AN overhaul of Colchester’s bus system is taking place in a bid to reduce bus traffic and air pollution.

Essex County Council has announced changes will be made from October 21.

The number of buses using individual stops has grown due to increased frequency and new routes, and the county council feels it is reducing the attractiveness, reliability and economic viability of the service.

As a result, all stops within Osborne Street, Stanwell Street, St John’s Street, Head Street, High Street and Queen Street are being reviewed.

One of the main changes is the number of times buses will stop in the High Street, to reduce traffic outside the George Hotel.

Some buses stop more than once in the High Street, allowing passengers to get off by the Co-op Bank and again for passengers to board by the George Hotel.

There are 64 buses per hour operating through the High Street.

Going forward the same number of buses per hour will stop, but will only stop once at one of eight stops.

It means the level of activity at each stop has been substantially reduced.

Instead of putting bus service numbers on the bus stop flags, a so-called common route corridor will be added to help passengers identify where the buses will be going.

This corridor will either show the direction of travel, or the ultimate destinations.

For example, stop Ga in the High Street will have the designation Via Mersea Road and all buses running along the Mersea Road corridor will use this stop.

There are no timetable changes as a direct consequence of the stop reallocation.

The county council added: “The revised bus stop allocations are based on grouping services together which share the same physical journey corridor.

“We believe this is a logical approach and it has enabled us to simplify the wording on the bus stop flags.”

The final change will allow other buses to use the Park and Ride stops in the town centre. This new arrangement will reduce the number of buses calling at most stops.

The Queen Street bus stop carries some 31 buses per hour. In future it will carry 14.

Similarly in St John’s Street, one stop currently carries 37 buses per hour and will in future carry 19.

However, the Ca stop in St John’s Street, dedicated to the Park & Ride only, will rise from four buses an hour to eight buses per hour.

In the week leading up to October 21, the flags at each stop will be altered and covered until the new timetables are out.

The buses will still stop at their current bus stops during this period.

The changes are a response to concerns about safety and the environment.

The county council said: “They are designed to reduce congestion and delays while improving air quality and passenger safety by reducing pressure on the most heavily used bus stops.”

“The aim is to reduce buses queueing for the wrong stops and the risk of passengers trying to board the bus from the road instead of the stop.”

Visit for more information.