I have decided I will not post about every transport ride I do, simply once at the end of the day. I understand I have only done stuff about buses at the moment - don't worry, train things to come! Anyway, onto the post!
Another new series on this blog is the 'What if?' section. It is where I will write of some possible routes or route extensions I would like to happen. My first 'What if?' is a route from Upminster into Essex.
My home town of Upminster is fairly well connected, with 2 Monday - Sunday bus services and 2 Monday - Saturday services (ALL TFL), detailed below:
The 248 links Upminster with Cranham, Hornchurch and Romford every 8 minutes during the day (Every 15 minutes on Sundays).
The 346 links Upminster with Cranham and Upminster Park Estate every 15 minutes during the day.
The 347 links Upminster with Ockendon, Harold Wood and Romford every 2 hours.
The 370 links Upminster with the towns/villages of Lakeside, Ockendon, Hornchurch and Romford every 15 minutes during the day (every 30 minutes on Sundays).
However, connections to Upminster are distinctly lacking in one area: Essex. Now, the 347 and 370 both venture into Essex beyond Ockendon, but I'm specifically talking about connections with non-London buses for onward travel. No non-London buses go to Upminster Park Estate, Cranham, Hornchurch or Romford. However, Ockendon and Lakeside both have multiple non-London buses, so what am I complaining about?
Ockendon has 1 Monday - Friday and 1 Monday - Saturday non-London bus service, listed below:
The 12 links Ockendon with Aveley, Belhus and Lakeside 4 times in the morning peak (Aveley - Lakeside) and 4 times in the evening peak (Lakeside - Aveley).
The 269 links Ockendon with Grays, Great Warley and Brentwood every 2 hours.
So not great connectivity there, but the 370 links Upminster and Ockendon with LAKESIDE. That's more promising - 10 non-London bus services, mainly listed below:
Ensign operates 9 routes, linking Lakeside (on Mondays - Saturdays) with Aveley, Bluewater, Tilbury, Chadwell St Mary, Stifford Clays, Purfleet, Grays etc. and (on Sundays) with Purfleet, Grays, Tilbury and Chadwell St Mary.
First operates service 100, linking Lakeside with Grays, Stanford-le-Hope, Basildon, Billericay and Chelmsford every 15 minutes Monday - Saturday during the day and every hour on a Sunday.
So the connections into Essex don't seem too bad from Lakeside... right? Wrong! If you look at all the Ensign destinations, none of those destinations (apart from Grays - explained in the next sentence) have direct connection with a bus into 'propa' Essex (eg. Chelmsford, Colchester, 'Saafend'). The 100 would be a very handy bus service - if it didn't take 2 hours to get to Chelmsford. So that's ruled out for a day out. It only takes an hour to get to Basildon, so that is really the only useful 2-bus link into Essex. There used to be an 848 and (I believe) 847 that linked Upminster with Ongar, when Travel with Hunny were in operation, but they are no longer. There is one non-London bus from Romford, but that leaves for Harlow at 14:00, so that's of not much use either. Furthermore, one bus DOES link just outside Upminster (Cooper's Company and Coborn School) with Great Warley, Brentwood and Billericay, but that is a school service. All the most handy services are always schools only! We do have a direct train service (the c2c) but some people prefer to use the bus and it would almost certainly be cheaper - especially if you were buying a day ticket.
So, to fix this lack of link, I propose 2 new bus services.
Upminster Station - West Horndon Station - Laindon, Southfields Business Park - Laindon Shopping Centre - Basildon Bus Station every 30 or 60 minutes.
The bus would run: Station Road (Upminster) - St Mary's Lane - Station Road (West Horndon) - Tilbury Road - Southend Arterial Road - W Mayne - Buxton Link - Bramston Way - Hornsby Way - Fenton Way - W Mayne - High Road - Laindon Link - Roundacre - Southernhay.
Unfortunately, due to St Mary's Lane being very tight in places, this would have to be run with a short bus eg. Optare Solo or 8.9m Enviro 200.
Upminster Station - Great Warley - Brentwood Station - Brentwood High Street every 60 minutes.
This bus would run: Hall Lane - Warley Road - Warley Hill - Kings Road - High Street
The route is quite short, so end-to-end and back again would take under 60 minutes, hence the frequency (it would only require one bus). The bus used could be a double decker if needed, but I have a feeling that - due to cost cutting measures - it would be a long single-decker (eg. 10.8m Enviro 200).
These routes would be very handy overall, but TFL probably wouldn't contract them, as they are nearly all outside the M25. For that reason, I reckon they would be operated on a commercial basis - probably by First Essex. If that was the case, they would probably use Solos and E200s already in the fleet.
I hope you enjoy this new series,