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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
The guiding principals
of the site were.
The services of all
operators were promoted in an equal and fair manner, as were
commercial and contracted services.
The site was free to
operators and to the public.
The site promoted
what we believe operated and not necessarily what was registered.
A positive but
realistic style of language was used.
was shown only where it was otherwise published (typically pass prices) or
was common knowledge in the public domain (e.g. the main town fares).
Copyright was and is
respected and only information supplied to us, or that which is in the
public domain and unrestricted, was and is used on this site
Since the site was first set
up, many operators established their own sites and traveline came into
existence, but I chose to continue with HarlowRide for some years
because I could see gaps in operator provision and traveline wasn't the
easiest to use for some people. I also offered a personalised e-mail reply service to enquirers.
The site was evidently
used and valued by many passengers and has I'm certain 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 did and still do venture into some personal opinion.
What changed in January 2016?
For some time we had fought with the challenge of wanting
to keep information current whilst having a site which was based on a
static format, the limitation being my own capability with the
technology. Because there was no revenue stream, investing in smarter
web packages or training wasn't practical. Then there was the issue of
having good information soon enough to plan for the changes. Some
operators were helpful, others not.
Time moved on and the
smartphone naturally became the tool by which most people wanted to have
access to data and harlowride really didn't present well in that format.
I also believe that the target market wanted more than we could ever
offer such as real-time information and bus tracking plus ticket
purchasing. These things were not only beyond my technical capability
but I was certain that the degree of operator support which would be
needed would simply never be attainable. I therefore took the decision
to discontinue the travel information section of the site rather than
present something out of date. I had hoped that section of the site
would be taken over and developed by another organisation, and initially
it was, but regrettably the necessary developments did not materialise.
Today HarlowRide remains to provide an enthusiasts overview of what
happens in the area only. I intend to continue to maintain this for the
foreseeable future. Any information on route and feel changes would
still be of huge assistance.
web-author, HarlowRide Bus Travel Information Service
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Last update 27th December
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