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 24th May 2020

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The major "big group" operator in the town and the largest player, the local Arriva operation has its roots in the old London Transport country bus network. Its garage lies close to the town centre and is one of only two original former London Country garages remaining operational. After being London Country North East, County Bus was formed where Harlow was the head office. A short spell under West Midlands Travel ownership, then onto being part of the Cowie group, which transformed into Arriva. In 2010 management responsibility within Arriva changed to the TGM group, which was accompanied by the introduction of the Network Harlow name and dark blue livery for local services together with the SX Connect name for out of town services 59 and 509/510 (along with the 133 at Stansted). In 2016 this reversed with the transfer of management responsibility to the Arriva Kent Thameside part of the business and the Network Harlow and SX Connect names were dropped and more usual Arriva liveries returned once again with only a single exception remaining.

The services operated, much reduced from their peak, include a mixture of both town and country routes. Most services are operated commercially during Monday to Saturday daytime, although most evening journeys and Sunday services operate under contract to Essex County Council or receive other financial support. Good efforts have always been made to market the network. Service leaflets are available from the travel office in the bus station and a website with route diagrams and local timetable information is available at 

After a long period where there was a wide-range of fleet types and some fluidity almost each month, in 2016 this became much more settled with just 4 types remaining in service. This as grown again a little with some of the other types which are typical in the Arriva Kent Thameside fleet coming and going, for the short or long term, as needed.

The most recent major development to take place, effective 3rd August 2018, was the assumption of three commercial routes formerly operated by EOS, being the 66, 86 and 87. Seven vehicles were corralled for the start and no EOS vehicles were borrowed or bought. As soon as September though, the 66 was transferred to Ware and with that most of the acquisitions moved on.


Temsa Safari
A brand new service, 720, Stansted Airport to Liverpool Street, was planned to start on 1st April but at present is delayed due to reduced activity at the airport. It will be operated from an outstation close to the airport using a brand new fleet of Temsa Safari coaches. Driver familiarisation using one vehicle has started.

Arriva YJ69AAO

7100 (YJ69AAO) has been seen locally on familiarisation duties. It is officially allocated to The Shires fleet at Luton and so may or may not form part of the batch which operates the service. In order to stand out from the other Stansted-London services it will need a much bolder image than all-white. (R Hudson)

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 45
An attempt was made in late 2017 to reintroduce minibuses in a number of areas where Arriva Kent Thameside operate. By all accounts these were not popular and in many cases they have quite quickly been stood down or scattered elsewhere around the fleet. Two arrived in Harlow in Spring 2018 and took up service on the 6/8 town services, often 1 of the 2 vehicles allocated. One (1015) remained operational throughout the summer whilst the other (1010)  returned following a period of operation elsewhere. A third example, 1019 (BF67WGV), arrived in March 2019 but departed the following month.

After both were stood down after the summer, 1010 since returned to service. Operation has been reported on the 2, 6/8, 9 and 87.

Arriva BF67WGE

1010 is seen at Harlow Bus Station. (R Hudson)

Alexander-Dennis E20D/Enviro200MMC
A fleet of brand new vehicles took over routes 508/509/510 in 2017
. The first vehicles were noted in the area in mid-June with the first noted entry into service being Monday 19th June with all 12 (4076-4087) in service by 28th June. They are B45F and all except 4083 carry route branding (4084/5/7 were unbranded for around 1 year from entry into service but were dealt with earlier in 2018). They regularly stray onto other routes, especially the 9, 10 and 724.

Two additional vehicles of this type arrived concurrent with the EOS commercial route take-up in summer 2018 but both since left. 4113 is a late 2019 arrival and remains in service. 

Arriva YX17NGO

Just prior to entry into service, 4078 shows the updated lighter blue livery, WIFI/USB charging capability and route branding with rather limited detail. (R Hudson)
    Arriva YX17NGY In service is 4081, with branding but with LED display not functioning when captured. (R Hudson)
    Arriva SN67WUA The later addition to the to the local stock of the batch moved from within the Arriva Kent Thameside fleet at Guildford. (R Hudson)


Optare Versa
An upgrade for the 59 in November 2008 brought 2 brand new vehicles to a service that was hitherto run using a pair of Solos that were just 4 years old. Both examples, 4198/9 (YJ58PFY/Z) left the fleet in 2018.

In January 2015 6 further examples arrived from the Medway area (4230/1/6/7/8/9) to replace the remaining fleet of Volvo B6LE's. These became the primary allocation on town services 2 and 3.

During summer 2015 a number of loans appeared including 4203, 4204, 4210 and 4213. None remained operational into October 2015.

The fleet strength was expanded in 2016 to its maximum, 10, by the addition of 4228 and 4232, also from within the Kent Thameside fleet.

Arriva KX62JWG

Pictured when recently arrived at Harlow in 2016 is a pair including 4232, showing Maidstone to Faversham route 333 branding (since removed). (R Hudson)
    Arriva KX13DHG

The new intake in service on town route 4 just ahead of the full conversion of the 2 and 3 routes. The arrival of these vehicles heralded the rebirth of the full Arriva branding for the Harlow network.  (StevoJ3026)


Alexander-Dennis E20D/Enviro200
If there was a standard single deck in operation today then it would be this type. At Harlow, the non MMC type have only fleetingly come and gone and even then mostly have been loans. The one example in operation at present would seem to have arrived with the start of Bishops Stortford local service 311, a route which it has operated regularly.

The vehicle originated with First and operated in London in dual-door format, transferred to Tower Transit, but had been converted to single door by the time in was in service with Arriva at Hemel Hempstead, which was where it was immediately before moving to Harlow. 

Arriva YX61FZN

Seen in service at Harlow Bus Station, 4008 sits at the bus station on the 510 in its early days after entry into service. (R Hudson)
    Arriva YX61FZN The offside view of this vehicle shows just how asymmetrical the E200 body appears without the black under-window treatment which is generally featured. (R.Hudson)


Volvo B7RLE/Wright Eclipse Urban/Urban 2
These were the fleet that was essentially dedicated to the 508/509/510, the 510 having been converted to the type on 6th December 2004 in a dedicated branded livery. Gradual frequency increases saw more vehicles joining the fleet, some new, others not. For a while the original livery was replaced by SX Connect deep blue but standard inter-urban without branding became the norm in 2016. In August 2016 12 examples of the "11" registered batch which transferred from Ware where they had previously operated on the 310 (Herford to Waltham Cross). These are of the updated "urban 2" body style and entered service with 310 branding (3883 still has it, January20!). Fleet examples visited the 10 and 724 services frequently. A few still remain. 

Following the arrival of the E200MMCs in June 2017, the majority of the fleet moved out to Stevenage with just 4 remaining, the 10 being their residual mainstay This was boosted in December 2017 for the expansion of route 9 and the fleet size increased with some of the originals returning. In Spring 2018, 3815 and 3820 joined the fleet from Kent. The latter is the only vehicle in the fleet to carry Arriva MAX livery. In November 2019 3889 joined the fleet, bringing the latest light blue livery.

Arriva KE57EPC

A dedicated livery for the 510 was introduced many years ago when two Optare Deltas and two standard (high-floor) Darts were the dedicated fleet. This was elaborated with the arrival of this fleet in 2004, but has now been swept away with the repaints of 2016. 3874  sits in the bus station showing the present livery offering, including the warning about falling prices. (R Hudson)
    Arriva KX11PUK The 2016 intake of 2011 former 310 batch is represented here by 3876 (since left). The 310 branding was still in place when seen here on the 510. (R Hudson).
    Arriva GN07AVG A recent addition, once a fastway-liveried vehicle used at Bluewater, but latterly on other local services in Kent, 3820 demonstrates MAX livery. It's seen here standing in for an MMC on the Stansted-Harlow group of routes. (R Hudson).
    Arriva GN07AVB 3815 is seen at Harlow Town Station on the recently-introduced extension of hourly journeys on the 10 to Hertford. (R. Hudson)
    Arriva BG59FWP The latest light blue and Urban 2 body style  combination is shown on 3889. (R. Hudson)

Mercedes Citaro
A fleet of 9 vehicles were introduced new in 2006 and allocated to Green Line 724. All have Green line 724 branding. A further additional vehicle was added in 2008, but since then three of the fleet have departed. The vehicles were numbered 3901-7/10 until the end of 2013. For some time, substitute vehicles on the 724 have been a regular occurrence. Conversely, it's common to see Citaro's on local route 10.

All entered service in Green Line livery, but in June 2016 3895 received a repaint to standard livery, followed by all of the other "06" registered vehicles during the rest of the year. All still have Green Line 724 branding.

In August 2018 an additional vehicle joined the fleet. Fleet number 3909 is essentially a different vehicle in so much as it's shorter and has 29 bus seats compared to the rest of the fleet which have 37 dual purpose seats. Of course it's also 6 years newer than the rest.

The fleet is due to transfer to Ware, with the 724 service, on April 1st.



  Arriva Mercedes Citaro BU06HSJ

The first example from the fleet in Arriva livery, 3895,  still with Green Line branding. (R Hudson)

      Arriva Mercedes Citaro BU06HSJ2 Here the nearside image of the same vehicle. (R Hudson)  
      Arriva Mercedes Citaro BD12DHV Odd man out in the fleet BD12DHV seen in the garage. (R Hudson)  


Optare Solo
It took from the very earliest intake until November 2009 for Harlow to have a fully standard minibus, but the Optare Solo finally conquered all, even if there area lot less minibuses than there once were. A number of batches entered service progressively from June 2004. A reduction in the number of Solos in the fleet took place with the transfer of the 251 (and 250) to Ware in September 2009 and since then numbers have waxed and waned.

In May 2011 the first two vehicles received Network Harlow livery, completion of this exercise taking until September 2012. This process started to be reversed in June 2015 with 1474 and then 1453 in August returning to Arriva livery. The pace of this change stepped up in 2016 and now just one vehicle, 1454, remains  operating with this livery.

All of the Harlow-based Solos had their fleet numbers changed from the equivalent number in the 2xxx series during December 2013 or January 2014.  

1454/7/8 and 1466/7 are M880's, 1459/60 and 1507 are M950's, 1517 is an M920 and out on a limb, August 2019 arrival 2482 is an M780SE.


Arriva Optare Solo YJ56ATZ

Arriva YJ06FXT
Freshly repainted back to Arriva livery, 1474 is seen on a version of route 6 which operated until 10th April 2016. (R Hudson)

1454 is the last remaining Solo operating in Network Harlow livery. It is seen here on  route 8.  (R Hudson)  
    Arriva Optare Solo YJ57EJN T15 replacement route 9 is illustrated by non-native  vehicle 1507. (R Hudson)  
    Arriva YJ07VRF Small and slim, 2482 is the most recent arrival and is an M780SE variant. (R Hudson)

DAF SB120/Wrightbus Cadet
The matriarchs of the local fleet also happen to be the amongst most recent arrivals. February 2020 transfers include 3531 from Southend, as is evident by the branding still carried, and also from within the AKT fleet, similar 4536. 


Arriva LF02PNL

Advertising the local section of Arriva's website, 3531 is working on the Sumners/Katherines service at the bus station. (R Hudson)
    Arriva LJ03MYM Once an Arriva London South vehicle, now finishing it's days at Harlow in its 17th year of service. (R Hudson)



Route Principal vehicle type Vehicle requirement
Vehicle requirement
1 Optare Solos 2 2
2 and 3 Optare Versas  5 (4 in off-peak) 4
4 Optare Solos or Volvo/Wright Eclipse Urbans.  2 2
6 Optare Solos. 0
(interworked with route 8)
(interworked with route 8)
8 Optare Solos. 1 (2 in off-peak) 2
9 Volvo/Wright Eclipse Urban vehicles. 2 2
10 Volvo/Wright Eclipse Urban vehicles. 4 4
59 Optare Versa's. 2 2
86   1 -
87   3  
308/9 . 1 1
311 The E200 (not MMC type) seems to be a regular performer so far. 1 1
508/9/10 Alexander-Dennis E200MMCs.   13 13
724 Mercedes Citaros. 7 7

Please note that this is an unofficial site, and whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, no claims can be entertained for losses caused by any errors or omissions here, or through any shortcomings on the part of the operators themselves. We would be grateful if any errors could be notified to us, in order that we can make a prompt correction. Any suggestions, comments or other forms of feedback are most welcome by e-mail. This site acknowledges the support provided by local operators, but is not directly linked with any operator.

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