Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Ten : Twentytwo : Thirty : Forty (3)

First Bus Tries Again.
The X30 has been around for some time, running hourly between Southend, Chelmsford and Stanstead Airport. Over the years it has had a variety of rolling stock. An "ordinary" bus ...
... and a coach in the original "aircoach" style that we have met before on the X22.
The most recent manifestation is in a style compatible with First's "national" image.
There is a leaflet, also decorated with the latest image.
It contains a timetable ...
... with fares. The on-line version is dated February 2015 so these may have been "revised".

But from Monday last a new "X" to Stansted has been introduced.

Hail the X10!
There is a stylised map ...
... and a logo and tag line that most definitely isn't corporate First.
"From HERE to AIR" - weak sympathetic smile! The new timetable is in standard style.
And what about the vehicles, you may ask?

You may ask indeed. First's recent press release does not show a full frontal image of the bus.
The logo is there and what looks suspiciously like a standard bus advert in a standard bus advert frame. The other pic that came with the press release is equally unrevealing
The same trendy holiday-attired young things; the same logo and the same advert panel. (Odd that these promotions never seem to include non-trendy old things like fbb - he will even put on a pair of baggy khaki shorts for a small fee. Hmmm. Perhaps not, eh?)

And, further good news for customers from September, the new route will see 5 brand new buses introduced with shiny modern interiors, extra comfy real leather seats, free WiFi, USB charging points and large luggage racks fitted as standard. The service will also benefit from a brand new creative identity with sleek, eye-catching exteriors.

Ah, there it is from the minutiae of the Press Release. New buses arrive in September. Until then, fbb reckons that the pictures were of a sticker-bedecked one of these:-
Perhaps one of our correspondents may be able to send a piccy of what actually turned up on the first few days?

Not "X" to Stansted
Back-tracking a little and returning to the X30. This long-standing route is fast between Chelmsford and the airport with one nominal stop in the middle of nowhere. Unfair, perhaps, the stop is in Barnston Village, near the schjool.
fbb is not sure whether the fellah, seen here on Streetview, is a passenger or just having a chat with the driver.

First also runs an hourly "stopping" bus, the 42A. It also runs to Barnston ...
... before turning left to Stansted.
Service 42A is an hourly extension of a cross town ten minute frequency service. (click on the timetable to enlarge).
An hour's journey instead of 35 minutes would not be attractive to a through passenger, but a steady progress through attractive villages might be more entertaining.

Which leaves us with one critical question. Will the new X40 be sufficiently attractive to the residents of Basildon, Eastmayne, Wickford and Runwell (plus extras from Chelmsford) to akea go of the service where the X40 and the X22 have both failed.

Time, as we often say in this blog, alone will tell.

But there just one small problem with Traveline. Here are First's two "X" route from Stansted ...
... both of which only run as far as Chelmsford. Obviously Traveline has something against Southend or Basildon; or maybe their people really don't know where the buses run.

Typical Traveline.

 Next bus blog : Thursday 28th July 


  1. As usual it is the dreaded split registration. Clicking on either route does, in fact, show a through timetable from one end of the route to the other. Unfortunately Traveline does not handle the connection well and implies a change of bus in Chelmsford.

  2. Yes, the press release pics show a Volvo 7900H in Basildon bus station but it's been reversed onto the stand and so the "trendy holiday-attired young things" have be shown wandering about the concourse. Can't see that happening in real life but what's advertising without a bit of mis-representation or spin?!