Ideas in Motion is all about inspiring people to think differently about how they get around Southend-on-Sea. Transport is far more than simply getting from A to B. Your travel choices can help you save money, stay healthy and keep happy. We thought it was worth pointing out the variety of ways you can travel around Southend to give you a few ideas on how to make your trips easier, cheaper and healthier, whether that’s by hopping on a train, buzzing along in an electric car or, for the more adventurous among you, even swimming or sailing to the office.
- Travel by Foot
Walking has three distinct advantages over other kinds of transport. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s free! You may be surprised at how much you save by trading the gas pedal for the sidewalk.
Secondly, it’s stress-free; you can get straight to work without worrying about parking and traffic jams. In fact, evidence shows that walking can reduce the harmful effects of stress by releasing feel-good chemicals and giving you the breathing space needed to de-clutter your head before and after the working day.
Best of all, no matter how short your journey, you can still get some of the benefits of walking. That means if the walk to work is a little far by foot, you could just walk to the nearest bus or train station instead and still save money, de-stress and stay healthy. Or you could build some exercise into your kids’ day by walking them to school. See if you can all make it to the recommended 10,000 steps daily.
- Travel by Train
There are nine railway stations in Southend, all served by C2C trains or Greater Anglia. Trains run up to every 15 minutes, so it’s an easy way of getting to work and avoiding congested roads. You could even use the time you save to read a bestseller or get up-to-speed on the news.
Make sure to travel smart: Ideas in Motion provides live updates so you can keep up-to-date with service changes or occasional disruptions.
- Travel by Bus
Did you know there are 700 bus stops in Southend? Arriva, First, Regal and Stephensons provide fantastic services, making it quick and easy to get to your destination. Check out the Southend bus map for more info on possible routes. Make sure you find out if you can save some money with an Octopus ticket, PLUSBUS ticket or bus pass before hopping on.
- Travel by Bike
Southend is a beautiful place to cycle around. It’s mostly flat, so luckily even the longest ride is quite gentle on your legs. People have a tendency to overestimate how long certain trips will take them by bike; as an example, did you know it only takes the average cyclist just 12 minutes to get from the Civic Centre to the hospital? It goes to show that cycling can sometimes be quicker than making the trip by car. Just make sure to stay safe and wear appropriate gear on the roads.
If you don’t plan to zoom like Chris Froome, you can find details of some really great off-road cycle routes on the Cycle Southend website, and there are peaceful cycle paths for more leisurely rides.
To make things easier, Bike & Go are operating a great new bike hire scheme from Southend Victoria Station, allowing you to quickly and easily complete your train journey by bike. All you have to do is register, hand your Bike & Go card in at the station and the bike is yours until you return it at the end of the day. The Bike & Go scheme is a perfect way to get to work faster and fitter. You can also hire up to two bikes at the same time, so you can get a friend involved.
And if you really don’t want to pedal those legs, you can always take it easy on one of Southend’s e-bikes.
- Travel by Car
If you travel to work by car, why not consider sharing your journey with a colleague heading in the same direction? Or if you’re doing the school run, why not join together with other busy parents and take the drive in turns? Car-sharing is a great way of reducing the number of cars on the road. Plus, it gives you a chance to catch-up with a pal, do a good deed or even enjoy a rare lie-in!
We’re also seeing more and more electric cars out on the roads in Southend. As part of the EValu8 ‘Plugged in Places’ project, five electric vehicle charging posts have been installed around the town, so you can plug in and go! The charging points are in Seaways car park, Warrior Square car park, on London Road near College Way, on Hamlet Court Road near Burdett Avenue and at the Belfairs Park Woodland Centre.
It’s free to charge your car; you don’t have to pay to use the posts or for the electricity you use. All you need to do is join Source East, and they will send you a membership card. Then it’s quick and simple: just swipe your Source East card at a free EV space, plug in and wait while your car re-boots. At the Belfairs Park Woodland Centre charging post, all you need to do is get an EV charging point access card from Centre staff.
- Travel by Water (!)
Iain Keenan, a lecturer at the University of Essex in Southend, actually swam the commute from his home in Chalkwell to Southend Pier. You can check out his video here. He made the journey in under an hour, taking a dry bag with work clothes in it. Iain said the swim got him to work feeling ready to take on the world, as well as being a great way to keep fit. Okay, so it’s a bit of a wild idea and probably a bit cold (not to mention wet!), but it goes to show there are always new and exciting ways to get around Southend.
There are so many fantastic ways to travel in Southend and we hope we’ve shared a few ideas that’ll get you thinking on the Ideas in Motion website. We’re always on the look-out for more great ways to make your journey around Southend as easy and enjoyable as possible, so feel free to get in touch with your ideas. And don’t forget to let us know how you’re getting on or send us a picture of your daily commute on Twitter (@IiMSouthend) or Facebook.