onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003


Archive for Public Transport

Secrets Of The Piccadilly Line

How to tell what Piccadilly Line Station you are on even if you can’t read, how to make concrete attractive, plus gnomes , tilework and a failed spiral escalator…

Secrets Of The Central Line

Lots of quirky facts about the Central Line, including a secure Bank of England building, pretty Gants Hill, Alfred Hitchcock, and an underground munitions factory…

Hat-tip: Liberal England

That Bus Stop Issue

bus plan 0

Ron Oatham will be on BBC Essex tomorrow morning, talking about a certain bus stop….

Bus Stop Disagreement

bus plan 0

There was a meeting of the Local Highways Panel – and a disagreement over a bus stop in Rayleigh

A few months ago County Highways had been concerned that buses waiting at the bus stop in Hullbridge Road opposite the Hambro Parade shops might be delaying traffic. They suggested moving the bus stop onto the area of grass slightly to the south:

bus plan 1

(You can click on the plan to enlarge it). However at this week’s meeting County Highways officers explained that there wasn’t enough space to do this safely (it is on a bend) and now didn’t think moving it would make much difference anyway. They set out a series of options:

  • doing nothing,
  • removing the bus stop,
  • removing the bus stop and replacing it with two others,
  • removing the bus stop and replacing it with one other.
  • In the end, panel voted to remove the bus stop, and replace it with one new stop to the north, near Ferndale Road:

    bus plan 2

    There is £70,000 allocated in the budget for this (although the actual cost should be less) Chris Black argued against this, and suggested that things should be left as they are. He said that although the traffic in Rawreth Lane was very bad, this work wouldn’t make much difference ; the new stop wouldn’t be usable for buses coming along Rawreth Lane, making it more difficult for bus users in the vicinity ; it was an unnecessary spending of money.

    However most of the other councillors felt it was worth doing , and agreed to move the bus stop. Rather unusually, voting split along party lines, with 5 Conservatives and 1 UKIP voting for, and 1 Lib Dem (Chris Black) and 1 Green (Michael Hoy) voting against.

    You Can Respond To the County Bus Consultation

    One of our regulars readers, Sean, has pointed out the following consultation being carried out by the County Council:

    Review of the County Council’s Bus Strategy

    Essex County Council would like to hear your views as it starts a review of its Bus Strategy and how it provides financial support to local bus services. In this challenging economic climate it is very important that we focus our expenditure where it is really needed to ensure value for money for residents. This review will help to ensure that the bus services provided by the council meet, as far as possible, the essential needs of Essex. The outcome of the review will help to decide what types of service will be supported in future.

    This first consultation stage is designed to help us understand which types of supported bus service you value most. Individual services are not being considered for change at this stage. You will have the opportunity at a later stage to give your views on any proposed changes to individual services that may result from the review.
    To respond to the survey

    To respond online, please click here to answer the survey. The survey is open until 9 December 2013.

    Sean has also very helpfully sent us the following:

    In the Rochford District, Essex County Council provide support to the following services:

    Monday to Saturday
    7 ECC supports three services per hour between approx 0900 and 1500 to extend from Ashingdon Schools to Hockley Spa
    (see next description of cut)
    8 ECC supports one service per hour between approx 0900 and 1500 to extend from Golden Cross to Hockley Spa
    If support for extending weekday bus services beyond Ashingdon Schools / Golden Cross were cut there would only be an hourly service on the number 8 via Hawkwell and a half-hourly service between Hockley and Southend compared to every ten minutes at present.
    10 ECC supports the whole timetable for this Wednesday only bus service between Canewdon and Rayleigh
    If this support for this service were cut there would be no service.
    14 ECC suports the whole timetable between Foulness/Shoebury and Southend via Barling
    If this support for this service were cut there would be no service.
    60 ECC suports the whole timetable between Canewdon and Southend via Ballards Gore and Rochford
    If this support for this service were cut there would be no service.

    1 ECC supports from 2047 between the Thames Drive (almost Hadleigh) to Rayleigh section .
    If this were cut the last Number 1 to reach Rayleigh would depart Southend at 1920 (Hadleigh 1947, Thundersley 1955). The last bus to reach Southend would depart from Rayleigh at 2006 (Thundersley 2017, Hadleigh 2025)
    7 ECC supports the 1829 (1820) journey from Rayleigh to Southend
    If this was cut there would be a one and a half hour gap between the last number 8 and the next number 7, or a two hour gap between services if the number 8 service were also cut.
    8 ECC supports the whole number 8 timetable between Southend and Rayleigh.
    If this was cut there would be no bus service in Hawkwell and only an hourly service between Southend – Rochford – Hockley – Rayleigh on Sundays.
    20 Sunday – Southend to Hullbridge 1925 & 2050 journeys. Hullbridge to Southend 2014 journey. Hullbridge to Rayleigh 2135 journey.
    If support for these services was cut the last bus from Hullbridge on Sundays would be the 1852 and the last bus to Hullbridge would depart Southend at 1822 (Rayleigh 1901)

    Not Exactly Regal?

    We’ve had an email from someone who has a relative living near Asda in Rawreth Lane. They write:


    The only service that runs along Rawreth Lane to the high street is a No 3 which is run by

    Regal Busways, this service is not reliable as you can not depend on it running on time or

    if it will even turn up.


    During the bad winter we have just had it has left these people, who are of senior years stranded.

    The state of the buses this company run on this route are filthy internally especially through

    the winter, and has not improved through the better weather.


    Does anyone else have the same view?

    The 3 Service

    Someone asked onlineFOCUS for the timetable for the no.3 bus service to Hyde Hall (a lovely place to visit, especially when the weather is good). We have emailed the timetable to that person, but for anyone else who is interested, here is the timetable. (click on the images to enlarge them)

    Complaints About Buses?

    We’ve been hearing quite a few complaints about buses not stopping when they should.

    If you have any complaints about a bus service, the best person to contact appears to be:

    Paul Rowden – Senior Local Bus Officer
    Passenger Transport – Essex County Council
    Tel 0845 603 7631

    He told the Rawreth Parish Clerk

    “Regarding alleged failures to stop etc, we would always urge these to be reported as close as possible to the time they occur so the patterns can be tracked and drivers investigated. While we are not responsible for service 1, we partly contribute to services 3, R3, 2 and 6 and can often investigate the problem…..”

    Other Highways Items….

    Other highways stuff discussed yesterday included:

    Watery Lane – this is almost beyond parody now. We had one business-owner  who explained how Watery Lane has been officially closed for flooding for the last 34 working days. Currently the water is 18 inches deep. Sometimes lorries will come through the water when it isn’t too deep, other time they have to drive a van out to collect the stuff from the lorry somewhere down the road. Apparently the collapsed culvert which is causing the immediate problem can’t be repaired by County Highways until the summer

    Tescos at London Road Rayleigh – we agreed to spend £7000 on bollards on the grass verge to prevent vehicles parking.

    Spa Road , Hockley  – County Councillor Bonnie Hart said there was ‘utter chaos’ near Sainsbury’s, and we agree to spend £20,000 on railings

    The three entrance points to Barling – we agreed to spend £30,000 on ‘village gateways’, to make it extra clear to drives they were entering a 30 mph zone through the village.

    Old London Road , Rawreth. We decided NOT to sopend money on signage stating there might be pedestrians in the road. However Chris Black did get the officers to look once again at lowering the speed limit here.

    Popes Walk , Rayleigh We refused a request to remove cobble stones because of anti-social behaviour.

    Cycleways and Bus Shelters . We decided not to spend any money on new cycleways or replacement bus shelters.



    Regal Bus Worries

    Rawreth Parish Council have been advised by the Essex County Council bus team that from March 3rd, two Regal Busways routes are being withdrawn, and a third one reduced. It’s very disappointing news. It would have a drastic impact for some Rawreth residents in particular:

    Service :Regal Busways R3 – Rawreth Lane – Rayleigh Station
    Changes :Service withdrawn
    Impact: A number of peak time journeys linking the Rawreth Lane area of Rayleigh to the station are withdrawn, leaving a small number of remaining service 3 journeys at these times unaffected.

    Service: Regal Busways 2 – Southend – Rochford – Hockley – Rayleigh – Chelmsford
    Changes: Service withdrawn
    Impact:This 3 day a week direct shopper service between Southend and Chelmsford will be withdrawn, alternative journeys will require using more than one bus.

    Service: Regal Busways 6 Southend – Rayleigh – Rawreth – Chelmsford
    Changes: Service withdrawn
    Impact: This 2 day a week direct shopper service between Southend and Chelmsford will be withdrawn, alternative journeys will require using more than one bus.

    Essex County Council is assessing its response to these changes.

    We’ve tried looking at the Regal Busways website, but all you get is a big red page, saying the website is currently down for maintenance:

    This information is included on the County Council’s monthly bus passenger news, which you can download from here.

    We will be seeing if there is anything we can do to help the situation.

    New System For Applying For Bus Passes

    Lib Dem County Councillor Stephen Robinson has kindly sent us the following information:-

    From 1 October 2012, residents applying for a bus pass for the first time or looking to replace their lost or broken pass will need to apply to Essex County Council instead of their local District, Borough or City Council*. This is because there is now one centralised system for processing applications and replacements.

    Applications should be completed in full and posted to : Essex ENCTS Bus Pass, PO Box 212, Waterlooville, PO7 6ZN. Application forms are available via
    · downloading at
    · calling 0845 200 0388 (residents can also request assistance completing the form by calling this number)
    · collecting from their local library
    If residents already have a bus pass and it is due for renewal, provided they are at the same address they will be sent a new pass automatically. However, if they have changed address, they need to let Essex County Council know by emailing or calling 0845 200 0388. If they have lost their pass they can arrange a replacement by calling 0845 200 0388.

    Please note, the changes are to the application process only, not to entitlement or service hours. In Essex, eligible older and disabled people are entitled to a bus pass which allows for free bus travel between 9am and midnight Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and Bank Holidays. Companion passes are also available for disabled pass holders who require regular assistance.

    In order to raise awareness of the new process and to ensure customers are directed to the right point of contact in the first instance the changes to the administration of the scheme will be promoted county wide. This will primarily consist of engagement with relevant partners and organisations such as GP surgeries, bus operators, District, Borough and City, Parish and Town Councils. This will be further supported by posters in libraries (where customers can also collect an application form), as well as advertising on local radio, bus shelters and in local newspapers.

    For more information about the changes to the application process or to check eligibility for a bus pass visit or call 0845 200 0388.

    *This does not apply to Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Thurrock Council.

    Changes to the application process for bus passes – Frequently Asked Questions

    What is changing?

    We are changing the way we process application forms for English National Concessionary Travel, consolidating the 12 administrative systems that are currently in operation across Essex into one centralised system. This has no impact on the times passes can be used and pass holders are still entitled to free travel between 9am and midnight from Monday to Friday and all day at weekends and on bank holidays.

    Who is eligible for a pass?

    Men and women who are at the female age of retirement-age can apply for a bus pass. Also, disabled people can apply if they meet the entitlement criteria outlined by the Government, you can find out more about this at

    Can I get an application form in my local council office?

    Yes. If you need assistance completing the form, you will need to contact Essex County Council. We can also help you to complete the form over the phone. You can contact us by calling 0845 200 0388.

    Where else can I collect a form from?

    You can download a copy of the application form online or collect one at Essex libraries and through Essex County Council offices.

    How long is the application process?

    Application forms sent to us will be processed within two working days and you can expect to receive your pass within 10 working days

    The return address on the form has a PO7 post code – is this correct?

    Yes. The application processing centre is in Portsmouth.

    I have a question – can I see someone?

    Later on in 2012, we will be running ‘road shows’ around the County to enable people to ask questions. However, in the meantime you can contact us by calling 0845 200 0388 or by

    I have a disability – is the application process the same for me?

    Yes. However, we are introducing a separate form for disabled people to give more information around who qualifies and under what criteria.

    What if I am hearing impaired?

    We have a minicom service – 0845 200 1424,

    Skype – EssexBusPass

    or Email

    We can also write to you in a format you prefer.

    What if I am or am helping someone who is sight impaired?

    We can phone or communicate using audio CD or MP3. We will also complete the application for you over the phone and send it to you with markers to attach the photo, evidence of who you are and where to sign. To access this service, call 0845 200 0388

    What if I move out of Essex or no longer require the pass?

    If you have moved within Essex (but not to Southend or Thurrock), your pass is still valid. If you move to any other county, Southend or Thurrock, you will need to apply for a new pass from your new Local Authority and return your old one to us.

    If you have moved or no longer require the pass, please let us know so we can remove your details from the system.

    What if someone has passed away – what should I do?

    Please contact us.

    Can I apply for a bus pass online?

    Not at the moment but we are working to develop this in the future

    My pass will expire in March 2013 – what should I do?

    You do not need to do anything unless you have moved. If you have moved to another county, Southend or Thurrock since you received your current pass you need to return your pass to us and apply for a new one from your Local Authority. If you have moved within Essex, please tell us as soon as possible, so that we can update our records to send your new bus pass to the correct address.

    Good News For Bus Users

    Back in July we were told the following bus routes were being withdrawn:

    2 Southend – Rochford – Rayleigh – Rawreth – Chelmsford
    Service withdrawn. This service currently runs once each way during shopping hours on Mon/Wed/Fri only.
    6 Southend – Eastwood – Rayleigh – Rawreth – Chelmsford
    Service withdrawn. This service currently runs once each way during shopping hours on Tue/Thu only.
    R3 Rawreth/Rawreth Lane ASDA – Rayleigh Station
    Service withdrawn. This service currently operates during early morning and evening commuter peak times only.

    However we have just heard that the County Council will support the continuation of the affected journeys until no later than August 2013, so services will continue unchanged.

    They will be reviewed again in the next 6-12 months before a decision on their longer term future is taken. The journeys will be operated by Regal Busways to the same timetable as at present, with the exception of some minor changes to timings on the R3.

    So, well done to the County Council….

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    April 2014
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    The Core Strategy

    This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

    Planning Applications…

    If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

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    The County Council admitted in July that over 200 roads in our district need repairing! They say they will fix them by May 2013. Click here to see the list.

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