's Arms Pub, SEEVIC Collegemarker, Hadleigh Church School bus service, runs along part of route 1 once a day in the morning on college days only.
402 Belfairs School Bournes Green Leigh Elms, Westcliff Plough, Victoria Circus Queensway, Southchurch White Horse School bus service, runs along part of route 1 once a day in the afternoon on schooldays only.
407 Greensward College, Hockley Shoeburyness, East Beach Ashingdon Schools, Golden Cross Post Office, Rochford East Street, Southend Airport Warners Bridge, Hobleythick Lane (for Southend Hospital), Civic Centre Victoria Avenue, Southend Travel Centre, Shoeburyness High Schoolmarker, Asda North Shoebury, Shoeburyness Renown School bus service, runs along part of route 7 once a day in the afternoon on schooldays only.
408 Thorpe Bay Rail Stationmarker Shoeburyness, East Beach Morning: Bournes Green, Southchurch White Horse, Woodgrange Drive Lifstan Way, Southend Travel Centre. Afternoon: Shoeburyness High School, Asda North Shoebury, Shoeburyness Renown School bus service, runs along part of route 7/8 once a day in the morning (first half) and afternoon (second half) on schooldays only.
499 Gallows Corner, Tescomarker Rush Green, Dagenham Road Harold Hill, Noak Hill, Romfordmarker, Becontree Heathmarker Service operated under contract to Transport for London using buses from Grays garage.


Route branding

In 2008, Arriva Southend began branding some of its low-floor Dennis Dart buses for specific routes with red and yellow vinyl stickers, beginning with route 29 as "the twenty-nine", then route 13 as "...the sutton shuttle..." and route 5 as "Basildon direct", with associated dedicated web sites for the 5 and 29. Some buses had previously been colour-coded, with route 1 red, route 5 dark blue and route 9 light green. This colour-coding has been retained on the timetables for these services, with route 5 now being light blue, routes 13 and 29 dark green, and route 17 purple.

Named buses

The four route 29 branded Dennis Darts were named by students at the Fairways Junior School in Belfairsmarker in conjunction with the launch of the twenty-nine:
  • 3391 - Blue Bird
  • 3392 - Friends of Fairways
  • 3421 - Pride of Fairways
  • 3431 - Bus Light Year


Fleet

Arriva Southend currently has a fleet of 62 buses in service, consisting of 55 single-deckers (54 low-floor) and 4 double-deckers. They also have one Ford Transit staff shuttle van, F580, one Ford Transit mechanics' van, V168, and one forklift truck, FLT80. Beginning in July 2008, some buses at the Southend depot had CCTV fitted, their roller blind destination displays replaced with scrolling LED displays, and a repaint, similar to previous mid-life refurbishments performed for Operation Overdrive. The 4 Volvo Olympian/Northern Counties Palatines are mainly used on services at school start/finish times as they require extra capacity. Low-floor easy-access buses are used on routes marked with

In August 2009, the last two Leyland Olympian double deckers with coach seats, 5404/5, which first entered service with Southend Transport in 1990, retired from service with Arriva Southend. Their retirement concided with a special event on Southend seafront with several vintage open-top buses running from Shoeburyness to Chalkwell. An Arriva Southend driver and bus enthusiast said: “The withdrawal of the last municipally-owned buses from the area is the end of another chapter in the history of Southend’s bus services. The Olympians have served us well and I’ll be sorry to see them go.” The Olympians have now been transferred to Tonbridgemarker in Kentmarker for use on school contract services.

Single deckers:

Double deckers:

See also



References

External links




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