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Arriva Southend

Arriva Southend Volvo Olympian/Northern Counties Palatine 5934, one of the few remaining double deckers, which will soon be mainly used on school services.

SloganHere to take you there. [1]
Parent companyArriva
Headquarters(Arriva Southern Counties)
Invicta House, Maidstone, Kent
Service areaEssex
Service typeBus
Fuel typeDiesel
OperatorArriva Southern Counties

Arriva Southend is a division of Arriva Southern Counties, a subsidiary of transport group Arriva which operates bus services in and around the Southend-on-Sea and Grays areas of Essex. They operate most routes east of Southend, and are in direct competition with three other local operators with services in the same areas; First Essex, Stephensons of Essex, and Ensignbus.


The company was formerly owned and operated by Southend Borough Council and was known as Southend Corporation Transport or Southend Transport. Southend Transport was involved in a price war with Thamesway (now part of First Essex) that resulted in the bankrupting of both companies. Southend Transport was sold to the British Bus group in June 1993[2][3] for a reported £1[citation needed], which in turn was taken over by the Cowie group.[4][5]

Cowie was renamed Arriva in August 1998 and Southend Transport was renamed Arriva serving Southend as part of this rebranding. Although the 'serving Southend' local identity caption has now been phased out, due to the difficulty of keeping them updated as buses were transferred between different Arriva subsidiaries, it can still be seen on the sides of some of their buses.

On January 28, 2000, the old Southend garage at 87 London Road was closed and demolished shortly afterwards, with a new one constructed in Short Street, Southend-on-Sea.[6] The old London Road site is now occupied by a retail park.

Arriva Southend had continued the route X1 commuter service to London inherited from Southend Tranpsort, latterly as the Green Line 721 service.[7] In 2001 operation of route X1 was taken over by Stephensons of Essex, which withdrew it on July 11, 2008.[8]

A restructuring in 2002 saw overall control of Arriva Colchester and Arriva Southend pass to Arriva Southern Counties from Arriva East Herts & Essex.[9]

Current routes[]

For a list of all bus services in Essex please see List of bus routes in Essex.

Southend routes[]

These routes are run from Southend garage.

Route Number Route
1 Shoeburyness, Blackgate Road - North Shoebury - Thorpe Bay - Bournes Green - Southchurch - Southend - Leigh - Hadleigh - Thundersley - Rayleigh Rail Station
4 Southend Travel Centre - Southchurch - Bournes Green - North Shoebury - Great Wakering - Landwick Police Lodge
4A Southend Travel Centre - Southchurch - Bournes Green - Great Wakering - Landwick Police Lodge or Shoeburyness East Beach Southend Travel Centre - Leigh-on-Sea - Hadleigh - Thundersley - New Thundersley - Pitsea - Basildon - Basildon Hospital - via A13 to - Chadwell St Mary - Grays - South Stifford - West Thurrock - Lakeside Bus Station
6A Belfairs, Woodcutters - North Leigh - Leigh Rail Station
7 Shoeburyness, Renown - North Shoebury - Thorpe Bay - Southchurch - Southend - Prittlewell - Southend Hospital - Rochford - Golden Cross - Ashingdon - Hockley - Rayleigh Rail Station
8 Shoeburyness, Renown - North Shoebury - Thorpe Bay - Southchurch - Southend - Prittlewell - Southend Hospital - Rochford - Golden Cross - Hawkwell - Hockley - Rayleigh Rail Station
9 Shoeburyness, East Beach - North Shoebury - Cambridge Town - Thorpe Esplanade - Southend - Prittlewell - Nobles Green - Eastwood - Rayleigh Rail Station
10 Paglesham Eastend, Plough and Sail Pub - Canewdon - Ashingdon - Lower Hockley - Hullbridge - Rayleigh High Street Southend Travel Centre - Sutton Road - Temple Sutton, Cokefield Avenue
17 Southend Travel Centre - Cliffs Pavilion - Westcliff - Southend Hospital - Prittlewell - Eastwood, Tesco Southend Travel Centre - Prittlewell - North Leigh - Belfairs, Belgrave Road
60 Southend Travel Centre - Sutton Road - Rochford - Great Stambridge - Canewdon, Loftmans Corner
  • 4A: Last journey Monday to Saturdays and all day Sunday runs to Shoeburyness East Beach.
  • 6A: Commuter Service. Also runs during middle of the day on Tuesdays.
  • 7: Two late night services extended from Shoeburyness to Great Wakering, Little Wakering Corner on Monday to Saturdays.
  • 10: Runs on Wednesdays only.
  • 17: Runs on Thursdays only.
  • 60: Run in conjuction with Stephensons of Essex.

Grays routes[]

These routes are run from Southend garage and are subsidised by Thurrock Council under contract.

Route Number Route
44 Lakeside Bus Station - Uplands Estate - Garrison Estate - Purfleet - West Thurrock - Grays Bus Station
150 Lakeside Bus Station - West Thurrock - South Stifford - Grays - Socketts Heath - Stifford Clays - Orsett Hospital - Stanford-le-Hope - Corringham - Basildon Bus Station
  • 44: Sundays Only. Monday-Saturday service provided by Ensignbus.

Transport for London[]

Transport for London (TfL) contracted routes are run from Grays garage.

Route Number Route
London buses route 66


370 Lakeside Bus Station - Chafford Hundred - South Ockendon - North Ockendon - Corbets Tay - Upminster - Hornchurch - Gidea Park - Romford Rail Station
499 Gallows Corner, Tesco - Harold Hill - Noak Hill - Romford - Becontree Heath] - Rush Green, Dagenham Road

In April 2007, route 373 was cut to run only as far as Upminster, whereas it has previously run on to Romford. This angered some residents living in Aveley as they no longer had a direct bus service to Romford, which had existed for over 30 years, and had to pay more to switch onto another bus route.[10]

On September 23, 2007, routes 7 and 8 were re-routed to directly serve Southend University Hospital.

On January 21, 2008, route 6A was extended to run half-hourly during the middle of the day on Tuesdays in addition to at peak times on Monday to Friday after a successful campaign by the Southend Area Bus Users' Group and Councilor Steve Aylen[11] after having been withdrawn in 2005.[12]

On March 30, 2008, all commercially run routes from the Grays garage (route 373 from Grays via Lakeside, North Stifford, South Ockendon, Aveley, and Corbets Tey to Upminster station and route 383 'Basildon direct' from Ockendon via Lakeside, Grays, and Chadwell St. Mary to Basildon) were withdrawn, with buses used for these commercially run routes moving to Southend garage. This coincided with the extension of the number 5 service from Basildon to Lakeside to partially replace the withdrawn route 383 service. The Grays garage now only operates the Transport for London (TfL) contraced routes and the Grays routes are operated from the Southend garage.

On March 31, 2008, route 7 was extended to continue beyond Shoeburyness to Great Wakering and Little Wakering Corner at late nights on Monday to Saturday at the suggestion of Great Wakering Parish Council and the Rochford Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, who are subsidising the service.[13]

On May 15, 2008, the number 17 service serving Westcliff and Southend Hospital was introduced on a six-month trial to gauge demand and runs hourly during the middle of the day on Thursdays.[14]

On June 8, 2008, Arriva Southend increased the daytime service frequency of the number 9 service from every 15 minutes to every 12 minutes during the middle of the day on weekdays and Saturdays.

On 8 February 2009, Arriva reduced the frequency of services 7 and 8 to some areas, which angered some residents in Hockley and Hawkwell, as it made it very difficult for them to get to Southend Hospital on time due to the 7 and 8 either running very late in the Shoebury area, or buses turning back before reaching their terminating point. After receiving numorous complaints from Hockley residents, on June 7 2009 Arriva Southend extended some service 7 buses to Hockley Spa instead of terminating at Ashingdon Schools. This new change will be tested for 6 months before it is reviewed.

Routes 1, 4, 4A, 5, 6A, 7, 8, 9, 13, 17, 18 and 29 are usually operated by low-floor easy access buses, which make up the majority of Arriva Southend's single decker (and overall) fleet.


Arriva Southend has been criticised by users and the Southend Area Bus Users' Group for withdrawing services which it considered no longer economically viable due to low passenger numbers even when parts of the route were profitable when Southend Borough Council withdrew bus subsidies of up to £6 per passenger as part of budget cuts in 2005.[15]

It has also been criticised by Southend Borough Council for the age of its bus fleet, as some of its buses are over 20 years old and many do not have low-floor, easy-access step-free entry[16] which is important for older people, as Southend has an ageing population with the most senior citizens in the country.[17] Arriva Southend did introduce some new Dennis Trident 2 Alexander ALX400 low-floor double-decker buses branded for use on routes 7 and 8 in 2000, but they were moved to Arriva Maidstone, another Arriva Southern Counties division[18] and Arriva East Herts & Essex, part of Arriva Shires & Essex[19] between August 2004 and July 2005 as Arriva decided that they were not getting enough passengers to justify their use. However, as of late August 2009, most of the older buses have been replaced with more modern low-floor ones.

Further criticism came from passengers when Arriva Southend and First Essex decided to withdraw their "Day Rover" ticket, which allowed unlimited journeys on the day of purchase on buses operated by both companies regardless of which company issued the ticket, so day tickets can now only be used on the buses of the company issuing them. They replaced it with a more expensive "Octopus" ticket which is issued by and can be used on any buses operated by Arriva Southend, First Essex, NIBS, Regal Busways and Stephensons of Essex in the Southend, Rochford and Castle Point districts, covering more bus operators and a wider area of Essex.[20]

On 8 February 2009, Arriva reduced the frequency of services 7 and 8 to some areas, which angered some residents in Hockley and Hawkwell, as it made it very difficult for them to get to and from Southend Hospital and Clements Hall Leisure Centre on time due to the 7 and 8 either running very late in the Shoebury area, or buses turning back before reaching their terminating point.[21][22] The move also dismayed Rochford councillors.[23] The Hockley Residents' Association also said that the figures for low customer numbers used to justify the frequency reduction were flawed.[24] After receiving numorous complaints from Hockley residents, on June 7 2009 Arriva Southend extended some service 7 buses to Hockley Spa instead of terminating at Ashingdon Schools. This new change will be tested for 6 months before it is reviewed.[25] Hawkwell residents then sent further complaints to the Essex County Council about service 8 not having evening services after 6:30pm since 2002. They demanded that one of the service 7 evening buses to become an 8 and divert to Hawkwell. Essex County Council said it would not be possible to add an evening service to service 8.[26] Arriva Southend have also been critisised for running all of their services in the Shoeburyness area via Asda, after they changed the route of Service 1 to run through Asda instead of Elm Road.[27]

Arriva Southend has started using an "undercover passenger" scheme to attempt to better understand problems and complaints with the changes they have made to their services, encouraging passengers to participate by offering them a week's free bus travel for rating the services they use.[28]

Route branding[]

In 2008, Arriva Southend began branding some of its low-floor Dennis Dart buses for routes with red and yellow vinyl stickers on the side of its buses, beginning with route 29 as "the twenty-nine", then route 13 as "...the sutton shuttle..." and route 5 as "Basildon direct". The promotion of these routes included new websites with route and fares information for Basildon direct and the twenty-nine. The following buses at Southend have had route branding applied:

  • Route 5: 3318, 3321, 3322, 3402, and 3428. See here for official photographs of 3318 carrying the branding. 3324 and 3325 still have the old dark blue route 5 branding applied at the moment.
  • Route 13: 3307 and 3308.
  • Route 29: 3391 (Blue Bird), 3392 (Friends of Fairways), 3421 (Pride of Fairways) and 3431 (Bus Light Year). These buses were named by students at the Fairways Junior School in Belfairs as part of the route relaunch, with Arriva making a £750 donation to the school.[29] See here for official photographs of 3431 carrying the branding.

Some buses had previously been colour-coded, with route 1 red, route 5 dark blue and route 9 light green. This colour-coding has been retained on the timetables for these services, with service 17 being purple.

Routes 4/4A, 7, 8, and 9 may get route branded buses by the end of 2009 to try to raise route awareness and encourage more people to use public transport. Route branding has worked well with routes 5, 13 and 29.


Arriva Southend currently has a fleet of 58 buses in service, consisting of 54 single-deckers (all low-floor), 4 double-deckers, one Ford Transit staff shuttle van, F580, one Ford Transit mechanics' van, V168, and one forklift truck, FLT80. Beginning in July 2008, some buses at the Southend depot had CCTV fitted, their roller blind destination displays replaced with scrolling LED displays, and a repaint, similar to previous mid-life refurbishments performed for Operation Overdrive. The 4 Volvo Olympian/Northern Counties Palatines are mainly used on services at school start/finish times as they require extra capacity. Low-floor easy-access buses are usually used on routes 1, 4, 4A, 5, 6A, 7, 8, 9, 13, 17, 18, and 29.

In August 2009, the last four Leyland Olympian double deckers with coach seats, 5402-5405, which first entered service with Southend Transport in 1990, retired from service with Arriva Southend. Their retirement concided with a special event on Southend seafront with several vintage open-top buses running from Shoeburyness to Chalkwell. An Arriva Southend driver and bus enthuist said: “The withdrawal of the last municipally-owned buses from the area is the end of another chapter in the history of Southend’s bus services. The Olympians have served us well and I’ll be sorry to see them go.”

Single deckers:

  • 27 Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer: 3086, 3181, 3204, 3307-8, 3387-97, 3400-3, 3421, 3423, 3425-8, 3431. Used on routes 1, 4, 4A, 5, 6A, 7, 8, 9, 13, 17, 18 and 29.
  • 13 Dennis Dart SLF/Plaxton Pointer II: 1608-9, 3280, 3318, 3320-6. Used on routes 1, 4, 4A, 5, 7, 9 and 13 (route 13 now operates smaller versions of this type, 1608-9).
  • 9 Scania L113CRL SLF/Wright Axcess-Ultralow: 3250-8. Used on route 1, occasionally used on routes 7 and 9.
  • 5 DAF SB220/Plaxton Prestige: 3912, 3916, 3919. Used on route 1, occasionally used on routes 7 and 9.

Double deckers:

See also[]


  1. Cogent Elliot (March 12, 2009). Cogent Elliot: New Brand Look for Arriva Buses. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.
  2. Shepperton [1994]. Buses: Focus on British Bus Fleets Today (in English). 
  3. Mr. Freeman (July 2, 1993). Hansard - House of Commons Daily Debates for 2 July 1993, Written Answers Column 635. Retrieved on 2008-07-25.
  4. Thurrock Transport (June 19, 2008). Thurrock Transport - Southend Transport. Retrieved on 2008-07-10.
  5. Peter Gould (1999-2005). Southend Corporation Transport History 1901-1986. Retrieved on 2008-07-12.
  6. Richard Delahoy (March 2000). Goodbye, London Road - Essex Bus News, Essex Bus Enthusiasts Group. Retrieved on 2008-07-12.
  7. SCT'61 and Richard Delahoy (January 2, 2004). Southend Transport - The X1 Story. Retrieved on 2008-07-10.
  8. Stephensons of Essex (May 17, 2008). Stephensons of Essex London Link Express. Retrieved on 2008-06-21.
  9. Thurrock Transport (March 2008). Thurrock Transport - Arriva. Retrieved on 2008-07-23.
  10. C. Brown (March 19, 2007). Echo News: Anger over Aveley bus cut. Retrieved on 2008-07-28.
  11. Echo News (January 16, 2008). Echo News: Bus group wins fight for off-peak service. Retrieved on 2008-07-14.
  12. Echo News (January 23, 2008). Echo News: Continue to use it, or lose it. Retrieved on 2008-07-23.
  13. Michelle Archard (March 25, 2008). Echo News: New late-night bus service to Wakering. Retrieved on 2008-07-14.
  14. Mike Miners (May 9, 2008). Echo News: New hospital bus service for patients. Retrieved on 2008-07-14.
  15. Laura Smith (January 17, 2008). Echo News: Pensioners want better bus services. Retrieved on 2008-07-23.
  16. Geoff Percival (August 2, 2007). Echo News: ‘Buses are too old for town’. Retrieved on 2008-07-23.
  17. Geoff Percival (November 20, 2006). Echo News: New bill won't help town's bus service. Retrieved on 2008-07-23.
  18. Arriva Kent & Sussex (July 21, 2005). Retrieved on 2008-07-23.
  19. Arriva East Herts & Essex (July 21, 2005). Retrieved on 2008-07-23.
  20. Laura Smith (July 15, 2008). Echo News: ‘Bus-users hit in the pocket by ticket axe’. Retrieved on 2009-07-28.
  21. Michelle Archard (December 11, 2008). Echo News: ‘Fury at plans to cut bus services to two an hour’. Retrieved on 2009-07-23.
  22. Michelle Archard (December 24, 2008). Echo News: ‘Protesters lose battle to save 2 bus routes’. Retrieved on 2009-07-23.
  23. Echo News: ‘Rochford councillors annoyed by cuts in no. 7 and 8 bus routes’ (December 30, 2008). Retrieved on 2009-07-27.
  24. John Geoghegan (February 2, 2009). Echo News: ‘Residents say bus figures are flawed’. Retrieved on 2009-07-23.
  25. Geoff Percival (April 4, 2009). Echo News: ‘Villagers' victory as council funds extra bus service’. Retrieved on 2009-07-27.
  26. John Geoghegan (April 20, 2009). Echo News: ‘Give us back our evening buses, villagers demand’. Retrieved on 2009-07-23.
  27. Echo News: ‘Passenger fears over Arriva shakeup’ (August 6, 2008). Retrieved on 2009-07-27.
  28. Geoff Percival (February 24, 2009). Echo News: ‘Bus firm seeking people to test ride services’. Retrieved on 2009-07-27.
  29. Echo News: Buses are easier to use (December 3, 2007). Retrieved on 2008-07-25.

External links[]

Template:Arriva Group UK Template:Bus companies in East England

Category:Companies based in Essex Category:Arriva Group bus operators in England