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April 30 2018
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

First to exit Clacton and close
depot with 60 jobs to go

First Essex is to close its Clacton depot and stop all five of its town services. Up to 60 of the 65 jobs are at risk. The routes operate 24 vehicles with a peak vehicle requirement (PVR) of 21.

First Essex’s Clacton network, including supported services

Its seven days a week Clacton-Colchester and Clacton-Walton-on-the-Naze routes will continue.

First says its Clacton operation “has not been viable for several years.”

It faces competition from Go-Ahead owned Hedingham, which has a network of five Clacton town routes, and a route to Colchester.

Hedingham says it is planning to replace First’s routes.

First says that “despite working hard to turn the business around, there has been insufficient passenger demand” and the “challenging economy” has also been a factor. 

First Essex MD Steve Wickers says: “The level of demand is not enough to warrant a stand-alone bus operation in Clacton.

“We see no alternative. Despite our best efforts, patronage has declined gradually over the last couple of years.

The threatened services are routes 2 (Clacton-Mistley), 3 (Harwich-Clacton), 4/4A (Clacton-Jaywick), 5/5A (Clacton-Flatford Drive) and 6 (Clacton-Point Clear via Bockings Elm and St Osyth).

Go-Ahead’s Clacton network

Mr Wickers added: “Our proposals do not, in any way, reflect on the commitment of our colleagues in Clacton who have worked tirelessly to provide the best possible service to the local community.  I’d like to thank each, and every one, for their hard work and loyalty. 

“We will be doing everything we can to assist everyone affected and will actively support any of our employees who may wish to transfer to other First Bus operations.” 

Always disappointing to read news like this but inevitable in the competitive environment that exists. Hope the staff that are affected are able to stay in the industry.
Kenneth Farrington

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