The 505 bus route, which runs between Chingford and Harlow, is under threat again.
The service was cut to just six buses a day in May 2015 and now faces complete closure by the end of the year.
EOS London, who currently run the 66, 86, 87 and 542 routes, have expressed an interest in extending their 86 Waltham Cross to Harlow route to include Chingford, replacing the current 505 service with hourly buses. Currently this is a loss-making route, partly as a result of the inadequate service which has led many passengers to give up on it.
We are asking Essex County Council to commit to subsidising the extended 86 service to give it time to become economically sustainable. The current service is essential for Harlow College students and Queen Elizabeth Hospital patients and visitors, in addition to employees and businesses.
With the Harlow and Epping Forest Local Plans both proposing thousands of new homes, along with employment and retail opportunities, it’s essential that this service, and others like it, are preserved and improved.
How can you help?
You can still sign the original petition from May 2015 here: Save the 505
More importantly, you can email your Essex County Councillor directly to ask them to support subsidising the extended 86 bus service. Just put your postcode in the box below and you’ll be taken to a page where you can email your County Councillor directly via the writetothem.com site. You can use our letter to the County Council’s Cabinet members (below) for ideas but please write your own email, particularly if you use the 505, or would use it if it was more regular and reliable.
Our letter to Essex County Council’s Cabinet members – 21st November 2016
Dear Cllr Eddie Johnson and Essex County Council Cabinet members,
It’s been brought to our attention that Trusty Bus are pulling out of running the 505 Chingford to Harlow service at the end of the year. As you are aware the service was reduced to just six buses per day in May 2015. This has made the service untenable for a lot of users who have had to find other modes of transport or stop travelling altogether.
We understand that EOS London have offered to take the route over by extending the existing 86 service but that they need a small subsidy from Essex County Council to make the service viable.
We’re asking you to agree to subsidise the route. This would provide several real benefits for residents and the County Council:
- A continued and improved service for:
- Harlow College students
- patients, visitors and staff to the Princess Alexandra Hospital
- workers, shoppers and others who use the 505 or would use it if it was a more frequent and reliable service – particularly important for small businesses
- Helping to reduce social isolation
- By offering an alternative to car use it would reduce the risk of increased congestion, parking problems and air pollution
- As there would be one operator it would end the problem of non-transferable return tickets for the Harlow to Waltham Abbey part of the route
Essex County Council have a great opportunity here to help support a renewed, more regular service, demonstrating your commitment to reducing air pollution, improving road passenger transport and supporting small businesses. It’s particularly important that public transport links in Harlow and Epping Forest are improved in light of the Harlow and Epping Forest Local Plans, which anticipate increased employment and business opportunities and thousands of new homes across the districts.
We are aware that Essex County Council faces an 84% reduction in central government funding by 2020. We urge you to support this service now, giving it a chance to develop into a financially independent service ahead of the majority of the cuts. We are happy to work with the service provider and yourselves to identify innovative ways to encourage increased use of the route and help its viability.