51 Bus Service Update

Last month, Melanie Williamson (Channels Resident & Parish Councillor for Little Waltham) attended a transport planning meeting arranged by Essex County Council. First Bus advised that the frequency of the 51 Bus Service would decrease at certain times and whilst the overall average and mean times for the service over the six days that it runs would remain at 30 minutes, some buses would only run up to every 40 minutes.

Unfortunately the amended frequency and timing impacted the busy period between 5pm & 7pm which would not have been helpful for either those that work in Chelmsford or those that commute as buses did not align with the arrival of trains.

As previously reported this issue was raised by Melanie Williamson at the Little Waltham Parish Council meeting on Tuesday 4th June with the result that both County Councillor John Aldridge and the Parish Council agreed to support residents in lobbying for the timetable to be re-considered.

We also wrote directly to Channels Omnibus Ltd, which is the organisation originally commissioned by developers to procure the 51 Bus Service, on behalf of residents noting concerns raised as a result of the the proposed timetable being shared.

A response has been received from Channels Omnibus Ltd as follows:

“…I am very pleased to report that they (First Bus) have both revisited and revised the timetable for the Channels Bus Service (Number 51) to address the concerns that you raise. They will be adding two additional buses from the Bus Station to Channels (at 18:00 and at 18:40) which means that a 20 minute service will be provided between 17:40 and 19:00. I attach a copy of the revised timetable for your reference and distribution. These changes to the timetable will take effect from Monday, 2 September 2019.”

On the assumption that reliability continues to improve, and is maintained, this should provide a robust and regular bus service to Channels residents which addresses the general concerns in relation to frequency and timing at key periods during the day.

To conclude, the originally amended timetable will still take effect on Monday 1st July and the new timetable with increased frequency at the peak evening time will take effect from Monday 2nd September.

Timetable wef Monday 1st July
Timetable wef Monday 2nd September

If you do encounter problems with the bus service (i.e. if it does not turn up or is more than 10 minutes late), don’t forget to log them so that we can provide feedback to the appropriate stakeholders.

All in all this is excellent news. There has been a significant improvement in the reliability of the bus service over recent months due to the persistence of the Community Group and the revised timetable shows that we do have a voice as residents as well support of key stakeholders. 🙂

Andrew Wright
Channels Residents Community Group