Ensignbus new route X90

Route X90 starts on Monday 18th February replacing the X21/X31/X81 Routes between Brentwood & Thurrock.

X90 Mon-Fri




Local bus consultation questionnaire

Essex County Council (ECC) is reviewing the way it supports local bus services which operate on evenings and Sundays and is carrying out a public consultation. The consultation also includes proposals regarding delivering ECC services differently and devolving ECC funded local bus services to communities.

The consultation will open on 19 December and will run until March 22nd 2019.  The questionnaire will be  available from ECC libraries (from January onwards), or online: or by phoning: 03457 430430.



Petition to make First Bus Essex accountable

There is a petition "to make First Bus Essex Accountable for causing travel misery to thousands of local commuters" at


Ensignbus routes updated




Gazette articles

Our Bus Officer, Claire Jones, has had a letter published in the Brentwood Gazette (24/10/2018). In the letter she says:

It was interesting to read the politicians' views in last week's Gazette about what would encourage more drivers to switch to using buses. As a bus user and as the Bus Officer for Brentwood Bus & Rail Users Association my view is as follows:

Brentwood is in serious need of buses that are all modern, affordable, frequent and reliable. I have been contacted repeatedly by bus users about buses not arriving at all. Although traffic congestion, accidents and breakdowns can all be factors in late- running buses, bus users need real-time information to know whether buses have been delayed or cancelled. Bus users have been left stranded at bus stops long enough to miss appointments and other commitments. Due to the number 9 bus being unreliable and often non-existent I have on multiple occasions used TfL Rail to Shenfield, Greater Anglia Trains to Billericay, then used the 100 bus to Basildon Hospital. I am currently liaising with bus companies, Essex County Council, Brentwood Community Transport and the NHS to encourage them to set up a regular bus service from Brentwood to Basildon Hospital via Herongate and West Horndon. I will be attending more meetings to keep the conversation going.  

If people would like to contact me about Brentwood's bus services they can email me. People can also check our website      From Claire Jones - Bus Officer

Peter Smith has sent us a copy of his reply in the Brentwood Gazette on 31/10/2018:

"I am responding to the letter from Claire Jones published in this weeks Brentwood Gazette.
I agree with all she says and support her aims on behalf of the Brentwood Bus & Rail Users Association and in particular bus links from Brentwood to Basildon Hospital which at present are poor, expensive and time consuming(in my work life I had experience of getting buses into hospitals). In my experience if buses to hospitals are direct and regular more (but not all) people are likely to use them rather than their cars.
The other point I would like to make is that since Ensign introduced the 31 bus three weeks ago we, in Pilgrims Hatch, have been blessed with reliable, comfortable, buses with friendly drivers. This after years of unreliable service on Firsts 37 bus. I am amazed to hear that from Monday 28th October morning First propose to run a 15 minute service mornings until 9.20 and then again evenings from 3.30; this is simply not achievable during peak and school run periods. It makes me wonder if this is a ploy just to get the 37 running in front of the 31 in a vain attempt to recapture lost passengers.
Stay loyal to the 31, Ensign have shown how to run a bus service properly."

Two further Gazette articles on 14/11/2018:

Regarding the letter in the
Gazette October 3l .

The 37 bus route in Brentwood has been a 20 minute service for a long while - now they have a service every few minutes as Ensign are running the same route as a 31 bus
- How lucky are they!
l live on the East Ham Estate and the number 9 bus is my only bus.
We only have a 30 minute service and ‘First’ have been cutting out buses every day. We have been waiting up to 1 hour 20 mins just to get to the High Street, with this cold weather we are experiencing now it is getting unbearable.
It took me 2 hours to get to Basildon last week on the 9 bus - the first bus I waited for did not arrive I had to wait another 30 mins for the next bus - we got as far as Great Burstead then it broke down -we had to wait another 30 mins for the next bus to take us to Basildon.
A man had to phone Basildon Hospital as he knew he would be 1 hour late he explained what had happened. He had not had anything to eat from the night before and this was 2pm they told there was no guarantee he would be seen if he did turn up.
What sort of bus service is this and we got all First's old buses that are boneshakers, they are so uncomfortable.
It doesn't look like Ensign can do anything for us on the 9 bus route-so our future for the 9 route doesn't look good.
‘FIRST’ please sort this problem out for us ASAP.
I understand that Claire Jones -Bus Officer of BBARUA is having meetings with ‘First’ managers - we hope they listen to her.
East Ham Estate resident
Via email

I feel sorry for people who used to be able to drive and live in villages.
They are now dependent on buses and the limited number of bus services restricts what they can do.
If the villagers tried to move to areas with better transport links,for many it would be unaffordable.
They're trapped.
What can we do?
I have had bus operators commenting about the concessionary bus passes having a major impact on their businesses. What can we do?
Should we make bus passes like rail cards where they get discount rather than free travel?
Would that increase bus services because bus operators would get more money?
Or decrease passenger numbers due to costs?
Claire Jones
Via email


37 Bus timetable update

The First Buses 37 buses will be running with increased frequency in the morning and evening, Monday to Friday. This new timetable will be in operation from 28th October 2018.

37 timetable oct 2018

New 31 bus route

Ensign Buses are running a circular bus service from Brentwood rail station to Pilgrims Hatch via Brentwood High Street. The service commenced on the first of October 2018 and runs every 20 minutes.





New 71C bus route

Stephenson’s Service 71C , Monday – Friday, Pilgrim’s Hatch – Brentwood Rail Station will be commencing 30 April 2018 (subject to Traffic Commisioner approval).The timetable (pdf) including 71, 71C and 72 routes can be seen here


37 bus service to return to original route on 8 May 2018

First Essex Buses have informed BBARUA that the 37 bus service will be running from Tuesday 8 May 2018 to the original route along Doddinghurst Road.

The bus timetable starting 8 May 2018 can be seen here

After the meeting of 1 March we had received this message:

"Further to the public meeting last week, and after reflecting on the comments, feedback and suggestions from those present, I wish to update you with our thoughts for service 37.

 We are planning to make further changes - The service will operate to similar times and frequencies as now, with each journey operating from the station and town centre to Pilgrims Hatch and back again, but to the original route, restoring the service to Elizabeth Road and Doddinghurst Road. We need to continue to focus on the punctuality, the main reason for the February change, and there are several local infrastructure improvements which are needed to improve the operating conditions and reduce congestion in the town (such as parking in Doddinghurst Rd, the pinch points in by the parking bays alongside the shops in top end of Kings Road etc) and these have been raised with ECC. The separation from 351 should assist with the punctuality and we will need to keep it under close review.

 I hope that the local community continues to support the bus service and that it can be promoted and encouraged through the bus user group, as the bus can be part of the solution to reduce congestion. Part of our plans in the medium term will be to dedicate two specific buses to the service in the future, which will identify the route as the local service and the key connector to the town centre and railway station.
Timescale wise, the change would take place in mid-May due to the registration lead time required."


Ensign bus timetables from 26 March 2018

There wiil be updated timetables for the , X81 and X21 bus routes and also a new X21 bus route to Lakeside. Here are the times for the 21, X21, 81 and X81 For more information on bus timetables please look at the Bus Travel Information page



37 bus route change

Without prior local consultation, First Buses Essex have decided to change the route of the 37 bus from 18 February 2018. Instead of going down Doddinghurst Road it will be routed along Ongar Road and on to the Bishops Hall Estate, except for the subsidised Sunday service which will remain the same as at present and run down the Doddinghurst Road. This will mean that the only bus serving the Brentwood Centre on weekdays and Saturdays will be the hourly 61 bus. The Chair of BBARUA, Cllr David Kendall, has stated that Brentwood Bus & Rail Users Association members are totally opposed to these changes and are very unhappy about the way this whole issue has been handled.

37 bus route

Here is the timetable (pdf)

A well attended meeting was held on 1 March 2018 with a representative of First Buses:

37 bus meeting




Amber Coaches ceases trading

We have heard that Amber coaches are considering voluntary liquidation on 19 April 2017, having ceased trading on 4 April. Meanwhile, NIBS are covering the 269 service. We will provide further information when it becomes clear which company will be taking over the route on a longer term basis.


Bus timetable changes

There are a couple of minor changes to service 9 from Monday 8th May 2017, as follows:


Basildon to Warley

Minor changes to the Monday to Friday timetable to improve punctuality. The 0550 from Basildon to Warley will depart at 0545 and operate five minutes earlier than at present throughout the journey.


Hutton to Shenfield Station

Minor changes to the Monday to Friday evening timetable to improve punctuality. The 1816 from Shenfield Station to Norman Crescent will depart at 1820 and operate four minutes later than at present throughout the journey.

The change to the 9 is to ensure the punctual departure of the 0701 from Warley which was raised as an issue. The bus from Basildon will be due at Warley 5 minutes earlier so that there is more recovery time before the 0701 departs.

The change to the 9A is to allow a more punctual departure, as the bus which operates the 1816 trip currently struggles to get back from its previous trip in time.

There will also be changes to the 21 and 81 bus timetables from 20th May 2017 (21 changes here); (81 changes here).


261 bus saved and renamed 61

A Brentwood bus route has been saved by Essex County Council as it looks to support the service becoming profitable once again. The contract has been extended until the end of June 2017.

261 BUS SERVICE UPDATE: Ensign Bus Company has applied to the Traffic Commissioner to run the 261 bus route between Blackmore and Brentwood from 3 January 2017 with financial support from Essex County Council. Information on fares and timetables for the new service are available at The service will start on the 3rd of January 2017. They will now have ‘Brentwood’ area season tickets which can be used across routes 21, 61, 81 & X81.  Also to note is that for any commuters on the 61 route with single or return bus tickets to/from Brentwood Station, they can use either the 21 or 81 between Brentwood Station and Brentwood High Street to change for the 61 at times when it does not serve the station.

The 261 between Brentwood and Blackmore was removed from service on Friday (16 December) after Amber Coaches announced it would not continue to run buses along this route.

Essex County Council has stepped in to help run the service from early in the new year after noting the importance it had for the local community. 

Unfortunately, due to national registration requirements, the service cannot be brought in any earlier.

Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, said: “Officers have worked around the clock in a bid to find an operator to support this service and avoid any break in service.  It is always right that we first seek a solution that doesn’t result in cost to the taxpayer or mean we have to look at reducing other routes.

“We will financially support the service from the New Year, but it is vital the residents vote with their feet to show that this a well-used and much-loved service.

“We do not have unlimited budget to run bus services across Essex, I wish we did, so it is vital that residents get on the bus and make this service profitable so it can run for years to come.”

Essex County Council will announce the full timetable and start date online and through local media as soon as it has confirmation of the registration.

The Chair of Brentwood Bus and Rail Users' Association, Cllr David Kendall, has been campaigning on behalf of the users of the service. A letter of thanks has been received by him from Roger Keeble, the Borough Councillor for Blackmore and a Councillor on Blackmore Parish Council. It reads:

"Dear David,
            I am writing to say a big thank you for all your efforts that have led to the 261 service being saved for the residents of the villages in north Brentwood. The internet has been buzzing all evening with positive reports and with the imminent opening of the Prince Albert and the exchange of contracts for the Bull Blackmore has gone from gloom and doom to utter happiness.
  Kind regards

The 269 service, which is run by Amber Coaches, will continue at least until August 2017.




ECC Bus consultation August - September 2016

In 2015 Essex County Council began a thorough review of its financial support for those local bus services that it pays for across the County. This consultation is the start of the second part of the review and looks at 70 services across Essex where the current contract ends in 2017, Essex County Council have grouped together services by geographical area in order to make it easier for the public to see whether their service is part of the review.


The consultation will run from 04 August 2016 to 28 September  2016.   The questionnaire will be  available from ECC libraries, or

online: or by phoning: 03457 430 430.

See Poster




Bus service changes from April 2016

The 251 bus, running on Sundays from Warley will no longer be running to Southend after 10 April 2016 but will terminate at Wickford. If anyone wishes to travel to Southend then they need to use the 25 from Wickford for onward travel. The 251 is timed to arrive in Wickford at xx52 past the hour before the 25 leaves at xx05 past the hour. In the other direction the 251 leaves at xx07 past the hour after the 25 arrives at Wickford at xx57. First claim that there are quite robust connections both ways, but the risk would be if the 25 from Southend is significantly delayed as it would miss the 251 connection.251Timetable here

Essex County Council Customer Services told us: " Highways have advised that Essex County Council recently undertook a consultation exercise covering the majority of its contracted services, this review included proposals for changes to the route and timings of service 251.  There have been various levels of consultation undertaken over the last 12 months or so, in which the travelling public and other key stakeholders have been able to feedback their observations for how existing services may fall short of expectations (for whatever reason) and also to identify where new services may be required.

It was determined that as route 251 duplicates a number of other services (and that it does not have a full daytime equivalent service), it would be reasonable to shorten the service, such that it terminates at Wickford where it has specifically been timed to meet with route 25 to/from Southend in each direction.  This means that the through journey opportunities are retained for passengers, however we are able to save the cost of one bus for the day. 

Additionally, as route 25 between Wickford and Southend is operated on a commercial basis, the removal of the 251 helps support the viability of this service in the longer term.  Between routes 9, 20 and 25 there are 6 buses per hour on a Sunday operating between Rayleigh and Southend along the Eastwood Road, with additional journeys provided by service 11A.  In addition to this, services 1, 7 & 8 collectively provide an additional 4 buses per hour on Sundays, via different routings between the two towns.

As indicated above, the 25/251 have specifically been scheduled to provide a viable (although not guaranteed) connection facility.  However if passengers feel uncomfortable with the potential for failed connections, they do not have to wait 2 hours, as suggested, for an alternative service. They can instead build that uncertainty into their schedule and catch the bus half an hour earlier; this would mean a 30 minute wait in Wickford instead, which may be considered to provide more of a margin for error, to reduce the potential for anxiety for your constituent.  It should also be noted that there is a regular train service operating between Brentwood/Shenfield and Southend, which provides a viable alternative means of travel, should there be issues with the bus service on a particular day."



The 73 bus has been renumbered as the 37. The existing timetable will continue while Essex County Council carries out consultation on the route (see below).

There will be minor changes to the 351 evening service.

from April 2016 the 71 and 72 have a new timetable, which can be seen here.


Consultation on Service Changes for March 2016 – Services 268 & 73

The County Council is carried out a public consultation over the future of the 268 and 73 bus services. This questionnaire was designed to identify what passengers use these services for, what they would do if the service was withdrawn. It also set out what alternative travel options (if any) might be available if the service ceased to operate.

The consultation ran from Thursday March 17 2016 to  Wednesday 20 April 2016.



21 Bus Update

We have received the new 21 bus timetable from Ensignbus. The bus will be running from Mondays to Saturdays. The timetable can be seen here.
Passenger numbers have increased , so the 21 will continue to run on Saturdays after 31st March .
From 11 April 2016, there will be an additional evening service, 18.40 from Brentwood Station and 19.06 from Ongar.



Havering Council are about to start works in Main road which will last for 6 months and certain stages of these works will have a significant impact on route 498.
The planned barrier replacement works in the Colchester Road that were scheduled to start in February 2016 have been put on hold and it is proposed that they will be starting in the summer of 2016.


Townlink licence revoked

Olympus Bus and Coach Ltd, Roadrunner Buses Ltd and Townlink Buses Ltd went before the Traffic Commissioners Office on 3rd and 4th November 2015, in Cambridge

The Traffic Commissioner has now made his decision and he has decided to revoke their licences with effect from 26th February 2016.

This affects several bus services in and around the Brentwood, Epping and  Harlow areas. Essex County Council officers are currently assessing the impact of this decision. Some commercial bus operators have already taken on some of these services commercially or expressed an interest and ECC will continue to assess If there are any gaps in service as a result. If there are any gaps, the Council may need to provide a contract for replacement journeys/services.

Buses on the 21 route are being run by Ensignbus with permission from the Traffic Commissioner on an emergency timetable from Monday to Friday between Ongar and Brentwood only. Ensignbus are planning to run the route permanently with updates to the timetable as things settle down. It appears that Townlink/Olympian could be running buses on Saturdays until their contract runs out. Townlink/Olympian ran buses for a while after the decision, but appear to have stopped running them. Essex County Council ran an assessment to see what could be done about a Saturday service and Ensignbus are running a service until 26th of March to test the viabilty of a permanent Saturday service.

We now have an updated timetable (see above).



Townlink Buses to appear before Traffic Commissioner

We recently wrote to local MP, Sir Eric Pickles who contacted the Traffic Commissioner on our behalf. Townlink buses will be appearing on 3rd November, more details at:


New 498 bus timetables

We have received updated timetables for the 498 bus. They can be seen here (Brentwood to Queen's Hospital Romford) and here Queen's Hospital to Brentwood)


No 9 bus times changing in July 2015

The bus timetables for the no 9 bus are being amended. We have received a copy of the new timetable which will come into effect in July 2015. They can be seen here.



New 251 timetable

As Essex County Council have not printed out the timetables in time, First are producing a flyer that their drivers will be handing out to users of the route at the end of April 2015.
The timetable can be seen here (pdf)

Committee visit to First Buses depot at Chelmsford

Members of the executive committee visited First's Chelmsford depot on 16th March. Depot manager Alvin Parker extended a welcome to show us the efforts First are making to try and improve services in Essex. The tour included a look at the systems now in place for live monitoring of drivers' driving and performance. Every bus is now tracked electronically throughout the county. Every acceleration and every turn is monitored. This helps identify not just good (or bad) driving, but also areas of common problems on the roads. The initiative is good for First, as better driving saves them money - but also good for us, as it means the buses should be driven more carefully and on time. 

We also discovered that the average bus does around 100,000 miles a year, and the average engine needs replacing every 7 years - that's a lot of miles! Chelmsford has its own workshop, where most of the repairs and maintenance are carried out. The average bus lasts around 15 years - so we asked how soon we might get new buses.

Needless to say, First are well aware of our desire to ensure we get newer buses running to Brentwood as soon as possible. 

We hope to continue to work closely with First in both Chelmsford and Basildon to get the best service we can, and ensure that they're aware of our concerns and requirements. 


Essex bus review

‘Getting Around in Essex – a bus and  passenger transport strategy’ was published by Essex County Council. BBARUA members helped to distribute it in Brentwood.

ECC stated: "The consultation will help the council to get views on how to improve the county’s bus and passenger transport network.

The questionnaire was aimed at helping the council and its partners to review the bus service currently delivered across the county to shape the service to deliver greater economic and social benefits for the people who travel around and work in Essex.

The consultation focused on eight areas:

  • Better partnership working
  • A clearer commitment to quality
  • Measures to grow passenger numbers
  • Better targeted support for those services that are taxpayer funded
  • Better information for customers
  • Services that are better tailored to local needs
  • Integrated and smart ticketing
  • Focused local planning





New Buses on no. 9 route

New buses have finally started to appear on the no.9 bus route.


New number 9 bus


Additional buses on 21 route

Following the decision of Townlink to cut evening services on the 21 route, the County Council has issued a tender to provide 2 return journeys between Ongar and Warley. The 21A will connect with the 21 bus at the Four Wantz. The buses will be run by Swallow Coaches from Monday 19 January 2015.

Service 21a Onger to Warley

Harlow to Warley direction Monday to Friday
to meet service 21 (Ongar Four Wantz) 17:50 18:50
Ongar Four Wantz 17:53 18:53
Ongar Two Brewers 17:55 18:55
Kelvedon Hatch 17:59 18:59
Pilgrims Hatch - The Crown 18:04 19:04
Brentwood High Street 18:12 19:12
Brentwood Station 18:17 19:17
Warley Eagle Way 18:20 19:20

Warley to Harlow direction Monday to Friday
Warley Eagle Way 18:21 19:21
Brentwood Station 18:24 19:24
Brentwood High Street 18:29 19:29
Pilgrims Hatch - The Crown 18:37 19:37
Kelvedon Hatch 18:42 19:42
Ongar Two Brewers 18:46 19:46
Ongar Four Wantz 18:48 19:48
to meet service 21 (Four Wantz) for onward journeys 18:58 19:53




First Buses fare changes

First buses have announced fare changes to take effect from 4 January 2015.

Their press release is as follows:

A significant number of fares are being frozen at their current levels and a number of new tickets are being introduced.

Four-weekly tickets will replace on-bus monthly tickets. Monthly, 3-monthly and annual tickets continue to be available to purchase from travel offices, agencies and online.

Following customer requests, the range of child weekly tickets has been extended, and a number of child 4-weekly tickets have been introduced, too.

Adrian Jones, Managing Director for First Essex, said: "These changes aim to reward passengers who regularly travel with us. We have kept any fare increases to an absolute minimum as we are committed to making bus the preferred travel option. While some passengers may experience an increase in fares, we have tried to limit this as much as possible and keep any rises in line with inflation.'

The changes can be summarised as follows:

Southend, Canvey, Rayleigh area:

New Southend Metro child weekly and child 4-weekly tickets to be introduced.

Southend Metro adult weekly and Child Day ticket prices are unchanged.

Basildon, Brentwood and Thurrock areas:

New Basildon Inner and Outer zone child 4-weekly tickets to be introduced. Basildon Inner adult and day and week prices, and child day prices are unchanged.

New Brentwood zone adult and child 4-weekly tickets to be introduced.

New Thurrock zone child weekly ticket to be introduced.

Chelmsford area:

New Chelmsford Inner zone adult and child 4-weekly tickets to be introduced.

Chelmsford Inner adult and day and week prices, and child day and week prices are unchanged.

Family 1+2 day ticket price is unchanged.

All Essex area:

New All Essex zone adult 4-weekly, and All Essex zone child weekly and 4-weekly tickets to be introduced.

Braintree area:

New Braintree zone adult and child 4-weekly tickets to be introduced.

Braintree zone adult and child weekly ticket prices are unchanged.

The Braintree zone to be extended to additionally include Halstead.

Colchester area:

New Colchester zone adult and child 4-weekly tickets to be introduced.

Colchester zone adult weekly price unchanged.

New £1 Colchester town centre short hop adult single fare introduced.

Family 1+2 day ticket price is unchanged.

Clacton area:

New Colchester zone adult and child 4-weekly tickets to be introduced.

Clacton adult and child day ticket prices, and child weekly ticket prices are unchanged.

New adult and child weekly tickets introduced for services 3 and 4 between Clacton and Harwich.

More information can be found below. Alternatively, you can contact Customer Services on 08456 020 121 .


First buses Christmas and New Year timetables

Basildon, Brentwood and Thurrock

Chelmsford, Brentwood, Braintree and Maldon

Colchester, Clacton and Harwich

Southend, Castle Point and Rayleigh



265 update

The service 265 is being withdrawn by Amber Coaches with effect from 1.12.2014.

Thurrock Council have arranged a replacement service for service 265 and will operate 3 return journeys between West Horndon and Grays and will commence with effect from 1st December.


Getting around in Essex - County Council proposals

The Essex County Bus Strategy Delivery Board has been set up to bring together senior leaders from the Council, other local authorities, the bus and taxi companies and customer groupto consider how residents and businesses might be better supported by growing the bus and passenger transport network and increasing the number of people who use it commercially

A document has been produced which can be seen here

First Buses formal warning

We have received the following from First Essex Buses concerning an enquiry by the Traffic Commissioner following complaints about the service:

"Dear First Essex stakeholder,

Following the recent public inquiry into services in Essex, First was given a formal warning. We will also be subject to additional monitoring for six weeks next March.

Recent headlines suggested that it was "the end of the road" for First Essex. While the Traffic Commissioner does hold the power to fine or even remove a companies licenses, we were confident that our proposals on how we're going to improve our Essex business, would be welcomed.

We are confident that we have the resources in place to meet the targets set by the Traffic Commissioner. With the introduction of RTI in December, we will be able to gather new data and help increase punctuality along the routes.

Be assured we are not resting on our laurels and we are determined to improve services in the area.

The Public Inquiry had a range of outcomes and we are pleased with the Traffic Commissioner’s decision.

The Public Inquiry was an opportunity for us to explain in detail the circumstances behind punctuality issues on our services from last year. We outlined the range of measures we have implemented since, including the introduction of a new management team, and more resources on the 45 service to improve our operations and deliver a better service for our customers.

In addition, we spoke about our future plans for the business including how we are further addressing our operational performance, but also implementing some exciting customer friendly initiatives.

As ever, I'm happy to answer any questions you may have in relation to the public enquiry, or our current business activities. Please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely,
Adrian Jones
Managing Director
First Essex Buses "


Transport for London - cashless buses information

TfL have issued two new leaflets about the cashless buses. The new system will affect those travelling on the 498 bus in addition to buses in the London area.
leaflets are: "Cash free buses" and "One More Journey"


Weekend bus service to Ongar and Epping

Epping Ongar Railway has started a weekend bus service (no.339) between Shenfield and Epping and Ongar. The bus can be flagged down anywhere on the route, but will be stopping in Brentwood at the Ongar Road bus stop near North Road about 5 minutes after leaving Shenfield. The times are shown in the table below.

The Epping Ongar Railway press release is as follows:

"A brand new bus service between Shenfield and Epping, via Chipping Ongar and North Weald, will be launched by the Epping Ongar Railway on April 18, making this a real Good Friday. The service will then run every weekend from April 19 until October with additional days on Bank Holidays and during the summer holidays. Primarily designed for people wishing to travel on the Epping Ongar Railway, it will offer an attractive way to travel to Chipping Ongar, North Weald and Epping for all.

Our vintage bus service is extended to Shenfield!

Our vintage bus service is extended to Shenfield!

Roger Wright, Managing Director of the Epping Ongar Railway, said:

'As a fledging Railway we’re constantly looking at ways of enhancing the services we provide and think that this service will be attractive to people wishing to visit the Railway without travelling into London. We are also keen to develop the service for local people, which is why we’re running these buses all the way into Epping. The services on Sunday will be a welcome addition to the present 2-hourly service along the route from between Epping and Ongar and also onwards towards Shenfield and Brentwood where no route presently exists. We’ll be using our fleet of heritage buses so travelling on this route will be convenient as well as fun!'

A single fare to Epping will be £3, and to Ongar for £2; Freedom Pass Holders can travel for free.

Marco Carrara, Development Manager for the Railway said.

'The new service will help bring extra visitors to Essex’s longest heritage railway and secure a new public service for the area. Last year we carried 35,000 passengers on the railway and this year we aim to increase that number. Making it easier for people to come to the Epping Ongar Railway by public transport helps us and also provides a new service for local people. It really is a win-win situation.' "


Ongar 10:20 11:10 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 15:50 16:35
North Weald Arr 10:35 11:25 12:15 13:15 14:15 15:15 16:05 16:48
North Weald Dep 11:00 12:20 13:00 14:20 14:50 16:15
Epping Forest 11:08 12:28 13:08 14:28 14:58 16:23
Epping Forest 11:12 12:32 13:12 14:32 15:02 16:27
North Weald Arr 11:20 12:40 13:20 14:40 15:10 16:35
North Weald Dep 09:50 10:40 11:30 12:30 13:30 14:30 15:20 16:10
Ongar 10:05 10:55 11:45 12:45 13:45 14:45 15:35 16:25


Bus Number: 339 Weekends and Bank Holidays
Epping Stn 09:30 10:05 10:35 11:05 11:35 12:05 12:35 13:05 13:35 14:05 14:40 15:15 15:45 16:30 17:08
North Weald Stn (Arr) 09:42 10:17 10:47 11:17 11:47 12:18 12:48 13:18 13:48 14:18 14:53 15:27 15:57 16:42 17:19
North Weald Stn (Dep) 11:30 11:48 12:30 13:55 14:25 14:55 16:10 16:50
Ongar Stn 11:41 11:59 12:41 14:06 14:36 15:06 16:21 17:01
Ongar - Two Brewers 11:43 12:01 12:43 14:08 14:38 15:08 16:23 17:03
Shenfield Station 12:06 14:31 15:31 17:23



Shenfield Station 10:30 12:10 14:37 15:32 17:24
Ongar - Two Brewers 10:53 12:03 12:33 13:03 14:40 15:00 15:54 16:34 17:44
Ongar Stn 10:55 12:05 12:35 13:05 14:42 15:02 15:56 16:36 17:46
North Weald Stn (Arr) 11:06 12:16 12:46 13:16 14:53 15:13 16:07 16:47
North Weald Stn (Dep) 09:50 10:20 10:50 11:20 11:50 12:20 12:50 13:20 13:50 14:25 15:00 15:30 16:15 16:55
Epping Stn 10:02 10:32 11:02 11:32 12:02 12:32 13:02 13:32 14:02 14:37 15:12 15:42 16:27 17:07

See website for further details


No cash fares on 498 from 6th July

Transport for London have announced that there will be no cash fares from 6th July 2014. Passengers who pay for their fares will need to get Oyster cards.
Oyster cards can be obtained at the News Shop, 96 High St Brentwood CM14 4AP and at Newstime, 145 Kings Road Brentwood CM14 4EG



898 not to be discontinued

Brentwood community transport have issued the following notice to counter rumours that have been spread about the closure of the service:


February 2014

Thank you for using our service

Please be advised we as an organisation are not planning to discontinue this service all rumours are totally unfounded.

For further information ask the driver or contact us 01277 228080"




Bus strategy review survey

Essex County Council is developing a new Bus Strategy.  ECC held a 12 week consultation with the public over which aspects of services they value most and received over 3,000 responses.


Changes to 351 bus timetables

First buses have decided to make the following changes to the 351 bus routes, starting in February 2014.

The changes are to:

Operate the 351 out of Chelmsford 5 minutes earlier, but keep the running time the same. This means they will be able to double the turnaround time at Brentwood Station, thus helping to keep the 73 reliable. The buses will run 3 minutes later from Brentwood towards Chelmsford.

Supply an additional operating line, i.e. 1 extra bus to support the above initiatives. (this will have the additional bonus of an overlap when a bus arrives into Chelmsford to when the next one goes out, which should rule out services being delayed leaving Chelmsford due to drivers waiting for the previous journey to arrive.)

They state that they cannot make the same changes on a Sunday without the consent of Essex County Council, due to their contractual obligations. In the meantime they are issuing instructions that Service 73 should not be cut due to late operation, due to the potential two hour gap this would cause.  



Travel with Hunny ceases trading

We have received a copy of the following from Essex County Council:

"The above company appeared at a public enquiry in front of the bus regulator, the Traffic Commissioner on Tuesday.

This was to investigate breaches of the conditions of the companies operating licence which included vehicle maintenance, financial standing service performance and professional competence.

At the end of the hearing the Traffic Commissioner indicated that the companies licence will be revoked but required the owner, Mr Hunn, to produce additional information within 14 days.

On Wednesday the County Council received notification from Mr Hunn the owner of TWH that he would cease trading after close of business this Friday 31 January.

The company operates a number of commercial local bus services, as listed below,  but do not operate any local bus contracts on behalf of the County Council.

The County Council does however purchase tickets for some entitled children to travel on these commercial services to attend Campion and Dedben Park schools.

Services operated by Travel with Hunny Ltd.

*         848 -  Campion Ongar to Campion sch via Brentwood, Warley and Upminster- 1 return school journey, and hourly off peak between Upminster and Brentwood.
*         849 - Ingatestone to Campion School - 1 return sch day journey
*         333 - Chigwell Station to Debden Broadway - 1 return sch day journey.
*         444 - Loughton to Waltham Abbey.
*         555 - Harlow to Harlow via Upshire and Waltham Abbey Monday to Saturday. Plus school journeys Debden Park School to Highbridge roundabout 1 return journey

The Passenger Transport team have secured alternative transport for these children to take effect from Monday 3rd Feb and are liaising with the schools and others.

Passenger Transport are also assessing the impact of the loss of these commercial services on the wider travelling public. Most of the areas served by these services are covered by alternative services but passengers may need to change buses. Should it be decided that replacement services are to be put in place these will not be operational from Monday.

It is also likely that there will be some children travelling on these routes that are not entitled to ECC funded transport and will have paid TWH for season tickets. We have made the operators of our the new contracts that TWH did convey these children and arrangements have been made for them to be carried. There may be some adjustments as the new arrangements bed in."

We have been informed that with regards to the 848 and 849 Service, these will be operated in the short term by P&M Coaches for schools only, not for the rest of the public, until 14/03/2014. The 333 Service will be operated by the London Borough of Havering until 14/03/2014. A tender for a longer term contract will be issued soon.


265 bus route to be cut

From 17 March 2014 the 265 bus will no longer run to Brentwood and will only operate between Lakeside Shopping Centre, Grays & West Horndon Station.


82 bus discontinued

The 82 Ensign bus that has been running the anticlockwise route between Shenfield and Brentwood has been discontinued due to lack of use. The 81 clockwise route will continue to operate.



First buses fare changes in January 2014

From 5 January 2014, the bus fares on First buses will be changing with several increases and some decreases in fares.

Adrian Jones, the Managing director of First Buses Essex writes:
"Like many businesses, the company is facing challenges during these uncertain economic times, however I believe that First remains in a strong position to continue to deliver high quality bus services.
>From Sunday 5 January, we are introducing various fare revisions across our Essex operations.
Many of our fares remain unchanged and in some cases, we have even reduced prices and introduced new tickets to improve travel options for our customers. The increased fares have been kept to a minimum, mindful of our commitment to making the bus the preferred travel option. "

Here are some of the changes:

All Essex Adult Day ticket is unchanged at £8.00.

All Essex Child Day ticket increases 20p to £6.00.

All Essex Weekly is unchanged at £30.00.

All Essex Monthly is unchanged at £105.00.

All Essex Family ticket increases £1.00 to £16.00.


Brentwood zone tickets

Brentwood Adult Day reduced by 10p to £3.50.

Brentwood Child Day increased by 10p to £2.50.

Brentwood Adult Weekly increases £1.00 to £15.00.


BBARUA have argued that the First Buses reduced weekly child fare that applies in Braintree should also apply in Brentwood. First Essex have agreed and the reduced fares of £10 will start on Monday 27 January 2014.


More details of fares can be found on the First Essex website News and Initiatives page




Bus passes start time to stay at 9am

At a meeting of Essex County Council on 10 December 2013 it was agreed that the bus pass start times would not change to 9.30 am but would remain at the current 9am and would continue to cover travel until midnight, Monday to Friday, and all day at weekends



First Christmas and New Year bus services

Normal Monday Service*

Normal Tuesday Service*

No Service

No Service*

Saturday Service *

Normal Saturday Service

Normal Sunday Service

Saturday Service*

Saturday Service*

No Service

Normal Service

Normal Service

*Early finishing/special service arrangements detailed on the First buses website



High Street timetables to be updated

Josie Lloyd, our Vice-chair and Bus Officer has contacted Essex County Council to point out that several of the timetables are missing from the bus stops. The posting company responsible had not put up the new timetables provided by ECC. They are to be issued with new timetables which should be put up within the next fortnight.



Disabled Person wins access case against First Buses

A Judge in Leeds has decided that First Bus Group’s “First Come First Served” policy for the disabled bay on its buses substantially disadvantages wheelchair users and is unlawful discrimination in breach of the Equality Act 2010.
In a 20 page Judgment, Recorder Isaacs dissected the approach taken by First Bus Group (and in place with many other bus companies) in failing to keep the wheelchair space free for wheelchair users, and concluded that:
“ … the system of priority given to wheelchair users should be enforced as a matter not of request, to any non-disabled user of the wheelchair space, but of requirement…”
He went on to note that:
“ just as there are conditions of carriage which forbid smoking, making a nuisance or other “anti-social” behaviour on the pain of being asked to leave the bus then a refusal to accede to a requirement to vacate the space could have similar consequences. In my view, once the system had been advertised and in place there would be unlikely to be caused any disruption or confrontation as all passengers would know where they were. Although such a policy might inconvenience a mother with a buggy that, I am afraid, is a consequence of the protection which Parliament has chosen to give to disabled wheelchair users and not to non-disabled mothers with buggies.”
First Buses have been given 6 months to act on the Judgment, after which time unless changes to the policy and training and drivers are made to ensure that wheelchair users have priority over the wheelchair space over other passengers, the Court will consider making an injunction to require the changes to be made by Court Order.
Doug Paulley, the disabled passenger that launched this legal challenge was awarded £5,500.00 in compensation in recognition of the way in which his experiences with First Bus Group’s policy affected his confidence and increased the stress and anxiety of travel.
Doug (35), whose disabilities mean that he relies upon a wheelchair for his independence brought the case with the help of  his legal team from Unity Law, expressed his relief at the decision,
“The number one problem for wheelchair users on public transport is whether the wheelchair bay is free. Often it’s filled up with luggage or buggies. Often bus companies advertise the space as a buggy space which can create confusion as to who has priority for it. But the space is there for wheelchair users to travel. It’s the only place on the bus I can travel safely in my wheelchair.”
Doug’s legal team was led by Chris Fry, Managing Partner at Unity Law and included Catherine Casserley one of the UKs leading equal rights barristers from Cloisters Chambers.
“The Judge recognised that companies are often very good at paying lip service to the concept of making transport more accessible, but at grassroots level we are contacted every week by wheelchair users who recount a different story.” says Chris Fry. “There’s no point in having an accessible bus, if the service itself is inaccessible. That makes a mockery of the protection provided to the disabled service user by the Equality Act.”
This case has wide reaching implications, not just to the First Bus Group, but to other bus and train companies operating similar “First Come First Served” practices. It represents a breakthrough to disabled passengers who now have legal precedent to challenge their bus company if they have been unable to travel for similar reasons.
The case also marks the launch of the Equal Justice Campaign.  The ability of disabled people to bring Equality Act cases has been critically compromised due to the cutbacks to legal aid and civil costs reforms.
The upshot of the reforms is that it is no longer financially viable for disabled people to take legal action aimed at forcing companies to meet their statutory obligations; rendering the Equality Act obsolete. Fortunately for Doug, he launched his legal action before the reforms were introduced. 

For information, text taken from:


Essex County Council bus survey

Essex County Council want your views.
They’re holding a consultation on the bus services around the county - what folk want from their buses and where they want to get to by bus.
This is a great opportunity for you to have your say on how transport will be in Essex in the coming years. So – there will probably be a few of us out 'n about this week with forms for passengers to fill in, and if you get a chance, please do fill it in, and send one back to the council.
It’ll also be available from - so you’ve no excuse for not making Brentwood’s needs known!




More seating at Queens Hospital bus stops and information screens

We have received the following information from Peter Smith, the Front of House Officer and Public Transport Lead (King George & Queen's Hospitals):

"We now have four new bench seats offering seating for 16 people funded by Transport for London.
The Trust is now working to increase the size of the bus shelters so as to increase the covered seat capacity."

In addition the Trust is planning to install large tv screens in the atriums at Queen's and King George Hospitals in the near future, on which live bus information will be displayed; this will allow people to stay in the atriums (on hot, cold or wet days) until just before their bus is due to depart."



Number 9 Bus route changes

We have the following information from First Group of changes to the No 9 route from 1 September 2013:

9 Basildon to Brentwood via Billericay

The timetable is revised to provide earlier and later journeys to/from Warley, plus an extra journey from Warley between 0800 and 0900. An additional afternoon bus through to Warley is also provided and an extra trip from Warley in the evening is provided at 1940. On Monday to Friday, the service level from Warley and East Ham Estate is enhanced between 0900 and 1000 to provide three journeys each way.

Monday to Friday

Towards Warley:

The 0655 and 0715 journeys from Basildon which currently terminate at Brentwood Station will be extended to Warley.

An extra journey will operate at 0903 from Norman Crescent/Pondfield Lane through to Warley.

The 1420 and 1825 journeys from Basildon which currently terminate at Brentwood Station will be extended to Warley.

Towards Basildon:

The 0610 from Brentwood High Street to Basildon will start instead from Warley at 0601.

The 0840 from Brentwood Station to Basildon will start from Warley at 0835.

An extra journey from Warley to Basildon will operate at 0920 from Warley, and the existing 0925 Warley to Basildon will operate ten minutes later at 0935.

The 1935 from Brentwood Station to Basildon will start instead from Warley at 1940, with the journey operating ten minutes later throughout.


Towards Warley:

The 1625 and 1725 journeys from Basildon which currently terminate at Brentwood Station will be extended to Warley, arriving at 1744 and 1844 respectively.

Towards Basildon:

The 0710 from Brentwood High Street to Basildon will start instead from Warley at 0701.

The 1655 from Warley will depart at 1650 and operate five minutes earlier throughout.

The 1745 and 1845 from Brentwood Station to Basildon will start instead from Warley at 1750 and 1850, with the journeys operating ten minutes later throughout.

9A Knights Way to Shenfield Station

The 0820 and 0839 trips from Knights Way to Shenfield will no longer operate. The 1640 journey from Shenfield Station to Knights Way will no longer operate.



Amber coaches taking over routes

Amber Coaches will be taking over the 261 route from 20 July 2013. This will be back to an hourly service.
Amber Coaches have agreed to take over 265 route on 17th August 2013 from First Capital East, initially running to the same timetable.
They will also be taking over the running of the 268 and 269. This will be from 1 September 2013 and the timetable should be unchanged for these services.

Bus timetables update

Essex County Council have given us an update with regards to timetable information at the roadside within the Brentwood District. According to NIBS bus company, who post on their behalf, timetables will be up on or before Tuesday 11 June 2013.
These are now with the operator.
It is believed that 15 stops remain outstanding for posting in Brentwood, mainly Town Centre stops.
ECC have asked for the bus company to update them once they have posted, and we will be updated with information on further progress.


Bus timetables

There have been several complaints that the timetables at Brentwood bus stops have not been brought up to date.

Cllr David Kendall, the Secretary of Brentwood Bus and Rail Users' Association has asked the Passenger Transport department of Essex County Council to confirm whose responsibility it is to put up the timetables.

An officer of the Council gave the following information:

"I can advise that in this case the responsibility of displaying updated timetables remains with NIBS. In light of your correspondence, we will be contacting them to find out when our displays will be posted at the roadside. Please be assured that once we are in possession of this information, we will update you accordingly.

For your information we sent them 83 panels last week which had been updated to reflect the changes, for posting as soon as possible.

Last week we also resolved a problem with the data within our system for the First 9/9A service and will be sending out the approx. 50 associated panels on Thursday 16 May 2013 for posting as soon as possible."


Great news! 73A bus service saved

Following lobbying by County Councillor David Kendall, bus passengers and the Brentwood Bus & Rail Users Association the 73a bus service that serves both Clements Park and Woodman Road has been saved.

The Passenger Transport Dept at Essex County Council has announced that following discussions they've had with Stephenson's Coaches who operate services 71 and 72 on behalf of the County, the route and the timetable will be changed so that it serves both Clements Park and Woodman Road to replace the loss of service 73a during the week. It already operates there during the week.

Buses will depart from Woodman Road to the town centre Mondays to fridays at 0952,1152,1352,1503, and 1718. In addition other buses will depart from Woodman Road to Brentwood Station at 1101 and 1301 where connections will be avilable with other services into the town centre. On Saturdays buses will depart from Woodman Road at 0952,1052,1208,1252,1408,1503,1603.

Buses depart from the High Street back to Woodman Road on Mondays to fridays at 1055,1255,1455 and 1705 and on Saturdays at 0926,1044,1200,1244,1400,1455 and 1555.

Speaking about the announcement secretary of the Association David Kendall said "This is brilliant news because I know it will be a huge relief to the many residents who thought they were going to be stranded when First said they were cutting the service from the 5th May. I am pleased that the Passenger Transport Dept have listened to the representations made by myself, bus passengers and the Brentwood Bus & Rail Users Association. I would like to thank everyone who worked to save this important service because their efforts definitely made a difference"

The 71/72 timetable can be seen here

The 73 timetable starting on 7 May 2013 provided by First is here


351 bus to be half-hourly

The 351 bus between Brentwood and Chelmsford is to be a half-hourly service from Tuesday 7 May 2013. The timetable can be seen here


551 bus route to be renamed 9 bus route

The 551 will be changing to the 9 bus on the 6th of May 2013. The route will be slightly longer going to Warley. There will be an additional service, the 9A between Knights Way and Shenfield Station mornings and evenings, Monday to Friday.
The timetable can be seen here


265 new timetables April 2013

The 265 will be running to a new timetable from 28 April 2013.
The timetables can be seen here.



228 bus to stop running after 26 May 2013

The 228 bus running between Doddinghurst and Herongate via Brentwood will no longer run after 26 May 2013, it has been announced by Brentwood Community Transport.


81 and 82 timetables

The 82 bus has been revived and will run the same route as the 81 but in the opposite direction (anti-clockwise).

The Saturday timetables will remain as before.

The 81 Mon-Fri timetable can be seen here and the 82 Mon-Fri timetable can be seen here.

These changes will take place from 29th April 2013.

498 to go to Queens Hospital

The 498 Brentwood to Romford bus route will be extended to Queens Hospital, a victory after our long campaign.
The new route will be starting from 27th April 2013.

Here are the timetables -  
Monday to Friday




New 489 bus service

There is a new bus service running between Moreton and Queens Road, Brentwood on school days only .

The service is run by NIBS under contract to Essex County Council.

The timetable can be seen here.



Renewal of bus passes

We have received the following information Essex County Council. Note: renewal applications are only needed in the case of change of address.


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.






New timetable for 251 bus service

The new timetable which will start on 26 August can be seen here. We understand that drivers are to be instructed to wait for the 80C, in order to link the services.





First announces changes to services in Brentwood from 1st April 2012

Chris McCormick, General Manager for First in South Essex, has today announced forthcoming timetable changes for the 351 and 551 bus services in Brentwood.

Following recent consultation with the Brentwood Bus and Rail User Group and detailed analysis of the performance and punctuality of these services - which link Brentwood with Chelmsford (via Billericay and Basildon) - from 1 April they will operate to a new and slightly revised timetable.

·         351 – The majority of daytime journeys will now leave Chelmsford at 5 minutes past the hour, with the 0740 (Chelmsford to Brentwood) service departing 5 minutes earlier at 0735.

·         551 - Minor revisions to the Monday - Saturday timetable with some adjustments to intermediate.

Speaking about these changes, Mr McCormick said; “At First we pride ourselves on providing safe, reliable and punctual services to the people of Essex. 

“The changes we have made to these timetables, which have been well received by the local bus and rail user groups, allow additional running time on each journey and more importantly, will help to improve the punctuality of each service.”   

Wendy Way, Chair of the Brentwood Bus and Rail User Group, said: “We are delighted that First are making changes to the 351 service and routing the bus back to their Chelmsford Depot. 

“We hope this helps to provide and even more reliable service.”


Further details of services and full timetable information is available from

Brentwood - Bulphan - Grays bus route changes

From 2 April 2012 the 565 will be going from Brentwood to Bulphan instead of Grays.
There will be a new bus route from West Horndon via Bulphan to Grays. This will be the 564, run by First Buses on Mondays to Saturday (excluding bank holidays) and will depart from West Horndon Station at 9.08, 10.08, 11.08, 13.08 and 14.08 and from Grays at 9.45, 10.45, 12.45,13.45 and 14.45 Thurrock Council are proposing a local bus leaflet to cover the 564 route and other local bus routes.
The 565 timetables up to and after April 2012 can be seen here.


73 - last evening bus could be cut

At a consultation meeting run by Essex County Council attended by Brentwood Bus and Rail Users' Association, it was stated because the 73 evening service was not meeting the numbers of passengers required , the last bus could be cut to make the service viable if there continue to be too few passengers. There is a shortfall of just 6 passengers, so just a few extra passengers could make all the difference and keep the service going. The details of the evening service can be found here.


898 Queens shopper new timetable

The 898 is running to a new timetable as from 28 November 2011 The revised timetable can be seen here



Regal taking over from Imperial

The following routes, currently operated by Imperial will be run by Regal Busways from 28 November 2011:

71/72 –      Warley to Stondon Massey

261 -          Blackmore to Brentwood

268/269 -  Brentwood to Grays



Ensign buses Christmas special trips

Ensign buses will be running vintage bus trips to Lakeside and Bluewater on Saturday 3 December 2011. Bus stops will include Shenfield Station, Brentwood High Street and Brentwood Station.
Details of the trips can be found on the Ensign bus site at

21 route going to Harlow again

The 21 route had been cut, going to Epping only.
It has now been reinstated as a route going all the way to Harlow.
This will be a relief to passengers whose journey was made intolerable by having to wait at Epping Station for a connecting bus to Harlow.


First Buses have new tracking system

The new tracking system shows where a bus is on its route via GPS satellite tracking and is viewed on a Google map.
This will show if a bus is not on the correct route.


Changes to 351 route

The 16.00 from Chelmsford to Brentwood will leave 10 minutes later, at 16.10
The 15.11 from Brentwood to Chelmsford will leave 10 minutes later, at 15.21


265 bus route to be extended

The 265 bus service that currently runs fom Brentwood to Lakeside is to have its route extended from 2 July 2011. The bus will run from Pilgrims Hatch to Lakeside. The timetable can be seen here. It will also be possible to use return tickets bought on this service for travel between Brentwood and Orsett on the 565 and vice versa.

Transport for London reconsidering 498 route

Our petition asking Transport for London to revise its position on the 498 route and extend it to Queen's Hospital may be bearing fruit. We have received a letter from TfL containing the following:
"I am sorry that you were unhappy with my colleague's (Andrew Ackfords's) response. In the light of your further feedback, I have contacted our network development team. They have confirmed to me that they are reviewing route 498 as part of a comprehensive review of services that run through the Harold Hill area of Havering. We will be considering the suggestion in your petition in detail in that work that is currently underway. Unfortunately there is no time scale for when this review will be completed, however the team are working on it as a priority".



SM Coaches cut 21 service

SM coaches have stopped running off peak services to Harlow from Monday to Friday. Instead, these services are terminating at Epping station. Passengers wishing to go to Harlow will need to catch the 19 bus from Epping station.
Here is the timetable (19, 20 and 21)


Cuts to 81 bus route

From 23 April 2011, the Saturday service will be cut to an hourly service, and the Monday to Friday evening services to Shenfield station will be cut. The timetable can be seen here.


Extended 565 bus route

The 565 bus route is to be extended to run to Grays from 4 April 2011 . We have received this information from Essex County Council:

The service is currently operated under contract to Essex County Council, however, improvements have been made with additional funding from Thurrock Council. These changes include:-

  • Hourly off-peak service beyond Bulphan to Grays from 0915-1615 and return buses from Grays 0945-1645

  • The service will serve Orsett Hospital directly and provide connections for Lakeside and other destinations within Thurrock from Grays, as well as linking to the c2c railway at Grays.

  • There will be an hourly clock face timetable throughout the day along the route,

  • There will be significantly more buses for West Horndon and Bulphan. All journeys now serve these points.

  • Evening departures from Brentwood slightly later

  • Journeys to/from Sawyers Hall College have been retained with some minor timing changes.

Service 374 – Bulphan to West Horndon

  • This Thurrock Council Contract will be withdrawn. Last day of operation will be 2nd April 2011.

  • Service 565 offers replacement service throughout the day.

The timetable for the new service can be seen here.



New 898 bus service to Queen's Hospital

The Queens Shopper Service

Essex County Council, the Rural Community Council and Brentwood Community Transport working in partnership with Blackmore, Wyatts Green, Doddinghurst, Pilgrims Hatch parishes are pleased to announce The Queens Shopper Bus, commencing on May 3rd 2011.  The service will operate every weekday to Brentwood and Romford Town Centres and Queens Hospital, Romford. 

This service will not operate on a bank holiday.

Personal Service

This service has timed stops in the villages and in Brentwood but can be adapted to meet the needs of the passenger. As long as it is safe to do so, the bus will stop within the village. If you would like help boarding or leaving the vehicle, or with shopping bags, please speak to the driver.




Blackmore, Wyatts Green, Doddinghurst, Pilgrims Hatch to Brentwood



Blackmore, Wyatts Green, Doddinghurst, Pilgrims Hatch to Romford



Brentwood to Romford



  • Any person wishing to travel on The Queens Shopper Bus will be able to pay for their fare on the bus. 

  • Children aged 5 to 16 travel half price.

  • Children under 5 travel for free

  • If you hold a concessionary bus pass you will need to show your pass to receive free transport. 

Concessionary passes

  • If you need to apply for a concessionary bus pass please contact Brentwood District Council 01277 312817

Lost Property

If you leave something on the bus contact Brentwood Community Transport on 01277 228080

The timetable can be seen here .




Members and friends of BBARUA celebrate the new bus
  The new bus to Queens  


498 Petition Update


Members of the Brentwood Bus & Rail Users Association (BBRUA) have been overwhelmed by the level of support they have received from Brentwood residents for their petition to get the 498 Bus Service to go into the grounds of Queens Hospital in Romford. The petition that was started in January now has 1300 signatures from bus users all over Brentwood and the villages and more are coming in all the time. The BBRUA have been calling for Transport for London (TFL) to provide the direct service into the hospital grounds for many years because elderly residents have had to get off at Romford Station and either walk to the hospital or wait for another bus.This has led to some Brentwood bus users having to catch three buses for a hospital appointment causing a great deal of anxiety and stress. Up until now TFL have said that it would not be commercially viable to extend the service and have refused to take any action. However the BBRUA are now hoping that when TFL see the strong level of support the petition has received they will think again.
Speaking about support for the petition the Associations Secretary, David Kendall said “We would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who has signed the petition and who helped us collect the signatures from all over the Borough. The level of support has been tremendous and should leave TFL in no doubt that there definitely is a demand for a direct 498 service into the grounds of Queens Hospital. We believe the needs of Brentwood’s bus users have been ignored for too long and we will now be calling on TFL to make this much needed change as soon as possible”.

The petition reads:
We, the undersigned Brentwood residents, call upon Transport for London to re-route their 498 Brentwood - Romford Bus service into the grounds of Queens Hospital, Romford, as soon as possible. At present elderly passengers using the 498 are having to walk from Romford Station to Queens Hospital and for many this is causing a great deal of hardship and distress.

The petition can also be signed online at:

or contact Cllr David Kendall on 07768 667824.


501 route replaced by SM Coaches 21

From the 7th February 2011 Arriva withdrew the 501 route Monday to Saturday -Warley to Harlow. SM Coaches No.21 has taken over.
Here is the timetable (19, 20and 21)


Bus passes to stay at 9am start time

Wendy Way, the Chair of BBARUA has contacted Richard Gravatt, the Essex County Council Passenger Transport Strategy Manager concerning the bus pass start time.

He replied:"Yes, I can confirm that a Cabinet Member Action (CMA) has been issued confirming the Essex offer as 09:00 start 24:00 finish and companion passes in addition to the statutory minimum. We do not intend to run taxi token or reduced cost rail passes. If possible we intend to use the current local council structure for delivery at least in the first year, so residents should be able to use their local council to apply as now.  We will be reviewing service delivery mechanisms over the next year with an open mind, but will go with the best way of delivering the service. there are no intentions at this point to change the ‘offer’".



Vintage bus run cancelled

The Saturday 4th December Vintage bus Special service that was due to run to Lakeside and Bluewater every half hour has been cancelled due to the bad weather. The 81 bus route will still run as normal.
Paul Dickson of Ensignbuses has advised that due to the continuing adverse weather and road conditions some of the roads the special X81 would have to travel down are likely to be quite treacherous and unsuitable for a vintage bus.

Low floor buses soon

First Buses have told BBARUA that the 351and 551 bus routes will soon have low floor buses, although they will not be new. This will be of benefit to users with disabilities as it has been difficult, if not impossible, for some to climb the steps on many of the existing buses.

351 and 551 timetable changes

Wendy Way, the Chair of BBARUA has written to First Group expressing her concern that from 4 October the bus after 10.00am from Brentwood High Street to Chelmsford will not be until 26 minutes past the hour. She asked: "why it will be 20 minutes later than it does now- that is a big difference. Also the bus is leaving Chelmsford 10minutes later than it does now and residents on route who have to get to Queens Hospital in Romford will get into Brentwood and just miss the 498 and have a half an hour wait for the next bus. This puts on extra pressure for residents and we cannot see why you have had to change this time table it is only every hour. Is it possible for you to liaise with Basildon and get this changed.
We hope too that Basildon will give this route a regular service as we have had so many problems with vehicles breaking down and lack of drivers on the 551 route. We are still waiting for LOW floor vehicles to be introduced on both the 551 and the 351 routes."
Wendy Way is pursuing this with First Group.
The 3.40pm 551 bus from Brentwood Station to Hutton Village is no longer running.

The current timetables can be found at

351 Route

551 Route

Membership drive success

Members of BBARUA were out and about on Brentwood High Street on 11 September publicising the organisation. As a result, eight more people joined.

Membership drive 01 drive 02 drive 03 drive 04


New bus service- 339

There is a new bus service running between Warley and Blackmore. It runs via Brentwood Station, Brentwood High Street, Pilgrims Hatch, Kelvedon Hatch, Ongar and High Ongar. The timetable can be found on the Traveline website

Threats to bus services - use them or lose them

The 81 bus service could be reduced to an hourly service causing particular inconvenience to Hutton passengers. Ensignbuses will be reviewing the service in December and if the number of users has not increased then the income would not justify the current frequency of service.
The 80A and 80C Sunday services could also be under threat as few Hutton residents are using them. Wendy Way again stresses that passengers should use the buses or lose them.

Bus pass questionnaire

Cllr David Kendall, our Secretary, has just been sent a letter outlining the details of a major consultation Essex County Council are undertaking regarding bus passes. They say the purpose is for Essex to understand how people value the various elements of their pass or alternative concessions when they are provided. The consultation is running from the 1st July to 30th September 2010. The questionaire can be obtained by calling Essex County Council on 08457 430 430 or from libraries across the County or online at BBARUA asks that you state that you want the passes to start at 9 am, not at 9.30 am.

End of X3 bus service

Excel Coaches will be ending the X3 bus route from Grays to Stansted on the 1st August 2010.

80A and 80C Sunday Savers

Contrary to what passengers on the 80A and 80C have been told, Sunday Savers are being sold on those buses.

Yellow lines for High Street bus stops

Yellow lines have now been painted at the bus stop bays in Brentwood High Street. There had been several instances of cars parking in the bus stop bays near Wilsons Corner, forcing the buses to stop away from the bus stops. Wendy Way, the Chair of BBARUA, reported this to Essex County Council. They should now be enforcing the parking ban, but cars are still parking at the stops.

Bus stops now have numbers

Passengers had suddenly found that the bus stops in Brentwood High Street had their numbers removed,causing confusion amongst bus users, many unsure where their bus should be stopping. Wendy Way, the Chair of BBARUA expressed her outrage to the County Council. As a result, the bus stops now now have the numbers restored. The County Council, despite a flurry of disruptive road works shoehorned into the end of the financial year, initially failed to reinstate the bus stop outside Brentwood Town Hall. We were told that a temporary bus stop cannot be used as it would be "prone to removal by unauthorised persons". The bus stop flag has now been installed on an existing lamp post, not on its own pole - so why the delay?

81 bus to continue but with shortened route

We have spoken to a representative from the company that is hoping to take over from First Buses, Ensignbus. The 82 route is would be discontinued, but the 81 route would run every 20 minutes in the rush hours and otherwise every half hour. The bus company promises that all the buses will be low floor, which would be of benefit to many users. However, we now hear that the Kavanaghs Road - Crescent Road - London Road section is to be discontinued as the company believes that this section would be uneconomic. The website for Ensignbus is The buses should be running from May 4.

80a and 80c to stay for another year

We have heard that Essex County Council is recommending that this Sunday service is to be kept for another year. It is up to passengers to keep using the service as they are basing their support on an increase in use of the buses.

Revised 498 bus timetable

The 498 bus service has a revised timetable. The TfL times from Brentwood (Sainsbury's) are here and from Romford Station are here. Further details can be accessed on the TfL website here (Adobe Reader needed for the timetables)

New bus stop map at Romford rail station

Peter Smith, the Patient and Public Involvement Officer at Queens Hospital, has, together with the Local Map Company, drawn up a map showing the location of the bus stops near Romford Station that serve Queens Hospital. The Station Manager, Bill Arrabis, has agreed that the A2 sized map will be on display at the station by the end of October 2009.

New night bus service to Basildon

There is a new bus service to Basildon Leisure Cerntre. This N2 service is a Regal Busways route and runs on Friday and Saturday nights. A copy of the leaflet announcing the service is here and the timetable is here.

498 will not go to Queen's Hospital

We have heard from Transport for London that the 498 bus will not be going to Queen's Hospital in Romford. TfL had intended terminating the route in the Borough of Barking and Dagenham, claiming that this was the only way to make it viable. Barking and Dagenham Council have blocked the route extension, although local consultation in 2006 showed that out of 266 responses, 211 were in favour of the extension and only 21 were against. At the time, TfL was optimistic that the service would go ahead but subsequently Barking and Dagenham Council considered that those against were at a key part of the route and took their side and asked for alternative routeing. TfL investigated alternative routes but these were turned down on grounds of cost, and did not go back to public consultation.
Needless to say , we feel that this is an insult to the people of Brentwood, who had been assured that the new hospital would be easily accessible. Wendy Way, Chair of BBARUA, has written to Essex County Council to see if they can intervene, and to the local press. We will campaign to get this service which is now being denied to Brentwood patients by Barking and Dagenham Council and TfL.


New Sunday bus route - use it or lose it!

waiting for the sunday bus

Since Brentwood Bus and Rail Users' Association was founded, a main plank of our campaign for better bus services has been the reinstatement of Sunday services. The Cabinet members of Essex County Council decided to start a trial of new services on Sundays and bank holidays to cover Brentwood South and a number of areas that do not have a service. The decision paper can be seen here and the proposed timetables of the 80A here and 80C here. These services started on October 4th, and run through the Eastham Estate. As this is a temporary trial we urge you to use the buses if you are on the route, otherwise it could be withdrawn.







Members of BBARUA look forward to the new service


Archived News

High Street works

Due to the works being carried out in Brentwood High Street, the 501 Harlow bus was picking up and dropping off passengers in Queens Road rather than the High Street. We are now informed that all buses that normally stop in the High Street should still be stopping there. However, the works have led to delays and cancellation of buses. There are now no pedestrian crossings in the High Street and we are concerned at this dangerous turn of events.
Brentwood Bus and Rail Users' Association shall continue to monitor developments.

"Try a bus" day

A member informed the BBARUA Committee that there was to be a "Try a Bus Day" on 21st May in Basildon for local disabled people to "try a bus , in a safe environment, to see if they can or cannot use public transport". They would have "the opportunity to ask any questions of staff (bus company and ECC including trainers)".
It does not appear, however, that the same kind of event is due to happen in Brentwood. Wendy Way, the Chair of BBARUA, wants to know why we do not get low floor buses on the 81, 82 and 551 routes for disabled people and wheelchair users in Brentwood.


High Street bus stops

The bus stop outside Lloyds Bank has been removed. The 551 is now stopping at stand B and the 565 is finally stopping at stand C after a great deal of confusion. The 81 and 82 should now stop at stand A (the 351 bus stop). Our hope was that there would not be the chaos that occurred with the last bus stop shuffle. However, Essex County Council and the bus companies managed to make a mess of it yet again. ECC initially claimed that the Lloyds Bank bus stop had not been moved (though it had). After it was moved, the drivers of the 551, the 81 and the 82 did not know where to stop. The new bus sign at stand B was blank, and passengers did not know where to catch their buses.
The works on the High Street are not due to affect the bus routes until July (hopefully). We will publish any route changes when we get the information.

Hanging Hill Lane open

Hanging Hill Lane is now open to traffic and the 551 bus route is back to normal.

521 to North Weald Market on Saturdays cut

From April 1st the 521 from Brentwood to North Weald Market on Saturdays is no longer runnning.

498 rumours unfounded

Passengers on the 498 bus have been told that the bus is to go to Queen's Hospital. Wendy Way, the Chair of the Brentwood Bus and Rail Users' Association contacted Transport for London and was told that this has not been agreed .

Wendy on BBC Essex

Wendy Way phoned in to the Sadie on Sunday show on BBC Essex on Sunday 22 February 2009, in response to a quote that Harriet Harman, the deputy Labour leader had said that bus companies could be forced by law to remove routes from more affluent areas and open new services in poorer districts. Wendy explained that there were no evening or Sunday bus services for large parts of Brentwood. She would be writing to Harriet Harman, with a plea for help to get these services, and agreed to let BBC Essex know what the reply was.

Dirty buses caused by bus wash freeze-up

Wendy Way wrote to First Buses as buses were so dirty that the drivers had to open the side doors to see left. In reply, the Operations Manager stated that the bus wash had stopped working due to the water freezing, and that when the cleaners tried to use a mop and bucket, the windows froze over.

New bus to Lakeside

The new 265 bus service runs from Brentwood to Lakeside stopping at East Ham Estate, Herongate, West Horndon, Bulphan and Orsett see the Traveline timetable

All concessions 9am start

The previous concessionary inconsistencies between boroughs in Essex (some starting at 9am, some at 9.30am) have been resolved and now all cards are valid from 9am.

Oyster cards available

After a long campaign, Oyster cards are now available in Brentwood. They are on sale at Nisa Metro, 96a Brentwood High Street. Oyster cards can also be topped up at the shop.

Bus service cuts

Wendy Way, the Chair of BBARUA, phoned First Buses when the 10.15 am 551 bus was cancelled on the 18th of September.
Wendy was told that First are 10 drivers short as 7 have left and 3 have come from another depot and are still being trained. The disruption will carry on for a few weeks. The cuts are being spread over different services.

Bus service improvements

The 73 bus will be changing from a 20 minute service to a 15 minute service. The 73 is also to have an hourly evening service. These changes are due to take place in October. BBARUA have also been campaigning for evening and Sunday services on all routes. Our campaign for a Sunday service for East Ham estate continues.

The 73 and 351 routes will get low floor buses by April 2009. According to Bob Dore, Chelmsford manager of "First" buses, there are not enough fare-paying passengers on the 551, 81 or 82 routes to get low floor buses - we dispute this.

The 351 will extend to Clements Park from October to the doctors' surgery at Beechwood.

The 71, 72 and 261 services are now run by Imperial Buses.

The free bus to the new "Community Hospital" will be stopping outside Marks and Spencer in Brentwood High Street. We have not yet been told at what time it starts or how often it will run from Brentwood or Shenfield stations.

Bus pass blunder

People receiving their concessionary bus passes were concerned that the promised 9.00 am start has changed to 9.30 am, according to the accompanying letter. This, we hear from Brentwood Council, was due to the letter being sent out by the card suppliers before being seen by the Council. There was also a great deal of annoyance that passes arrived after their starting date of April 1st and it took two weeks for some people to get their cards.
The 9.00 am start still stands for Brentwood residents as decided by Brentwood Council (see article)

Bus rethink after passenger injury

Brentwood passengers on First buses have had to negotiate steps into almost all of the buses. It has been difficult for people with disabilities or pushing prams to use the buses and impossible for people in wheelchairs. Wendy Way, the Chair of BBARUA, has been campaigning for low floor buses, but has met with intransigence from First Buses so far.

A passenger was recently injured on one of the First buses and this has caused First to think again. They will be putting more low floor buses on the routes. What BBARUA wants is that all buses are low floor as in London, and in the meantime that the timetables show when the low floor buses are turning up so that those who need them do not have to wait for an indeterminate time.

Victory for over 60's

At the Brentwood Council meeting on 26th February 2008, the Council rejected the recommendations that bus passes should only be valid from 9.30 a.m. and voted to continue the 9 a.m. start time. The alternative could have made travel impossible for many people in outlying districts and the decision is a victory for common sense.

Bus passes or ID cards?

It is with some concern that we hear that the bus passes to be offered to over 60's may be identity cards in disguise. It appears that the UK government intends that the passes will contain RFID chips which carry personal information and could be linked to a national database. These cards can be read from a distance and it is claimed that they can be easily copied without the owners knowledge using equipment that is easily obtained on the internet.

We will be asking Essex County Council to ensure that future bus passes are used for concessionary travel purposes only.

For more information on the UK campaign against ID cards, see the NO2ID website

498 to Queen's Hospital - meeting about the delay

First we were told that the 498 would be running to Queen's Hospital at the beginning of October, then from the end of October, then the beginning of next year. Now we are told that it will be in mid 2008. Needless to say, we are furious at this cavalier treatment of Brentwood people and are demanding some answers, also including which bus company will be running the buses and where the bus will be stopping en route. Wendy Way, the Chair of BBARUA, together with Peter Smith, the Queen's Hospital Patient Liaison Officer have met with Transport for London representatives to express their concerns. We understand that Arriva have had their contract extended until June.

351 revised route ( now 73 on Sundays)

The 351 bus is not running to Romford as from 19th August, as the route from Brentwood to Romford is already covered by the 498 bus. On Sundays from 26th August, the 73 bus is running to Brentwood Station via Bishops Hall Estate. Warley residents feel let down, as they had presumed that the bus would run to the full extent of the 73 route.

The Sunday bus service will be from 8.30 am to 8.30 pm.

Hail and Ride Problems

According to the promises made by First and Regal Buses, the 73A and the 565 Buses were supposed to be hail and ride, meaning that they would stop on request. This apparently had not been passed on to the drivers, and some had been refusing to let people on or off except at bus stops. BBARUA has chased this up and has had an apology from customer services at First buses. We now understand that both services are now stopping on request.

Sunday and evening bus service consultation 

On 19th January 2007 Essex County Council held a drop-in meeting at Brentwood Town Hall to show their proposals for bus service improvements and find out by consultation the potential use of an extended service.

The County Council proposed starting evening and Sunday bus services for Brentwood. There were displays of the proposed routes and questionnaires for people to fill in.

Wendy Way, the Chairman of the Brentwood Bus & Rail Users Association said that she was hoping that this was a start as the Association had been waiting for over a year since she and David Kendall, the Secretary, had requested such a consultation.

A series of proposals has been put forward by Essex County Council (see the recommendations)

picture of a bus user
          Bus user Jacqueline Dessent fills in a questionnaire.

Bus Routes

498 TFL bus from Brentwood to Romford - we are trying to get TFL to let us sell the Oyster Card at the Information Bureau in the High Street as these can only be purchased in Romford.

551 - We were hoping after a positive report of Essex Council officers to Brentwood Council that there would be an evening and Sunday service. Unfortunately, this was turned down due to the claim of the bus company that it would be unprofitable to run the service, and it would only be reconsidered if the 73 Sunday route proved unpopular.

565 - Regal Busways - a word of praise. The buses are being cleaned regularly, and we have heard from the customers that they are very satisfied with the courteous drivers - well done.

Bus passes

The Leader of Brentwood Council has claimed that 7000 free bus passes issued to pensioners were not being used. The Brentwood Bus and Rail Users Association responds.

Unreliable service
Wendy Way, the Chairman of the Brentwood Bus and Rail Users' Association wrote a response to the Brentwood Weekly News:
I read with great interest your article on the cost of the "Free Bus Pass". As I have written before - what good is a "Gold Plated Bus Pass" when we do not receive a decent bus service in Brentwood? No buses after 7pm, only 30 minute and hourly services, no Sunday or bank holiday services except 351, 222 and 498 from the High Street every two hours or hourly for the 498 route to Romford, but we cannot get to the High Street.

I dare say that the extra pensioners who applied for the free pass own cars and, until the free pass was available, have always used their cars. After waiting hours on end for buses that do not turn up or are cancelled, they have gone back to using their cars - and I do not blame them. To live in Brentwood, you need to be able to drive and own a car - you will never get residents to give up their cars when we have such an unreliable service.

Freedom passes in London enable pensioners to use buses, underground and overhead trains free from Zone 1 to Zone 6. Why are we not treated the same in Essex? We are unable to attend the Brentwood Theatre or the Brentwood Centre in the evening unless we pay for taxi fares to get home. We are expecting a new cinema in Brentwood but it will be of no use to pensioners who do not have cars to get to and from the cinema in the High Street - so that will not benefit us.

I would like our council leader, Mr Brandon Lewis, to give up his car for one week and travel by public transport and then let us have his comments.

Having worked all my life and paid my taxes and now a pensioner, I feel I deserve something for free, but I pay full council tax of £114 per month with no rebate so if the "free pass" has to be paid for by council tax payers, then I will be paying for my own pass!

Bus nightmare

Picture of bus from Brentwood station to Hell

David Kendall, the Secretary of Brentwood Bus and Rail Users' Association also responded to the Council Leader in the Brentwood Gazette:

While this Government may be wanting to encourage more people to switch from using their cars to using public transport as a part of the fight against climate change, they haven't got a clue just how difficult it is for many people in places like Brentwood to make the change. Local bus services and timetables make getting anywhere by bus for a specific business, leisure or doctor's appointment, a logistical nightmare and the situation doesn't look like improving.

Sadly the plight of Brentwood's bus users only seems to appear on most of our local councillors' radars when they are discussing things like the cost of pensioners' bus passes, so they too need to wake up to the problems faced by people on a day-to-day basis. I would like to see our local councillors try using the local bus services to get them from where they live to the town hall for a specific daytime meeting.

I'd like to suggest that they also try the same exercise in the evening, but as we have only the 498 evening service operating in Brentwood the chances are they would never get home. By using the services themselves to try and get somewhere and on time they would start to understand the misery and frustration felt by so many of our local bus users, particularly in the outlying areas.

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in Brentwood has access to a car and many people of all ages, particularly the elderly, rely heavily on the buses as their only means of transport. I would like to see Brentwood Borough Council using its resources and expertise to fight for better bus and rail services in our area and working with other interested groups such as the Brentwood Bus and Rail Users' Association in driving this agenda forward.

I am sorry to say this is not happening at the moment.

While council leader Brandon Lewis might be concerned about the ongoing costs of providing free bus passes for local pensioners, I wish he would look at the wider picture and remember the words of a pensioner who famously said: "You can have a gold-plated bus pass but if you haven't got any buses you aren't going to get far."

The borough council used to liaise with the bus companies on a regular basis via the Bus Task Force, but this was scrapped when the Tories came to power. In fairness they did form a transport group under the Local Strategic Partnership. However, apart from our representative it consisted mainly of people who never used the local bus and rail services and was rarely attended by any of the bus operators such as First. While the group met a few times and made some progress, it hasn't met since April 2006, some six months ago.

I would urge Brentwood Borough Council to start actively working with our association in the fight to get better public transport services in our borough.