SM Coaches

SM Coaches
S.M. Coaches
Roadrunner Coaches
Olympian Coaches
An S.M. Coaches bus at the 2010 North Weald Bus Rally. It has since been repainted into the white and blue livery.
Founded Late 1980s
Headquarters Harlow
Service area Essex
Greater London
Service type Bus, Coach
Routes 13
Web site SM Coaches

S.M. Coaches is a bus and coach operating company based in Harlow, Essex in the United Kingdom. They mostly operate local services around Harlow, as well as school services and private hire. Olympian Coaches is also a part of the business, operating school services, private hire and commuter services into London. Many of their bus services operate in competition with Arriva routes. Some of the bus services are operated under the trading name Roadrunner Coaches.



S.M. Coaches started off as a post regulation company S.M. Travel. Their first route was route T15 which was a peak hour Essex County Council contract between Potter Street and Templefields Industrial Area in Harlow. The route missed out Harlow town centre completely. The route eventually became a commercial operation with many route changes throughout the years. S.M. Coaches have certainly grown over the years, with many routes competing with Harlow's main bus company, Arriva.

Olympian Coaches formed separately in 1998. Olympian bought the Stort Valley Coaches business (also trading as LocalLink) which included the London commuter services.

S.M. Coaches and Olympian Coaches are legally separate companies. In 2008, the two companies became quite close and now all bus services are registered under S.M. Coaches, which includes the former Olympian bus routes. The only services operating under the Olympian Coaches name are the London commuter services, private hire work and many school services.[1]

In March 2009, whilst carrying 47 school children on the A414, one of the company's coaches caught fire. The fire destroyed the vehicle, but there were no injuries.[2] From January 2010, route SM19 was extended from Epping to Ongar, operating in direct competition with routes 500 and 501. As a result, the 500 has been cut back to operate between Epping and Harlow.

From 12 April 2010, new route SM18 started, operating every 40 minutes between Bishops Stortford and Harlow, competing against Arriva routes 333 and 510.

Some Harlow local services were previously operated under Roadrunner Coaches. From 19 April 2010, a new route M4 began operation and the name was reintroduced. It followed Arriva decreasing the frequency of route 4.

Current routes

S.M. Coaches

S.M. Coaches mostly operates local bus services in Harlow, but some routes enter other towns, such as Bishops Stortford, Sawbridgeworth, Epping, Ongar and Hertford. Many school services also operate, which are not all listed here.

Route number Route Via
19 Epping Station London Underground to Harlow Bus Station Potter Street, Brays Grove
19A Loughton Station London Underground to Harlow Bus Station. Debden, Epping, Potter Street, Brays Grove
20 Ongar Two Brewers to Harlow Bus Station North Weald, Epping, Potter Street, Brays Grove
21 Warley Old Ford to Harlow Bus Station Brentwood, Ongar, Epping, Potter Street, Brays Grove
323 Broxbourne Station National Rail to Hoddesdon Essex Road Industrial Estate Hoddesdon
323A Hoddesdon Clock Tower to Harlow Bus Station Stanstead Abbots
524 Harlow Bus Station to Hertford Bus Station Stanstead Abbots, Ware
E18 Harlow Bus Station to Bishops Stortford Old Harlow, Sawbridgeworth
T15 Harlow Potter Street to Harlow Bus Station Brays Grove


Roadrunner operate a few public service routes, but many school routes are also operated mostly around Hertfordshire.

Route number Route Via
1 Harlow Bus Station to Sumners & Katherines Staple Tye
7/7A Bishops Stortford Interchange National Rail to Stansted Airport Airport interchange National Rail Elsenham
255 Cheshunt Brookfield Centre to Loughton tube station London Underground Waltham Cross, Waltham Abbey
511 Harlow Bus Station to Bishops Stortford Old Harlow, Sawbridgeworth, Thorley Park

Olympian Coaches

Olympian mainly operate commuter routes from Hertfordshire and Essex into central London, with many school contracts as well as private hire.

Route number Route Via
Bishop's Stortford to London Victoria Coach Station| Harlow

Previous routes

  • SM Coaches' first route was route T15, a peak hour Essex County Council contract between Potter Street and Templefields Industrial Area in Harlow which missed out Harlow town centre completely. The route eventually became a commercial operation with many route changes throughout the years, including extensions to Church Langley. It was renumbered the M15 in early 2006. Its last form was as a frequent service between Harlow Bus Station and Potter Street, with a M16 operating a peak hour service from Potter Street to Pinnacles industrial area. The M15 eventually became the SM19 in late 2009, as the SM19 followed the same route as the M15 between Potter Street and Harlow.
  • Another early route was the 504. This was an Essex County Council contracted route that ran every 2 hours on Sundays, between Bishops Stortford and Epping via Sawbridgeworth and Harlow. It began in 1989, only lasting a few more years.
  • A strange route operated was the G34, which was a Monday to Saturday evening service with one return journey between Harlow and Welwyn Garden City. It began on 26 October 1992, and lasted until about 2002.
  • Route SM20 began on 20 January 1999 as a school service with one return journey between Katherines & Sumners and St. Marks School. From 3 September 2001, it became an all day service, operating every 15 minutes on Mondays to Saturdays between Sumners & Katherines to Harlow Bus Station via Staple Tye and Passmores, with some Monday to Friday peak hour journeys extending to Pinnacles and Templefields. It was withdrawn in August 2002.
  • Route 600 was operated under Road Runner Coaches. It began on 21 February 2004 operating between Bishops Stortford and Lakeside shopping centre, via Sawbridgeworth, Harlow, and the M25 motorway. Two return journeys were operated on Saturdays only, and was of course aimed at shoppers. It lasted until 19 March 2007.
  • Route M9 was operated under Road Runner Coaches, and ran between Harlow Bus Station and Church Langley via Templefields and Old Harlow. It was the only route which served Templefields outside of the rush hour. Like the 600, it ceased operations on 19 March 2007.
  • After Buzz Co-operative ceased trading on 26 March 2003, SM Coaches took over the T6 route operating between Harlow Bus Station and The Stow. From 6 October 2003, the T6 was extend to Brays Grove, Potter Street and Church Langley Tesco. The route was withdrawn 4 March 2005.
  • The T10 began on 10 March 2003 and ended on 24 December 2005. It operated between Church Langley and Harlow Town Station via Harlow Bus Station, on a similar route to the Arriva route 10.
  • Routes M1/M31 (later 1/31) operated between Katherines & Sumners and Harlow town centre, were some of SM Coaches longest running routes. They were withdrawn on 30 October 2010, being absorbed into routes 19/20, which operate from Ongar and Epping to Harlow, being extended up to Katherines and Sumners on 1 November 2010.
  • Route 5 was a very short lived route, operating along a previously unserved corridor of Edinburgh Way, between Harlow and Old Harlow in a similar fashion to old Roadrunner route M9. The 5 was introduced in Summer 2010 and withdrawn in October 2010.
  • Routes 9/16 were peak hour services between Harlow Bus Station, Harlow Town railway station and the Pinnacles and Templefields industrial estates. The lasted as long as route 5, from Summer 2010 to October 2010.
  • Route M2 was another short-lived route, operating between 16 August 2010 and 8 January 2011. It operated a short route between Harlow Town Centre and Staple Tye, partly in competition with Arriva routes 2/3.
  • Route M4 began on 12 April 2010 in direct competition with Arriva route 4, between Harlow Town Centre and Latton Bush. It lasted until 8 January 2011.
  • SM Coaches did operate a return peak-hour journey on Roadrunner's 392 (but only operating between Harlow and Broxbourne, instead of the full journey to Hoddesdon), as SM operate Hertfordshire CC route 323 which is in Broxbourne, so instead of having empty garage runs, SM decided to get rid of dead mileage by using the bus for an extra journey on the 392. This lasted from 16 August 2010 until 8 January 2011.
  • Route R3 was an ambitious route started on 16 August 2010, operating in competition with Centrebus route C3 between Harlow and Waltham Cross via Hoddesdon and Broxbourne. At first, it did well against Centrebus with a faster route and cheaper fares, but following more competition from Centrebus, the route was withdrawn from 31 January 2011.
  • Roadrunner registered a route 351 from 13 December 2010, in competition with Hertfordshire County Council contract route 351, operated by Centrebus, between Bishops Stortford and Hertford. It seems Roadrunner pulled out of this idea quickly, and deregistered the route from 24 January 2011.

There are also many other school services which have been operated by SM Coaches and Olympian Coaches.



Roadrunner's East Lancs Mylennium RX53LFH shown at North Weald Bus Rally 2010


See also


External links

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