Review of the 7 and 8 Bus Services

September 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 


Essex County Council would like to hear your views as it starts a review of its Bus Strategy and how it provides financial support to local bus services.

In this challenging economic climate it is very important that we focus our expenditure where it is really needed to ensure value for money for residents.

This review will help to ensure that the bus services provided by the County Council meet, as far as possible, the essential needs of Essex. The outcome of the review will help to decide what types of service will be supported in future.

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

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



Here is an extract from the Section 106 Agreement;

“The County Council hereby covenants with the Owner and the Developer to place the Contribution [£100,000.00] into the Contribution account and to utilise the principal and interest solely to subsidise the provision of a bus service between Rochford and Rayleigh passing the Application Site on Rectory Road as the Engineer considers necessary or other bus service connecting Hawkwell with one or more of Rayleigh Rochford or Southend (in respect of which the Engineer shall consult with the Developer before making his decision) the unexpended balance of principal and interest on which account at the tenth (10th) anniversary of the receipt of the said Contribution in cleared funds after appropriate provision has been made for sums committed to be expended by the County Council prior to the said anniversary but not yet paid on the said anniversary shall be returned to the Payers”

If Essex County Council remove or reduce the subsidy on the Number 8 Service then we would expect ECC to use the above funding in substitution.
With regard to the 7 Service running through Hawkwell South or Hawkwell North Wards we will support any initiative taken by Hawkwell Parish Council or the District Ward Members for Hawkwell South or Hawkwell North to keep subsidised services.

Information on bus services from
In Hockley, Hawkwell and Ashingdon Essex County Council subsidises the following services:

Monday to Saturday

7  – ECC subsidises three services per hour between approx 0900 and 1500 to extend from Ashingdon Schools to Hockley Spa

8 – ECC subsidises one service per hour between approx 0900 and 1500 to extend from Golden Cross to Hockley Spa

If subsidies for extending weekday bus services beyond Ashingdon Schools / Golden Cross were cut there would only be an hourly service on the number 8 via Hawkwell and a half-hourly service between Hockley and Southend compared to every ten minutes at present.



7 – ECC subsidises the 1829 (1820) journey from Rayleigh to Southend

If this was cut there would be a one and a half hour gap between the last number 8 and the next number 7, or a two hour gap between services if the number 8 service were also cut.

8 – ECC subsidises the whole number 8 timetable between Southend and Rayleigh.



email your County Councillor




Bus Cuts Extra

April 21, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Essex County Council has now conveyed a decision not to provide an evening service on the Arriva 8 to Hawkwell.

Here are a few quotes from an Essex County Council email which was sent to me in 2003 to explain why Ashingdon has a good bus service but Hawkwell has none. It still makes no sense to me reading it again 6 years later.

“Under the Essex Road Passenger Transport Strategy , Ashingdon counts as a rural parish with a population of 2937 (1991 census, updated 1998). This means that it falls into category 5 and should ideally have an hourly service (minimum 8 return journeys) 6 days per week and at least 2 return journeys on Sundays.  It should be noted that this is  a minimum service level and a higher service level can be provided if this is deemed necessary. In the event, the economics of running a service on the existing half hourly pattern meant that the benefit to doing so instead of reducing it to hourly was deemed to outweigh the cost. (Vehicle and driver commitment over the day makes up a large part of the fixed cost of a service and extra trips are then possible on marginal cost alone)”
So the reason for the evening 7 being half hourly rather than hourly as prescribed by policy is clearly explained by the economic model referred to.
It seems to me that the issue upon which bus services for Hawkwell revolves is the status of Hawkwell bus routes under ECC Policy.

“Hawkwell, with a population of 10,667 falls outside the definition of a ‘rural area’ adopted by the County from national governments definitions of a rural area for its Rural Bus Grants. Hawkwell is therefore treated as an urban area under the RPTS and looked at in association with the major settlements. Minimum services in urban areas are based on a corridor approach, with minimum service levels supported down specific named corridors (a similar system applied to interurban routes). As an example, for Rayleigh, the route between Hockley and the Town Centre is specified as  requiring a 30 minute frequency in the peaks, and 60 minutes at other times. Should the commercial provision fall below this level, the County would in principal look to intervene to support it. (There are other limiting factors such as a maximum subsidy per passenger journey of £5 which would also apply.)”
“Unfortunately no route is specified in this way for Hawkwell [eg.,it is not a specific named corridor] so in principle, under the ERPTS, the County Council is not obliged to cover the withdrawal of commercial services in this area. 
So the answer lies, in my opinion, in getting ECC to specify the Hawkwell Section of the 8 a “specific named corridor” following which ECC is obliged to cover the withdrawal of commercial services in this area both day time and evening.

It make no sense to me that Hawkwell with a population 5 times the size of Ashingdon has no evening bus service whereas Ashingdon has a bus every half hour.

And there is the ridiculous situation that there is only one day time bus per hour to the Rochford District’s flagship Leisure Centre which is in Hawkwell on the bus route and no buses at all in the evening. Surely this is enough alone to warrant the Hawkwell bus route being a “specific named corridor.” 

Our County Councillors need to get together and sort out the red tape that is such a nonsense to any sane mind.