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12th March 2024

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The 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 (the other being Northfleet). 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.

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.

Effective 3rd August 2018 was the assumption of three commercial routes formerly operated by EOS, being the 66, 86 and 87. The 66 was transferred to Ware, the 87 dropped and replaced by a DRT operated by EFCT and the 86 limped on to April 2023 before being replaced by the introduction of Vectare's supported Monday to Friday 505.

A plan to introduce a major Stansted Airport to London coach service in April 2020 was thwarted by Covid and never resurfaced.


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.

Two additional vehicles of this type arrived concurrent with the EOS commercial route take-up in summer 2018 but both have since left. 4113 was a late 2019 arrival and remains in service whilst 4120 arrived December 2023.

Bringing the story up to date to 2021, 8 more of the class have arrived from Kent and effectively replaced, at a stroke, the Mercedes Citaros which had been operating the 724 since 2006. Of these, 4102 (YX17NYT) suffered a fire in service and was withdrawn.

There had been operational segregation between the 4076 to 4085/7 batches and 4093 to 4101 batches, with the former normally on the 508/9/10 and latter on the 724. As of late June/early July 2022 the 724 has seen a batch of 8 ex-Leicester VDL/Wright Pulsar 2s arrive and an equivalent number of this fleet have moved on, surprisigly comprising vehicles from both batches. Those that remain are shown below.

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 local stock of the batch increased with the addition of 4113, moved from within the Arriva Kent Thameside fleet at Guildford. (R Hudson)
    Arriva SN67WUJ Another from the same batch as
4113 arrived in January 2024 in the form of 4120. We can't be sure whether this is planned to stay or whether it's a loan. (R Hudson)
    Arriva YX17NYS 4101 carried Sapphire branding from its days on the 700 (Chatham - Bluewater) which was still carried on entry into service. It's now had the branding replaced by something for the 508/9/10 and the front is now light blue, as shown, leaving an odd effect. R Hudson


VDL SB200/Wright Pulsar or Pulsar 2
Unexpected was the arrival in April 2022 of a transfer from down the road at Ware of 3776 (KX09KDK).
Visually similar (potentially even identical?) to the Eclipse Urban, the Pulsar is the name is used by Wright when in combination with a VDL chassis.

Then in late June 2022, it was evidently decided to change the stock being used on the 724. Arriving from Leicester following a brief trial were a new batch of 8 of the refreshed Pulsar 2 variety, exchanged with a similar number of A-D Enviro200MMCs.

3776 then departed in October 2022, to be replaced by identical 3759, then shortly afterwards, 3756, a vehicle which operated in Harlow in 2015, arrived. 3759 has since left.

3771 emerged in December 2022, repainted in a brand new Green Line 724 dedicated livery. It was shy for a few months but is now operating again. Reports were that the repaint programme was halted, until 3798 appeared in March, then 3797 in May and 3772 in June, in the new colours. So, as things stands the fleet of 9 comprises 4 in light blue, 4 in new Green Line, 1 in inter-urban.  

Arriva YJ08DZK

Newest into the fleet at Harlow is the eldest of the class (3756). Still showing branding for Southend, in its first days in service in October 2022 is 3759, since departed. (R Hudson)
    Arriva FL63DXC 3772, one of the June 2022 arrivals, seen straight after being repainted in June 2023 on the Sumners/Katherines 1 service. (R Hudson)
    Arriva FL63DXH 3799 on the other hand is in light blue. Seen here on the 724 about to depart for "St Albans for Heathrow". (R. Hudson)
    Arriva FL63DXB The shape of things to come emergeged in  December 2022 when 3771 was outshopped in a brand new Green Line livery with route branding for the 724. Although odd and perhaps disappointing that it started out on the stansted routes on 15th, it has since taken up its rightful place. (R Hudson) 
    Arriva FL63DXG Showing the off-side of the new Green Line livery is 3798, waiting to take up service on Stansted routes on 13th March 2023. (R Hudson)

Optare Versa 11.1m
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.

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. There have been further changes, leaving those shown below as operational at present, although 4184 has been out of services for a few months.

Arriva YJ58VCC

The fleet is now fully in the latest light blue livery, having been progressively repainted, with 4237 completing the program in 2021. Here 4184 sits outside Harlow garage. (R Hudson)
    Arriva KX13DHJ 4238 showing the near-side view in light blue on regular route 2/3. (R Hudson)
    ArrivaYJ10EYD One of the December 2021 intake, 4183 at the bus station on the 2/3 routes. 4181 is of similar appearance. (R Hudson)
    ArrivaYJ10EYD 4183 has benefitted from a super-rear advert publicising the Government's UK Communities Fund and the local support it is providing. (R Hudson) 


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
This was the class that was, for some years, essentially dedicated to the 508/509/510. The 510 was converted to the type on 6th December 2004 in a dedicated branded livery, although none from that time remain. 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 of the 11-registered examples transferred back 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, examples of which continued in that form for many years to follow. 

Following the arrival of the E200MMCs in June 2017, the majority of the fleet moved out to Stevenage with just 4 remaining but they have come and gone frequently since, typically moving between Stevenage, Harlow and Ware. In Spring 3820 was amongst a nunber which joined the fleet from Kent. In November 2019, 3889 joined the fleet, bringing the first in the latest light blue livery. Recent withdrawals mean that only 4 remain operational.

Arriva GN07AVG

Three vehicles which started their life on the Bluewater fastrack services ended up at Harlow. 3820 is the only remaining example and unique in carrying the Arriva MAX livery. (R Hudson)
    Arriva KX11PUK The 2016 intake of 2011 former 310 batch is represented here by 3876 (since left). This livery is still carried on 3881, including branding for the 310.  (R Hudson).
    Arriva BG59FWP The latest light blue and Urban 2 body style  combination is shown on 3889. It is on the recently withdrawn town route 9. This livery is also now carried on 3882. (R. Hudson)

Optare Solo SR 
When it was time for the ever so popular and successful Solo to gain a makeover and adopt more of a brand family feel, the SR was born. It's taken 14 years for this example to surface at Harlow. Still, that makes it a year younger than the newest Solo and 4 years younger than the eldest. The Solo has proved its objective of giving a minibus a full bus life-span. 

Arriva YJ58CCF

Harlow Bus Station on 31st October and in the company of other vehicles of the same operator in the same livery. (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 are a 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 returning to Arriva livery. The pace of this change stepped up in 2016 and the last to return, 1454, was completed in June 2020.

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. 2484 is a later arrival.  

1457/8 and 1466/7 are M880's, 1517 is an M920 and 2484 is an M950.

Arriva YK07BEO
2484 is a vehicle that has come and gone between Ware and Harlow, arriving back again at the end of July 2023. It is the only M950 and was exchanged, ironically for small and slim 2482, an M780SE variant. (R Hudson).
    Arriva Optare Solo YJ57EJN T15 replacement route 9, since withdrawn, is illustrated by non-native vehicle 1507 (no longer  operating). (R Hudson)  



1 - Harlow Bus Station to Sumners/Katherines
Main service every 20 mins, evenings hourly, Sundays (starts from but doesn't return to Harlow Town Station) 2-hourly.

2 and 3 - Harlow Town Station (peaks and evenings) or Harlow Bus Station to Staple Tye
Main service every 24 mins (each) peaks, every 20 mins (each) Monday to Friday off-peaks, every 30-60 mins evenings (route 2 only), Saturdays every 30 minutes (each), Sundays every 2 hours (route 2 only).

4 - Harlow Bus Station to Latton Bush
Main service every 15 minutes, every hour evenings, every 2 hours Sundays. Mon-Sat evenings to but not from Harlow Town Station.

6 Bus Station - Town Station - Little Parndon
Main service hourly, off-peak and evenings. Sundays to/from Town station and 2-hourly.
8 - Old Harlow/Harlowbury via Mark Hall South
Main service hourly incl. evenings, Sundays 2-hourly.

10 - Harlow Town Station to Church Langley
Main service every 20 mins, evenings every 30 to 60 mins, Sundays 2-hourly.

59 - Harlow to Chelmsford (Anglia Ruskin University)
Main service hourly, no late evening service. Sundays every 2 hours

308/9 - Standted Airport to Thorley Park
Main service every 40 mins plus some very early and late journeys. Sundays every 70-80 mins.

311 - Bishops Stortford to Stortford Fields
Main service every 30 minutes, Monday to Saturday until early evenings only.

508/509/510 - Harlow to Stansted Airport
Main service every 10 minutes, slightly wider in peaks, evenings every 30 minutes, all night hourly service. Saturday daytimes every 15 minutes, Sundays every 30 minutes. 

Green Line 724 - Harlow to Heathrow Airport
Main service hourly Monday to Saturday, with an almost all-night service. 2-hourly Sundays. 

Route Principal vehicle type Vehicle requirement
Vehicle requirement
1 Volvo/Wright Eclipse Urban 2 2
2 and 3 Optare Versa with regular Solo back-up  5 (4 in off-peak) 4
4 Optare Solo  2 2
6/8 (interworked) Optare Solo 1 1
10 Volvo/Wright Eclipse Urban with regular Solo back-up 2 2
59 Optare Versa 2 2
308/9 Optare Versa. 1 1
311 The E200 4008 (the one which is not MMC type) is the regular performer. 1 1
508/9/10 Alexander-Dennis E200MMCs 13 10
724 VDL SB200/Wrightbus Pulsar 2 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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