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Brief history
Current fleet list
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Brief History


"From a single coach to a 100 vehicle bus fleet, during 45 years in Essex and 7 years in Suffolk" is the quote from the illustrated guide published by Geoff R Mills and used on the enthusiast page of Stephensons' own website. Based in Rochford but with some strategically placed outstations, they have been on the fringe of Harlow's operations at Bishops Stortford and in Epping in the past but not quite made it all the way to the town centre (there was once a school journey which touched on the fringes at Old Harlow). This changed on 31st July 2023 when they took over the ECC contracts for town routes 5 and 14, perhaps surprisingly, along with Bishops Stortford locals 7/7A and school service 306. The 5/7/7A/14 are interworked and require 4 vehicles in total.

Early (first week) operations showed typical examples of their fleet in use. We understand that these operations were initially run from the Stephensons' outstation in Boreham and there was a degree of regularity in the vehicles used on the services from there if including nearby route 32 (Ongar to Chelmsford). The full Stepensons fleet list is available on their website. Examples seen in Harlow or Bishops Stortford are detailed below.

A couple of weeks in and at least one working was being covered by NIBS who are based in Wickford. NIBS is a subsidiary of Stephenson's and there is a common fleet number series and similar feel to the two websites. NIBS also have a fleet list on their website showing a 33-vehicle operation. NIBS previously worked to Harlow when between April 2016 and March 2018 they ran the 2-hourly Sunday 501 between Harlow and Ongar for ECC.

 
WEBSITE: stephensonsofessex.com or nibsbuses.com
 



Example fleet list - Stephensons

Alexander-Dennis Enviro 200
The single deck fleet is dominated by this very standard type, numbering 39 in all. Those below have seen operating on local services. Fleet livery is fairly consistantly applied. 478 carries branding for the blackwater link. Most recent arrivals YX63KFG, YX63KFK and YX63GXW carry the liveries and some branding of Nottingham City Transport, from where they came. 
413
414
422
424
425
426
427
428
429
431
435
436
440
441
448
449
464
466
472
474
475
476
478
480
tbd
tbd
tbd
SK07HLN
SK07HLV
EU60CAV
EU15AZT
MX62APK
MX62APO
YY15NJO
YX17NYW
YX17NYZ
EU10NVP
YY67USC
YY67USD
SN16ORS
SN16ORU
YX10FFG
YX10FFK
EU62FDF
DK67OPZ
EU65EOH
EU65EOK
EU65EOL
EU65EOM
EU44AVC
EU66AVF
YX63KFG
YX63KFK
YX63GXW 
Stevensons YY67USC First day operations in Harlow were represented by 2 vehicles. 435 (YY67USC) is seen at the bus station on route 5, actually on 1st August, the second day. (R Hudson)
    Stevensons SK07HLV The other first day vehicle was 414 (SK07HLV), seen at the Sumners Farm terminal actually on 31st July. (R Hudson)
    Stevensons YY15NJO 427 (YY15NJO) is an identical example. This has seen service on the local network. (R Hudson) 
    Stevensons  EU10NVP Just before services started, 431 (EU10NVP) is on route learning, as shown on the destination screen and with more trainees than many of the journeys will carry on board. (R Hudson) 
    Stephensons YX17NYW Two recent arrivals are fleet numbers 428 and 429. Both arrived autumn 2023 in white. Both have operated locally. 428 is shown here in the bus station in February 2024, following application of fleet livery. (R Hudson)
    Stephensons YX17NYZ And the other of the pair, 429, at Sumners Farm in its early days in service with Stephensons. It has also since gained fleet livery. (R Hudson)


Optare Solo
A small number of these remain in the fleet and have seen a reasonable amount of regular service on the Bishops Stortford 7/7A and occasional visit to Harlow. All are of the slimline variety.
323
324
326
327
328
EU07FVN
EU07FVO
EU58AXX
MX06BPZ
YJ58PHN
Stevensons  EU07FVO Fleet number 324 (as well as 323) is a shorter M780SL type, noted here on 4th August. (R Hudson)
    Stephensons EU58AXX Fleet number 326 is an M880SL variant, seen in the bus station with a not especially helpful destination display. (R Hudson)
    Stephensons MX06BPZ Fleet number 327 is an M850SL variant. Although Stephensons normally do a very good job in vehicle presentation, especially for a white-based livery, winter road conditions had clearly left thier mark here in Bishops Stortford interchange. (R Hudson)
    Stevensons YJ58PHN Fleet number 328 is another M880SL variant, again seen in the bus station. (R Hudson)

 

Scania/East Lancs Olympus
The Stephensons double deck fleet is far less like a typical fleet comprising a large number of Scanias, almost exclusively so. Of these, most have East Lancs or successor Optare bodywork. Many are Omnidekkas but this example is one of a number in the Olympus style. There are also Alexander-Dennis E400s and a solitary E400MMC, but still on Scania chassis.
509
YN07LHP
Stevensons YN07LHP The first Saturday brought the first appearance of a double deck. Originating as London United SO1, after a period with Centrebus, Stephensons has become this vehicle's new home. It wouldn't seem to have operated in service and Stephensons will have learnt that this capacity isn't anything like needed on the 5 or 14 (R Hudson)


Scania/East Lancs Omnidekka
The .
635
YN55NHP
Stephensons YN55NHP (R Hudson)




Alexander-Dennis Mini Pointer Dart
Just one example in today's fleet and it's turned up in Bishops Stortford on the 7/7A in the first week of operations. 
509
YN07LHP
Stevensons EU07FRN Bishops Stortford's interchange is the setting for this MPD on one of the newly inherited routes, although it has yet to reach Harlow. (R Hudson)


Example fleet list - NIBS

Alexander-Dennis E20D/Enviro200MMC
The only examples of this latest varient of the standard Alexander-Dennis product across the combined fleets are within the NIBS fleet.
401
YX16OBP
NIBS YX16OBP On route 5 in week 2 at Sumners Farm, one of the 2 Alexander-Dennis E200MMCs in the fleet. (R Hudson)


Alexander-Dennis Enviro200
Vehicle choices for NIBS are very similar to those of the main Stephensons fleet, these standards dominating the offering. 
418
419
438
439
444
445
450
451
452
MX59AVN
CN11FBE
YY15FZC
YY15FZD
YX10FEV
YX10FFA
YX10FFL
YX10FFM
YX10FFN
NIBS YY15FZC On route 5 at the Bus Station, 438, one of the two regularly used examples (the other is 439), illustrates the standard Alexander-Dennis E200. (R Hudson)
    NIBS YY15FZC Clicking on the image of 419 will show the unusual offside route number on the side display. (R Hudson)
    NIBS YY15FZD 439, regrettably, offered no available display at all when seen on 25th August 2023. (R Hudson)
    NIBS YY10FFM 450 and 451 are a consequtive pair of similar vehicles. The latter is seen here at the bus station. (R Hudson)
    NIBS /YX10FEV An autumn scene for 444 on the 5 at Sumners Farm on 14th November 2023. The colours work well together with the NIBS livery. This vehicle was once with Abellio London, where it opetated in dual door format. It has since been converted to single door. (R Hudson)
    NIBS /YX10FFA Same route and same place, one fleet number on and one month on, but looking like a whole season on. 445 is seen on 15th December. (R. Hudson)
    NIBS YY10FFN 452 (YX10FFN) didn't have a functional destination display when seen on the 5 on 14th February. Even the paper substitute could only be described as minimal! (R Hudson)
 


Scania N94UD / East Lancs Omnidekka 
The partnership between Scania and Stephensons has been publicised and that highlighted the longevity and reliability of that manufacturer's offering. An evident high standard of maintenance by the operator is doubtless a contributory factor too.
626
YN04YJR
NIBS YN04YJR Something over an over provision against the capacity required for the 14 would be a correct statement on any day of the week, but Saturdays most especially. (R Hudson)


Galloway fleet examples
704
PO54ACY
NIBS PO54ACY An unusual type to see in Harlow is this Volvo B9TL/East Lancs Myllennium Vyking. (R Hudson)

 

Route List

Within Harlow:
5 - Harlow Bus Station to Sumners Farm - ECC contract service, Mon-Sat, hourly. PVR = 1
14 - Harlow Bus Station to Little Parndon (Mondays to Saturdays) extended to Pinnacles (Monday to Friday peak hours). ECC contract service, PVR = 1.

Bishops Stortford area:
7/7A - Bishops Stortford and Stansted local area services, ECC contract. PVR = 2
301 - Bishops Stortford to Saffron Walden. ECC, one journey (main service operated by A2B Travel).

Outside Harlow and Bishops Stortford:
Large network of local services, mainly in South East Essex. See website for details.


Other pages

Bus route maps
Enthusiasts Main Index

[HarlowRide Main Index]



Last update: 11th May 2024

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