Stansted Airport bus service to be axed
Wednesday 10th November 2010
By James Calnan
A BUS service taking holidaymakers and airport workers from Clacton and Colchester to Stansted Airport is to be scrapped next year.
The X22 bus, which picks up in Clacton, Essex University in Wivenhoe, Colchester town centre and Braintree, will stop operating on January 8.
Bus operator First said the service is “not commercially viable”, but passengers and transport groups have criticised the decision.
The nearest alternative bus to the airport is the X5 from Ipswich, which calls at the Ardleigh Ramada Hotel and Marks Tey station only.
Lorna Cowling, 27, from Colchester, regularly uses the bus to the airport to visit family in Newcastle.
She said: “I’m very disappointed. Colchester is too large a town to not have a single public transport service to the region’s airport.
“The buses are never full, but there are still plenty of people on them. I also see people who are clearly airport staff using it to get to work.
“Chelmsford has a bus every hour from the airport and there are other services apart from that.”
Peter Kay, secretary of the Colchester bus users’ group, said First should have done more to make the service viable.
He added: “We suggested, ages back, it will never be remunerative as a wholly separate service and should instead be run as an hourly semi-fast service.
“I think they have deliberately made the X22 unusable for Colchester to Braintree journeys by overpricing, hence it has only ever had decent loadings on the Braintree to Stansted section where lots of airport workers use it.”
He also said few people know about it because it does not appear in rail timetables, unlike most airport links.
A First spokesman said: “The Service X22 Stansted Aircoach is sadly being withdrawn after operation on Saturday, January 8 2011.
“We have made every attempt to continue this service from Clacton to Stansted Airport, but unfortunately it is not commercially viable to operate this service.”
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