Lobbying First Bus to Reinstate Number 21 Bus Route

October 2023:

Rebecca Harris MP has welcomed the Conservative Government’s decision to further extend the £2 bus fare cap once again, continuing to bring cheaper journeys to people across Castle Point. The bus fare cap had been due to rise to £2.50 but thanks to the Conservative Government’s decision to reinvest HS2 funding in ‘Network North’, it will remain at £2 across most of England until the end of December 2024.

The £2 bus fare has helped the cost of bus fares fall across England outside London by 7.4%, whereas in Labour-run London fares have risen 6%, in Labour-run Wales up 6.3% and SNP-run Scotland they have risen 10.3%.  

This comes on top of the £4.89 million Government investment in bus services awarded to Essex County Council for 2024/25 as part of the £80 million Bus Services Improvement Plan and a further £140 million from the extension of the Bus Service Operators Grant.


May 2023: 

Rebecca Harris MP Welcomes £4,890,976 of Conservative Government Funding to Extend the £2 Bus Fare Cap Across Essex

  • Millions of bus passengers across the country will continue to benefit from the £2 bus fare cap thanks to the Conservative Government.
  • Supported by £200 million of Conservative Government funding, bus routes across the country will continue to cost passengers no more than £2 until October this year, and a further £300 million has been announced to protect vital routes and improve services.
  • This means millions of passengers will benefit from cheap travel, as the Conservative Government supports people with the cost of living and works to halve inflation, grow the economy, reduce debt, stop the boats and cut waiting lists.

Rebecca Harris has welcomed £4,890,976 of Conservative Government funding for bus companies and Essex County Council to extend the £2 bus fare cap, as part of a £500 million investment to freeze bus fares nationally and improve vital local routes – ensuring passengers can continue to ‘Get Around for £2’ while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the sector.

Although the initial cap – announced at the start of this year – was introduced as a temporary measure, the scheme has successfully encouraged many more people to use local bus services, benefitting local economies, supporting jobs, and helping passengers with the cost of living.

A further £300 million has been announced to protect routes and services that are relied on for work, education, medical appointments, and shopping. As part of this, local transport authorities will receive £160 million to improve fares, services, and infrastructure, while £140 million will directly support operators in protecting essential services.

Commenting, Rebecca Harris MP said:

“Buses are vital to people across Castle Point, helping people to access work, education, shops, and appointments – and keeping the cost of fares down will make a real difference to the lives of the millions of people who use them every day.

“That is why I am delighted the Conservative Government will be committing £500 million across the country, extending the £2 cap fare and protecting and improving vital local routes.

“This will help people to keep costs down, as the Conservative Government work to halve inflation, grow the economy, and reduce debt.”

Commenting, Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said:

“Taking the bus is the most popular form of public transport and millions of people rely on these vital services every day.

“This half a billion pounds investment will help people save money amid cost of living pressures and continue to level up transport in all parts of the country, doing our bit to help halve inflation and grow the economy.”


July 2022:

Rebecca met with the Commercial Director of First Essex Buses at the Hadleigh Bus Depot to discuss Thundersley residents' concerns over the alterations to the No.21 bus route. Rebeca made it clear that she does not believe residents were consulted enough on the change. Rebecca was pleased however they have agreed to keep the decision under active review. If there is enough demand to reinstate the service then they will, so its important that those who want the service restored, and would use it regularly in the future let them know!

Total bus journeys in our part of Essex are only at 80% of what they were before the pandemic. We need to use our local busses more for short and medium journeys to better secure their future as a service. If you make regular journeys by car, check if you can get there by bus instead via https://www.traveline.info/

Thundersley Conservative Councillors have been petitioning for the reinstatement of the original route and have been gathering petitions to take directly to First Buses to get them to reverse this decision.