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bullet.gif (333 bytes) The history and purpose of this site
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History and purpose of HarlowRide

This site was set up in 1999 with one main purpose, which was to bring together all-operator bus travel information relevant to Harlow in Essex with an objective of promoting bus travel to the public via the internet. The trigger to set the site up was when, having moved to Harlow myself, even given my relatively informed background as an enthusiast, I began to realise just how difficult it was to understand the information that was available, and how easily the public, my wife included, are put off. I should add that, at the time, almost nothing was available on the internet.

The guiding principals of the site are as follows.

  • The services of all operators are promoted is an equal and fair manner, as are commercial and contracted services.

  • The site is free to operators and to the public.

  • The site promotes what we believe operates, and not necessarily what is registered.

  • A positive but realistic style of language is used.

  • Fares information will only be shown where it is otherwise published (typically pass prices) or common knowledge in the public domain (e.g. the main town fares).

  • Copyright is respected and only information supplied to us, or that which is in the public domain and unrestricted, is used on this site

  • Discrete static banner ads are permitted and a small fee is charged. Please note that in no year so far has this even covered the hosting cost for the site. Service or fares promotions by local operators will generally be added without charge.

Since the site was set up, many operators have established their own sites, and traveline has come into existence, so why does HarlowRide continue?

1. Individual sites don't exist for all operators yet, and even where they do, quite naturally they don't paint the full network picture to the prospective passenger. A member of the public may not know all possible operators to look for when they want to see if a journey is possible, and even if they do, they are unlikely to have the patience to look at them all. Additionally, many tendered services are not promoted by their operators at all.

2. Traveline presents only a limited picture on the journey planner, and is not always accurate or useful. Otherwise it offers a single route by route timetable, which can make the service to a given destination appear unattractive.

HarlowRide remains the only place on the net where you can view just the Harlow network, but all of it, and see all the bus journeys to a given destination, with a 24/7 snapshot on one page. It also offers a personalised e-mail reply service to enquirers. I believe the site is used and valued by many passengers, and has successfully encouraged new bus users onto the services of all operators in the town (and beyond!).

The enthusiasts section was added as a way of giving something back to like-minded folk, and in this section only, as it is not likely to be read by the public, I may venture into some personal opinion.

The site is run voluntarily and for many years has been funded privately. Whilst ideally it would always be up to date, obtaining accurate and timely information remains challenging. I am highly grateful to a small band of supporters who supply information to assist with the upkeep of both sections of the site. More direct support from operators would be of even greater use.

How to support HarlowRide
The quality of what can be done is mainly in the hands of the information we have. Ideally we like to have:

- A named contact who can respond to enquiries from this site, generally in 24 hours.

- A full set of current timetables (first-hand from the operator is preferred).
- Four weeks notice of any route or timetable changes, so that we can prepare updates and publish at least two weeks in advance.
- A current set of fare-tables and some notice of changes. These are used to respond to e-mail enquiries related to particular destinations and are not published in full.
- Vehicle news updates are of interest (and will be shared with LOTS).

In return we will:

- Advertise a service change.
- Present up to date detail information wherever possible.
- Be best placed to respond accurately to the many e-mail enquiries that we receive .

Please don't assume I will just find the information I need. Although I have local contacts to whom I am indebted, the author of this site moved away from Harlow for career reasons in 2004.

If you are an operator and willing to support this site, please e-mail the author directly at I will willingly identify operators who can provide the support requested above as partners to the site, if they so wish.



Michael, web-author, HarlowRide Bus Travel Information Service

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Last update 12th April 2014

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