Epping Forest District Council will be running a bookable bus service on a trial basis from 2 January 2021.
The Demand Responsive Transport (DaRT87) service will replace the Arriva 87 route which is being withdrawn from 30 December.
Demand Responsive Transport offers a scheduled pick up and/or drop off service requested by passengers in advance. It is usually aimed at multiple users who are going to the same location e.g. a large employer, a rail/tube station etc.
The DaRT87 will run as a 3-month trial from Saturday 2 January, in partnership with Epping Forest Community Transport (EFCT), who ran a similar service through the spring lockdown for key workers at Princess Alexandra Hospital and St. Margaret’s Hospital. All vehicles are wheelchair-accessible.
How it works
It will approximately mirror the route of the Arriva 87, covering Debden, Theydon Bois, Epping, Epping Green, Staple Tye and Harlow. Princess Alexandra and St Margaret’s Hospitals will also be included, as well as the Epping Forest District Council offices, Epping Forest Shopping Park and New City College – Epping Forest Campus. Tube links are provided at Debden and Epping stations.
EFCT usually requires a £15 12-month membership fee to use their services, however for this trial, that fee has be waived (registration is still required).
Pre-book peak hours
This is aimed at key workers and commuters who know they need to be at work at a certain time on a regular basis, (usually the same time each day) and are worried about the availability or cost of parking at their place of work or Tube Station.
There are 4 easy steps to book your place:
- Pre-register your interest (details below)
- You will hear back from EFCT to join as a member (full instructions for journeys included)
- Check route and availability
- Book your seat with EFCT in advance (by phone, email or via app)
The buses cannot run at full capacity (16), due to Covid rules, so places must be booked at least 2 working days in advance. This also lets EFCT know whether a journey is needed or whether more buses are required due to high demand. It may also mean they are able to take a more direct/quicker route on some journeys.
Peak fare structure is being finalised and may adopt a simple TfL-style three-zone approach, or something related to distance travelled. We will publish peak fares before launch.
The ‘off-peak’ buses will start as a fully timetabled but pre-booked service for the traditional bus users with a similar route and timings to Arriva’s 87 route, operating from 9.30 am – 4.30 pm. EFCT will move towards a full DRT approach off peak only once we are confident all types of user can use understand and use the service.
Off-peak fares remain the same as the Arriva 87 fares and concessionary bus passes will be accepted, within existing Essex County Council rules.
All buses for this route will be cashless and have contactless payment options on board or via pre-payment to EFCT by online banking.
A maximum of seven passengers can travel due to Covid bus regulations and EFCT will abide by all national cleaning and disinfection regimes. All passengers must wear a face covering while travelling, unless exempt.
Register your interest
Register your interest for the new DaRT87 trial coming to Epping Forest district.
You will receive more information on the service ahead of its launch in early January.
Help ease traffic and improve air quality
Councillor Nigel Avey, Portfolio Holder for Environmental and Technical Services said:
I’m so pleased we can offer this service. We encourage people to register for the DaRT and hope that many people from local businesses, including Epping Forest District Council and the NHS will benefit from it.
Not only is it a great additional service for the district and areas of Harlow, it will help reduce traffic congestion on the roads and tackle challenges around air quality in the district.
If this trial is successful, we aim to expand this service and roll a similar service out to other areas in the district in 2021.
For more information
- Email Transport@eppingforestdc.gov.uk
- Call: 01992 564000
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