Airlink double-deckers introduced after rise in patronage

The X30 Airlink route connecting Stansted Airport and Southend Airport has seen a rise in patronage

First Essex has introduced seven new double-deck buses into its Airlink airport fleet which will go into service on 19 February.

The buses, Scania N 250 UDs with Alexander Dennis (ADL) Enviro400 bodywork, are being introduced to the X30 route from Southend to Stansted Airport after a 5% rise in bus patronage – with that figure likely to increase.

Rebranded as Essex Airlink, the growth plan of the fleet has been, and will continue to be, a collaboration with Stansted Airport. First Essex MD Steve Wickers explains that the company has worked with Stansted to develop a growth plan together. “This enables us to pinpoint the next stages and grow with the airport,” he says.

The buses are all Euro VI and have Scania chassis with a bus body “which makes them unique” says Mr Wickers. He explains that standard buses usually don’t suit interurban routes as they have a lot of miles to cover at a higher speed.

Inside the new AirLink

On review of the current X30 route after a trial of double-deckers in 2018, passengers on the service were hesitant to be on the top deck and away from their luggage. In response, the new Airlink buses have cameras focused on the luggage rack downstairs and screens on the top level so passengers can see their belongings.

The X10 route which runs from Basildon to Stansted Airport is continuing with the single-deck ADL Enviro E200MMC with updated Airlink livery. Where the two bus routes meet, Airlink services will run up to every half an hour.

Upstairs in the new AirLink

The new additions to the fleet are similar to those launched in Kings Lynn

[routeone/news/5 February] with leather seats, wireless phone charging and extra legroom, with space for luggage downstairs and under seats.