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
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:
- Trial of early morning commuter service Coopersale to Epping station (at all other times, use Ugobus 318)
- Newmans Lane loop, Loughton – off peak shopping hours only and dependent on unconfirmed changes to the 418 and 542 routes by Essex County Council
- 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 peak lockdown, the service has focused on NHS staff and other key worker commutes including via tube stations. As lockdown eases, we will see usage by school and college students, other workers as workplaces start to reopen and daytime trips whether essential food shopping or medical appointments.
Later in the Spring, the service will be useful for the full range of trips, both peak and off-peak and even group travel. All concessionary passes issued by Essex County Council will be 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 or email.
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.
Until peak lockdown eases, Saturday service will be 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 operators like EFCT. Usually EFCT charges £15 per year annual membership, but as an introductory offer for the trial, you will not have to pay if you join by the end of April 2021.
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.