The buses turned heads when they appeared at an official launch with their striking blue, silver and white brand, innovative and ultra-modern design and technical specifications, taking bus travel to another level.
The upgraded route has been rebranded as ‘Essex Airlink’ and are destined for First Essex’s popular X30 and X10 routes, providing an interurban link from Southend and Basildon to Chelmsford and onto London Stansted Airport.
The service runs up to every 30 minutes between Stansted Airport and Chelmsford linking Basildon and Southend up to hourly.
The service has become very popular with holidaymakers travelling to the airport, employees working at the terminal and with commuters, students and people regularly travelling between the city of Chelmsford and the towns and villages along the length and breadth of the route.
In partnership with leading businesses and manufacturers including; Scania and Alexander Dennis Ltd, Best Impressions, Lazzerini, McKenna Brothers, Manchester Air Group (MAG) and First Essex, the new buses entered service on 19 February 2020.
All have Euro VI engines with have the cleanest diesel technology available helping to improve air quality across the city and county.
Steve Wickers, Managing Director at First Essex said: “I am delighted to be introducing our latest investment of £1.9m in 7 brand new buses that will run on our very popular ‘Airlink’ service, running between Southend, Basildon, Chelmsford and onto Stansted Airport.
“It is exciting to see how technology, design and innovation can be used to transform bus travel and these new vehicles will certainly set a new benchmark in bus travel in terms of comfort, access, connectivity and design, combined with the current highest environmental standards”.
Marie Connell, Business Development Manager at Alexander Dennis, says: “We’re delighted to be working with First Essex on this upgrade of the X30 service.
“Our new Enviro400 buses will be adding extra capacity on this popular route, delivering comfortable journeys for passengers with their high specification interior, while First will be sure to enjoy the operational benefits of Britain’s favourite double deck bus.”
Enhanced safety and security equipment has been fitted to the luggage areas on the lower deck of the vehicle.
In what is believed to be a first in the bus and rail industry, cameras display images of the luggage stored in the racking onto CCTV screens.
This means that people on the upper deck of the bus have peace of mind that their luggage is safe.
Seating was chosen from Lazzerini, which adapted its Transito seat design with a bespoke headrest and cushion shape, trimmed in two tone Muirhead leather with contrasting stitching, again to a unique design.
The seat back console was originally designed for the manufacturer’s Practico seat which incorporates USB and wireless charging points, a wireless bell push and a phone-holder that was adapted to the Transito seat design.
A Mobitech destination and next stop visual and audio equipment was selected from McKenna Brothers with full size rear displays being fitted in addition to incorporating a brand-new design of 28in stretched TFT screen fitted in the front upper deck.
To oversee the interior and exterior design of the vehicle we worked with Ray Stenning’s Best Impressions agency to shape the outline ideas that had already been formulated and develop this into a contemporary design suited to the shape and style of the buses.
First Essex operates buses in the areas of Chelmsford, Basildon, Brentwood, Clacton, Colchester, Southend, Rayleigh and Canvey Island. With a fleet of 360 buses it employs 995 people.
About First Group
FirstGroup plc is one of the leading transport operators in the UK and North America and its services help to create strong, vibrant and sustainable local economies. During the last year around 2 billion people relied on it to get to work, to education, to visit family and friends and much more and, each day, every one of its 100,000 employees works hard to deliver vitally important services for our passengers.
About First Bus
FirstGroup is one of Britain’s largest bus operators with around a fifth of bus services outside London. A fleet of 6,000 buses carries 1.6 million passengers a day in a huge number of communities including eight of the 11 most densely populated towns and cities in the UK. It operates some US-style yellow school buses and has a fleet of coaches available for charter. It also operates the Air coach network in Ireland.