Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Ten : Twentytwo : Thirty : Forty (2)

Buses a-Plenty but Historically Confusing
fbb has visited Stansted Airport as a bleary-eyed passenger. The trip was from Isle of Wight to Zielona Gora in Poland for a nephew's wedding. The flight was by Ryan Air and left too early in the morning so an overnight non-sleep in the terminal was the best worst option. Likwise the return was too late! The return leg to London was in a National Express taxi (45 seater coach!) on which the fbb's were the only passengers. Sensibly, the driver ignored his scheduled stop at Stratford!

Yet again, fbb avers that he is no expert in bus and coach travel to busy airports. So here is the chubby one's weak-ish attempt to pull together some detail; this time on pay-the-driver "ordinary" bus services.

 Dates unknown 

First bus is operating services X22 from Clacton and Colchester to the airport and service X30 from Sarfend via Chelmsford. But all is not well with bus travel to Stansted.

 Late 2010 

A BUS service taking holidaymakers and airport workers from Clacton and Colchester to Stansted Airport is to be scrapped next year. The X22 bus, which picks up in Clacton, Essex University in Wivenhoe, Colchester town centre and Braintree, will stop operating on January 8. Bus operator First said the service is “not commercially viable”, but passengers and transport groups have criticised the decision.
The nearest alternative bus to the airport is the X5 from Ipswich, which calls at the Ardleigh Ramada Hotel and Marks Tey station only.

The X5 became National Express 250 which still runs.
It offers a two hourly service (overnight included) and runs 24/7

Saturday 8th January 2011 last the last day of First's X22.

 9th January 2011 

On the  9th Jan 2011 the TGM Group commenced operating the above airport coach service to Stansted Airport from  University of Essex, Colchester and Braaintree; the coach service operates around the clock every 2 hours between Stansted Airport, Braintree and Colchester. 
The link from Clacton is lost. Posh-ish coaches were used,
But in that form, at least, it was not to last.

 July 2011 

Bus services connecting Stansted Airport to Colchester, Braintree, and Bishop’s Stortford will be “further boosted” on July 3 2011, according to the Essex hub’s website. The affected routes are operated by transport company Tellings Golden Miller. TGM plans to abandon the existing X22 service to Colchester and Braintree in favour of a new bus route, the 133.

 At Present 

The 133 still exists but now rebranded by Arriva as part of the "sxconnect" network. ("sxconnect" = Essex Connect - chortle chortle!)
TGM sold out to Arriva in 2007. It would appear that the TGM identity is being (has been?) phased out in favour of Arriva.

Arriva's web site is poor. Full timetables are often not available and, instead of their excellent leaflet maps, we often have Google map overlays.
But the 133 service was even less helpful.
So it's off to Traveline for their version (click on the table to enlarge).
Like the erstwhile X22, the 133 is two hourly from Colchester and hourly from Braintree.

 and back to 2009 

A NEW airport link is taking off for Stansted Airport from Basildon. Local passengers and staff will be able to go up, up and away with First Essex buses, from next week. The company will operate an aircoach service – X40 - every two hours, from the town via Wickford and Chelmsford.
Alan Pilbeam ...
... managing director for First East England, said: "We are constantly improving services, so I am pleased to offer Basildon a fast, frequent and direct connection to Stansted airport. It really is a customers’ market for holidays right now – airlines are falling over themselves to attract trade, and we hope the new service will also bring a much-needed connection for shift workers at the airport."

It didn't!

 February 2010 

It seems a shame First have ditched the X40 route without really considering a few imaginative marketing options. The X40 Basildon to Stansted service wasn’t launched with any great fervour and has gone out with a whimper.

The X40 bus pictured above moved to Glasgow and then Aberdeen.


Which leaves the X30, lone survivor of First's four X services to Stansted Airport.
The above is an extract from the xephos data, probably input about ten years ago. But First is having anouther go.

But before we look at the X30 and the NEW First Bus X route which started last Monday, it is interesting / amusing / frustrating (delete where inapplicable) to find a Stantsed Airport web site sitting gloriously on-line and dated 2014/2015.
It lists the X30 as a "UK Express Coach" ...
... which is a bit of a stretch of the imagination - local slightly express fancy bus route might be better. Other (National) "Express Coaches" listed are ...
... but the 497 (Great Yarmouth) and 498 (Diss) remain a secret.

But it is the Airports assessment of local routes that provides the biggest laugh and or cry. We will look further in due course, but for the time being fbb would not advise the eager passenger, weary from his holiday or flight, to wait for a Uno 700 as illustrated on this site.
It doesn't exist! Time travellers might like to use the 2013 version.
Today's journey plan involves a change at Bishops Stortford.

Lets hope they are more up to date with their planes!

 Next Stansted blog : Wednesday 27th July 


  1. I use the Braintree - Stansted section of the 133 occasionally and it seems to be quite well patronised by airport workers however the two hourly frequency in the evenings is a pain.
    I think the issue with using the airport services when flying is that they need to be hourly but that is not always justified by the loadings.


  2. سوف نقدم الكثير من الخدمات لسكان مدينة الرياض اذا كنت يوماً تبحث عن شركة لتقديم الخدمات المنزلية ( التنظيف ) سوف نقدم لك خدمات متميزه عن عن باقي الشركات انها شركة ابو سمره
    لجميع الخدمات المنزلية هي الرائدة والمتميزة فى مدينة الرياض .انها تقدم العديد من الخدمات شركة تنظيف بالرياض وايضا شركة تنظيف شقق بالرياض شركة تنظيف فلل بالرياض شركة تنظيف موكيت بالرياض من اهم خدماتها هيا التنظيف التى تقدمها شركة ابو سمره والتى تتميز بها عن باقي الشركات اعمال النظافة بشكل عام ومتميز مثال شركة تنظيف خزانات بالرياض هيا شئ مهماً شركة عزل خزانات بالرياض
    لدينا كل الحلول لمشكلة التسربات المائية لانها و نمتلك افضل و احدث الاجهزة للكشف عن اماكن التسرب وبدون تكسير مع الاصلاح .شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض بدون تكسير لاننا الافضل عن باقي الشركات من الخدمات التى حازت على اعجاب العديد من عملائها شركة تسليك مجاري بالرياض
    وايضا وبكل دقة ونقاء وتعد افضل
    شركة تنظيف بيارات بالرياض شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض وخدمات كثير اخرى فى التنظيف مثال : شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض متميزة ايضا فى مكافحة الافات والحشرات وبالاضافة ننقل الاثاث فى سيارات مجهزة على افضل مستوى شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض تعد الشركا الولي في هذا المجال لاننا تعمل في هاذ المجال اكثر من 15 عاما كما تقدم الشركة خدمات شركة تخزين اثاث بالرياض نحن تمتلك مستودعات لتخزين العفش وضمان عدم الخدش او التجريح . ان كنت تعانى من مشاكل الديكورات والتشكيلات شركة صيانة وترميم بالرياض لا تقلق انتا معنا في امان تام مع شركتنا سو تتلاقي افضل الاسعار

  3. Just a clarification on the Colchester > Stansted services.

    This began as Anglia Railways' Coach Link service in the late '90s, designed to link with trains at Colchester (North), transferring to become a commercial service operated by First in 2000, using minibuses. This became a 'proper' coach service numbered 222 and using Plaxton-bodied B10Ms (at least one of which retained unbranded Green Line livery from a previous existence). These were supplemented by Plaxton Cheetahs in 2003 (I think this was when the service was extended to start at the University of Essex), and the service became the X22 in 2004 when the new A120 between Braintree & Stansted opened. In May 2009 the frequency was cut in half and in November it was extended to start at Clacton, with B7Rs/Plaxtons transferred from Norfolk to work it. At the end of 2010, First withdrew the service. At some point the service had ceased to be through ticketed with the railway, and vanished from rail timetables and maps. (In fairness, by this time rail services had been improved - from Norwich, for example, I'd rather change at Ely than have to switch to a coach at Colchester.)

    First have tried various other routes from Essex to Stansted over the years (though their depot there closed in 2003). I remember an X20 from Braintree (2006), replaced by an X40 from Chelmsford via Braintree (2006-7), another X40 from Basildon (2009-10), and an X32 from Braintree (2010-3), in addition to the successful X30.

    In the meantime, TGM (following its acquisition of Excel, with operations in Stansted, Gatwick, and Manchester) had introduced a number of coach routes in 2009 under the brand 'Airport by Coach', including an X11 from Chatham and Maidstone to Gatwick, an X2 between Liverpool, Manchester and their respective airports and an X3 from Grays to Stansted. None of these lasted more than a year or so. Of greater relevance are the X5 from Ipswich to Stansted and the X6 from Colchester to Stansted. The X6 had died by the end of 2009, but the X5 soldiered on.

    When First withdrew the X22 in 2010, TGM spotted an opportunity and replaced it (cutting it back to the university, as it had been until 2009). By 2011, TGM had decided to merge the service with its local bus service 133 (Braintree - Stansted) under the 'Airport by Bus' brand and increased the frequency to hourly. In 2013 this branding was switched to the present 'sxconnect' (when the current Wright-bodied Volvos replaced the previous Scania Omnicities) and in 2014 the frequency east of Braintree was cut back to two-hourly when funding from BAA was cut. From what has been happening in Harlow, it looks like the 'sxconnect' branding is now being abandoned.

    This leaves two final details. In late 2011 National Express introduced their 250 (Ipswich - Colchester - Stansted - Heathrow) and, perhaps inevitably, TGM's X6 Ipswich - Stansted was withdrawn in mid-2012.

    1. Having pressed publish, I now realise that a few corrections and clarifications would be helpful:
      -First withdrew and TGM took over the X22 from the start of 2011.
      -TGM's X22 only lasted until July 2011, when it was merged with the 133.
      -X6 in the last line should read X5.

  4. AirCoach will help travellers and passengers to reach Stansted airport. They just need to ride in there and head to the airport.
    cheap airport parking

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. If we look at the history of these air coaches, they are great and serving passengers in a great manner.
    cheap airport parking

  7. I'm very pleased with this article wirtten! Also visit Stansted airport parking