BUSES across Essex are set to see the return of conductors under a firm's bid to help passengers. 

The majority of the country's bus conductors were phased out in the late 70s and early 80s. 

Attempts were made to bring them back in various places over the last four decades and now First is bringing them back... albeit with the new name of revenue protection officers. 

The company says the move will allow drivers to focus on their ‘main priority’ of getting customers to their destinations safely.

From June 17, revenue protection officers will be “regularly riding” on the First Bus network in Essex and the East of England to checks tickets and IDs.

This means that any tickets purchased from the driver from the start of the journey must be retained for inspection as well as tickets being valid on the First Bus phone app.

Piers Marlow, managing director of First Bus East of England, said: “We have introduced a new Revenue Protection Officer role across the East of England.

“The role is designed to assist customers with ticketing queries and general service information.

Gazette: Director - Piers Marlow, managing director of First Bus for the East of EnglandDirector - Piers Marlow, managing director of First Bus for the East of England (Image: Denise Bradley)

"It is there to enhance the customer experience, aid driving colleagues with customer queries, and allow them to focus on their main priority which is getting our customers to and from their destinations safely."

Mr Marlow added: “Revenue Protection Officers will be travelling on buses across the region – checking tickets for validity and answering general questions about our services.

“The officers will travel on all services throughout the day at random times, so we advise all customers travelling to make sure they have a valid ticket ready for inspection at all times.”

Colchester Gazette readers have been having their say on Facebook. 

Dorian Kelly said that First Bus had this system in place for "a long while" in London adding: "The revenue protection officer has a scanner which checks your payment card or to check you have swiped your bus pass, or season ticket."

Dorian said that therefore the paper ticket is "irrelevant".

While Gazette reader Kathy Bown also said that officers could help with the vaping on buses as "bus drivers can’t control everything" while they focus on driving safely.