Parking and travel
DaRT87 Demand Responsive Transport
DaRT87 is the new pre-booked minibus service trial replacing the Arriva 87 that ceased operation on 31 December 2020. We are pleased to say that the service has been funded for a full year from 1 April 2021, following a successful 3 month trial.
The service is operated by our trusted partners Epping Forest Community Transport (EFCT).
Register here for DaRT87
Free annual membership offer extended to 31 July for all concessionary bus pass holders (£15 per year thereafter).
Where does it run?
Key locations covered on the main route include:
- Debden, including Epping Forest Shopping Park, The Broadway and Debden station
- Theydon Bois (subject to demand)
- Epping, including Epping station, Epping Forest District Council Civic Offices and St Margaret’s Hospital
- Epping Green
- Harlow bus station and Princess Alexandra Hospital via Staple Tye
An approximate map of the route shows this below, including some variations based on passenger demand:
- Newmans Lane loop, Loughton – off peak shopping hours only and by prior request only
- Loughton, other areas west of Rectory Road – the service may detour here for Harlow journeys, only if sufficient pre-booked demand exists (at least 48 hours’ notice required)
- Theydon Bois – prior pre-booked demand only (48 hours minimum)
- Sumners and Great Parndon (Harlow) – prior pre-booked demand only (48 hours minimum)
Who is it for?
During lockdown, the service focused on NHS staff and other key worker commutes including via tube stations. As lockdown eases, we are seeing usage by school and college students, other commuters and daytime non-essential trips for shopping, leisure and visiting family and friends. Now the weather is better, why not go on a group trip – perhaps have a car-free trip to Epping Forest (ask for the Goldings Hill Forest stop and join the walking trail route by Broadstrood Forest car park).
All concessionary passes issued by Essex County Council are accepted in line with their T&Cs and all vehicles are wheelchair compatible.
EFCT are committed to help anyone use the service and will gladly assist those needing help with registration, including via relatives or friends by phone on 01992 579566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When does it run?
Monday to Friday
Early commuter runs and evening peak the most likely to be dictated by demand (eg NHS shift patterns).
Off peak, roughly hourly with the potential for an additional vehicle, again if demand dictates.
Saturday service are still strictly by pre-booked demand only as during the initial trial, Saturday runs were usually little used or even empty.
No service, but if leisure demand increases towards summer, we will consider.
How do I book and pay?
You must complete a membership form in advance to use this service – this is a government requirement of Community Transport and dial-a-ride operators like EFCT. EFCT charges £15 per year annual membership, but as an introductory offer, this is waived for all concessionary bus pass holders until the end of July.
Once registered, you must generally pre-book each journey or block of journeys to ensure a seat by phone, email or by app. At the driver’s discretion, you may be able to board on a hail and ride basis, but only if they know that occupancy ahead will not exceed the COVID guidelines applicable at the time. If you find you need to travel at short notice, phone Epping Forest Community Transport on 01992 579566 and they will tell you if you can travel and where to meet the bus.
Either contactless payment on board or pre-payment for block booking by online banking, or the via new Flexiroute app (under trial and only available to registered members).
Concessionary passes are accepted in line with Essex County Council guidelines.
How much does it cost?
We have simplified adult fares into 3 types but kept single fares in line with the former 87 fares:
- £2 within a town or village area (Debden and NW Loughton, Epping, Epping Green, Theydon Bois, Harlow)
- £3.50 between 2/3 adjacent areas (eg Epping or Epping Green to Harlow)
- £5 Debden to or from Harlow (full route)
£2 child fare for 16 years and under and under 5s free (all zones).
Help us understand demand
Express interest in the trial and answer a few questions to help us understand demand.
You will then hear back from EFCT with full instructions.
We may approach you for your feedback, plaudits or improvements through the trial.