Uttlesford bus consultation feb 2022

Closed 28 Feb 2022

Opened 7 Feb 2022


Local Bus services in Uttlesford


We know that buses are important to many people. They help people reach school, college and work, to shop, go out and visit friends and to get to health appointments.

As in most cases outside London, the majority of the bus network in Essex (around 85%) is run commercially. The commercial bus services (which include most of the daytime and peak period services in and between Towns) do not form part of this consultation. The remaining 15% of the total bus network, operate principally in the evenings, on Sundays and in rural areas although some do operate in or between towns during weekdays and as school day only services. These services are not seen as commercially viable, and therefore without ECC funding they would not operate.

Where no commercial service is provided, the County Council has a duty to consider whether one is needed and if, in the Council’s view it is and there is budget to do so, then Essex County Council should seek to provide it.

How the Council decides whether a service is needed and what services it will support are set out in its Local Bus Strategy 2015 to 2020, which can be found at www.essex.gov.uk/publictransport.

The services provided under this policy are paid for by Essex taxpayers. At present ECC spends around £9m of taxpayers money on these services each year. The County Council also contributes to Community Transport schemes in Essex. Community Transport Schemes, provide vital services where there is no alternative means of transport provision.

As set out in the accompanying questionnaire, Essex County Council is undertaking a review of the local bus services it pays for in the Uttlesford District.This consultation does not cover services provided by the commercial bus operators, however, the main area wide review of services will include looking at them and considering what reasonable enhancements we can work with commercial operators to achieve – this will be done as part of the enhanced partnership work, previously consulted on.  

The list of services which is covered by this phase 1 are;

Service 5 -  Bishop’s Stortford to Stansted Airport – Monday to Saturday

Service 6 – Saffron Walden to Stansted Airport – Monday to Saturday

Service 301 – Bishop’s Stortford to Saffron Walden – Monday to Saturday

Service 313/313a – Saffron Walden to Great Dunmow – Monday to Saturday

Service 59/60 – Audley End to Haverhill – Monday to Saturday

Remember this consultation does not include services provided on a commercial basis. A review of the wider network which includes commercial services is being undertaken as part of the commitments in Essex County Council’s Bus Service Improvement Plan. Views on these will be invited in due course.

The questionnaire asks for your views about proposed changes to the timetables of the supported bus network. The document includes a copy of the existing and proposed timetables.

The consultation will commence 7th February and close on 28th February.

You will be able to access the consultation by clicking onto the link which is at the end of this document.

Before you complete the questionnaire, we would like to explain why this is being carried out.

Please be aware that the recent COVID pandemic and driver shortage has been a major issue with bus travel, across the Country. The intention of this consultation is to grow passenger numbers through changes to the bus network. Pre-covid passenger levels were declining, and the pandemic has had a further impact on the industry, however we believe that a meaningful and considered overhaul of the network within the district of Uttlesford will help provide a strong base position on which to rebuild the usage of public transport and play a valuable part in supporting the desire for people to travel more sustainably, with the range of benefits that brings.

You may also be aware that in March 2021 the Government introduced a National Bus Strategy – Bus Back Better which you can read hereIn response Essex County Council published a Bus Service Improvement Plan which can read here . The plan is a substantial document and Essex is a large area, with a complex geography and diverse communities. Part of the plan includes working with bus operators to put Enhanced Partnerships in place to take a joint approach to improving bus services in Essex. We will all work together to deliver a better, stronger bus network and reap the environmental, economic and social benefits that will flow from those improvements. A journey by bus is an investment in your community, in the environment and in your local economy.

The majority of bus services in the Uttlesford District are subsidised by Essex County Council and their contracts are reaching the end of their contractual period. Therefore, we are taking this opportunity to consult on the current Uttlesford Network which also takes into consideration various developer funding opportunities throughout the district. Developer funding is monies allocated towards infrastructure and improving bus travel.

We are carrying out this consultation in two phases:-

Phase 1is being consulted on now and includes 5 contracted services, 4 of the proposed changes to services will involve relatively minor route and timetable changes. The final one will have more substantial changes to the frequency of operation and provide a more suitable link between key towns in the area. It is anticipated to introduce these changes with effect from 1st August 2022.

Phase 2 will be carried out in the Spring 2022.


  • Uttlesford


  • All residents


  • Public transport
  • Community transport
  • Transport planning