Ensign taking on First Essex in Brentwood

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by InspectorBloke, 2 Sep 2018.

  1. InspectorBloke

    InspectorBloke Member

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    Ensign have reported on their Twitter page that they are registering a new service 31 in Brentwood between Brentwood Station and Pilgrims Hatch from 01/10/2018. First Essex currently run the service 37 to the same route. Ensign currently operate the majority of services in the area.

    It will be interesting to see what happens. The local bus user group has been vocal about the poor reliability of the existing 37 and First Essex caused controversy by re-routing the service, then changed it back. Ensign tried to fill the gap in the route when it changed earlier this year but quickly withdrew when the route changed back.

    It will be interesting to see if First plans to fight the competition. At present, First are yet to show their hand.
     
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  3. Buggleskelly

    Buggleskelly Member

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    Well you can't go wrong with Ensign, I know the people in Brentwood will get a great service that they'll be able to rely on. First Essex should not try to fight this as they fail on delivering their services when needed. I use First services everyday to get to and from work and have to put up with buses turning up late (even if there's no traffic) and buses failing to turn up at all (which has happened several times).
     
  4. alex397

    alex397 Member

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    I'm surprised about this move, as Ensign are usually cautious and I don't think have started routes in competition in recent years. So, I wonder if First are planning to withdrawn their 37 but this is not public knowledge yet, and Ensign have already registered a replacement.

    Whatever the case, its good to see Ensign expand further in Brentwood, an area not known as good bus territory.

    It would be brilliant if Ensign expanded further west into Essex, in the Harlow/Epping Forest areas, which could do with a massive shake up, but that is probably not worth the risk at all.
     
  5. Stonesourscotty

    Stonesourscotty Member

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    Unrelated. but related to ensign??

    I saw one of those BCI deckers up the Blue Mountains in Sydney Australia on Sunday ironically working with some ex Lothian volvos that had come via ensign i think? P270KSX was there.
     
  6. alex397

    alex397 Member

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    To answer my own question, Ensign have said on Twitter (underneath their 37 announcement post) that it is in addition to the existing First service. A surprising move from Ensign to be honest, but all the best to them. One of the very few decent operators in Essex.
     
  7. InspectorBloke

    InspectorBloke Member

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    First Essex have reacted to Ensign. First off, from this week, fares have been reduced to match Ensign.

    Secondly, from 28th October, First Essex will be running a 15 minute service during morning and evening peak, where at present a 20 minute frequency is operated all day by both First and Ensign.

    How the situation continues to play out will be interesting to observe. First Essex have retreated in some areas such as Clacton, whilst in others they have actively fought off competition, such as Hedingham in Brightlingsea.
     
  8. nesw

    nesw Member

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    First have been running a poor service on the route for many years and have only upped their game since the new route started.
    It’s well known that First Essex (like many operators) are short staffed and a quick glance at their social media feed is an eye-opener.
    Quite why they’re so interested in a route that barely breaks even after years of neglect is odd ; it’s well known that that don’t want the route as it’s remote from their garages.
     
  9. MedwayValiant

    MedwayValiant Member

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    Both of these remarks could so easily have been written about Arriva in the Medway Towns. If Harlow would be too much of a risk for Ensign, then the other side of the Dartford Crossing surely would be even more so - but the area is crying out for something. It does have a fair bit in common with Thurrock so Ensign wouldn't find the territory too strange, and when Arriva are charging £3.00 for journeys of two miles it wouldn't be too financially risky to undercut their fares.

    Perhaps Ensign should buy Nu-Venture or something.
     
  10. 317 forever

    317 forever Member

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    After Ensign effectively ran Arriva out of Thurrock, maybe they could now run First out of Brentwood. Only route 351 from Chelmsford seems a long-term safe bet for First.
     
  11. Buggleskelly

    Buggleskelly Member

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    Well I can tell you (considering I use that service everyday) that the 351 is currently one of the worst services that First provide, constant delays, no shows etc. Goodness knows how they’re able to hold on to that route. I’m hoping Ensignbus can try and create a better service which will rival the 351 and drive First completely out of Brentwood altogether.
     
  12. InspectorBloke

    InspectorBloke Member

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    From what has happened so far, it seems that First aren't going to relinquish the route without a fight.

    Next week, we will be seeing 5 buses during peak serve the Bishops Hall Estate - 3 First and 2 Ensign.

    It's now Ensign's turn to show their card...
     
  13. Robertj21a

    Robertj21a Established Member

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    Ensign only need to wait, their quality and reliability will shine through. First have a driver shortage too.
     

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