Essex Highways, Safer, Greener, Healthier

Supported Bus Services

What are supported local bus services?

Most buses in Essex are run by commercial busineses without subsidy from the local authority. Essex County Council refers to the running of these services as being "on a commercial basis". These companies range from small, family-run businesses to big multi-national companies. 

A small percentage of bus services or routes are run with financial support from Essex County Council (ECC). You can find the latest list of services at the bottom of this webpage.

ECC Bus service consultations look to understand the impact of service changes to people using the service as well as ensuring the service meets the criteria set out by the Bus Strategy "Getting Around in Essex". You can see details of the Getting Around in Essex Strategy.

What can I find on these pages?

On these pages you can find the following information:

  • Bus services or routes which are run with financial support from ECC
  • Details of recent Consultations on service changes (including services that are being consulted on for potential withdrawal or service reduction).
  • Information regarding Funding for Supported Services 2020/21. You can see Essex County Council’s letter of Intent regarding the funding in the documents section of the page, this sets out our original statement of intent, however, this may be updated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we will publish updates if this is the case. You can also see the Department for Transport response. 

Ongoing consultations

Consultation on service 381 - Coopersale to Harlow operated by Vectare

Vectare are requesting to change the timetable for service 381 to provide a more consistent and uniform timetable. The operator is also requesting a change to the service number from 381 to 31. This will enable them to introduce a new commercial service between Coopersale and Epping St Margaret’s Hospital which will be numbered service 30.

Please see the details of the proposed changes.

The consultation will close on Monday 18 October 2021. If you would like to make a comment then please contact 

Consultation on service 14 - Pinnacles to Harlow operated by Central Connect / Galleon Travel

Following requests from passengers Essex County Council are proposing to change the timetable for the above service. The changes are to be made to the Monday - Friday timetable only, there will be no changes to the Saturday service. These changes will take affect from 02 January 2022.

Please see the details of the proposed changes.

The consultation will close on Monday 18 October 2021. If you would like to make a comment then please contact 

Recent closed consultations

Consultation on Service 71C  – Pilgrims Hatch to Brentwood operated by Stephenson's 

Closed: 14 February 2021

Service 71C operates peak time journeys only Monday to Fridays with financial support from developer funding, the funding from the S106 agreement will cease to support this service from 26th March 2021 and passenger usage has been insufficient for the service to continue commercially. ECC is therefore considering withdrawing this service with effect from March 26th 2021


The consultation has been assessed and the decision made to withdraw Service 71C, the last day of operation is 30 April 2021.

Consultation on Service 13A  – Wickford to Chelmsford operated by First Essex Buses

Closed: 01 February 2021

We have been informed of difficulties with this service using Short Lane and Park Lane in Ramsden Heath. Following Customer and Operator feedback we intend for the bus to enter Ramsden Heath via Hawkswood Rd and Dowsetts Lane instead of entering the village via Sudbury Rd. The nearest stop for residents of Short Lane and Park Lane will be Dovedale Close on Downham Rd. 


This change is planned from 19 April 2021. 

Park & Ride Concessionary Bus Pass Consultation May 2019

Closed: 31 July 2019

Consultation on changes to the use of Concessionary Bus Passes on Essex County Council run Park and Ride services only from April 2020.


At present all bus pass holders pay the full park and ride fare until 09:00 (except at weekends and public holidays when they travel free at all time).  Between 09:00 and 24:00 they travel for free. 

From 01 April 2020 older people’s pass holders will have to pay a reduced rate of £1.50 at all times.  There is an introductory offer of 2 adult pass holders can travel for £2 for the first six months.

Disability pass holders will still be able to travel free between 09:00 and 24:00 on weekdays and at all times at weekends and public holidays.

In addition they will be able to pay a reduced fare of £1.50  to travel before 09:00 on weekdays. 

This decision relates to both Chelmsford Park and Rides (Sandon & Chelmer Valley), Colchester Park and Ride and the Broomfield Hospital Shuttle Service.

Chelmsford Park & Ride Consultation January 2019

Closed: 22 March 2019

Essex County Council is reviewing the ticketing options and fares offered and days of opening for the Chelmsford Park and Ride Services.


The children’s ticket age was increased from 16 to 18 in line with the schools reopening in September 2020.

Closure of Chelmer Valley Park and Ride on a Saturday was not agreed.

All cash machines have been removed from the sites. Passengers can pay in cash on the bus.

A promotional offer of 12 tickets for the price of 11 when purchased through the app will be introduced when the sites reopen in Spring 2021

Consultation on proposals for a review of Essex County Council’s supported Evening and Sunday local bus services - Consultation December 2018

Closed: 22 March 2019

Essex County Council (ECC) is reviewing the way it supports local bus services which operate on evenings and Sundays and carried out a public consultation. The consultation also included proposals regarding delivering ECC services differently and devolving ECC funded local bus services to communities.


The consultation has been assessed

Please also see:

Supported Bus Services List