First Essex launch
First Essex has launched route ‘57’ from the new housing development of Beaulieu into Chelmsford. The direct service is intended to provide residents with a fast journey time of less than 20 minutes into Chelmsford city centre. Its arrival times have been coordinated with rail departures, which should allow commuters to travel to Liverpool Street station in London in less than an hour. Four new ADL Enviro200s buses are being introduced onto the service, fitted with luxurious E-Leather seating, CCTV and Wi-Fi, as well as a dedicated floor space for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The service will operate every 20 minutes Monday to Friday, every 30 minutes on Saturdays and hourly on Sundays. The partnership between local bus company First Essex and the residential developer, Countryside, is the first of its kind with travellers able to use an mTicketing facility on the service. Trials undertaken by First Bus have suggested this technology can ‘dramatically reduce’ boarding times on buses.
General Manager of First Essex, Steve Leonard, said, ‘Exciting times are ahead. I am pleased to be announcing a joint investment with our partners at Countryside of £640,000 in four new buses to the First Essex bus fleet that will start operation on our new “Service 57” serving the Beaulieu development. Through the partnership with Countryside, many residents on the new Beaulieu development have signed up to a transport scheme providing them with annual bus tickets to use on the brand new service. The popularity of the service even before it has started operating has been exceptional.’
Countryside and partners L&Q have designed the new development at Beaulieu and when completed it will provide 3,600 new homes and community facilities. MD of Strategic Land at Countryside, Andrew Carrington, said, ‘We are pleased to offer our residents this brand new bus route and we are delighted that First Essex have come up with a fast efficient process to help speed up boarding times along the route.’