Wendy Way at bus stop

Article by Brentwood Gazette: A bus that broke down while it was driving "could have caused a fatal accident," according to a terrified passenger on board.

Wendy Way, 72, who lives on the Eastham Estate, was on the number 9 First bus from Billericay station heading to her home when the incident happened.

As the bus travelled along Hanging Hill Lane, at around 3.50pm on August 26, it suddenly came to a halt.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Wendy Way"]It's a steep hill and it was juddering and the driver had to swerve towards the side of the road to stop it. It happened so quickly. I thought the driver had run over a dog, I thought I heard a yelp. The bus driver was really shocked and to give him his due, he asked if everyone was OK. We just all felt 'thank God'. It could have been a fatal accident – it was a fatal accident waiting to happen. Had a large lorry been behind us it would have gone straight into the back of the bus and who knows what would have happened. It was just going along as normal before the incident – someone who used to be a coach driver said it could have been fluid to the wheels that could have been blocked.[/quote]

This is the latest in a string of criticisms from Brentwood residents about the bus company's services.

Two months ago First Essex received a formal warning from the Traffic Commissioner for poor punctuality in Braintree and Chelmsford. A report found 79 of the 327 buses checked had either been more than a minute early, more than five minutes late or had failed to turn up at all.

Ms Way says the service in Brentwood is not much better.

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Wendy Way"]There was a bus stuck in Norman Crescent at 7am. It was still there at 10am and traffic could not get through there," Ms Way added, speaking of a recent incident. I came back on the 351 from Chelmsford recently and it was disgusting. The seats were thin and hard, the bus was disgusting. How can they keep sending the vehicles out to us? We just feel as though we are in the back of beyond and no one really cares. I'm personally going to be sending a list of the buses that did not run to the Traffic Commissioner. The service has not improved," she said, and asked if there had to be an "accident before something is done?[/quote]

[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by a First Essex spokesperson"]We are aware of an incident which happened on Tuesday, August 26, involving one of our service 9 vehicles. A sensor fault with the front doors caused the brakes to lock while the vehicle was moving below 5mph. The driver reported the fault and the vehicle was repaired and back in service the same day. Nobody was injured. Our vehicles are serviced and inspected every 28 days and instances such as these are very rare.[/quote]

Article and image by Brentwood Gazette

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