AN MP is calling for "urgent action" over unreliable school bus services in Witham.

Witham MP Dame Priti Patel met with Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Roads and Local Transport Guy Opperman to discuss concerns about services provided by Hedingham Omnibuses.

It follows complaints by constituents over the operator's reliability, especially for school transport.

Dame Priti said: "Reliable school transport provision is essential pupils traveling to and from school and for their families who want peace of mind that their children are getting to school safely.

"We need urgent action to improve these vital local buses because this is having an impact upon the education of local pupils.

"The Minister will work with me to address the financial viability of local bus services as these services are losing money and he will press the issue of home to school transport with Essex County Council."

Dame Priti has previously been in contact with Essex County Council, and recently wrote to County Hall education boss Tony Ball to highlight the need for new investment to improve school transport.

During the meeting, Dame Priti urged Mr Opperman to consider supporting bus services throughout Essex to provide a reliable service.

In August 2023, she met with Gavin Smith, managing director of Go East Anglia, to address complaints about Hedingham's school bus services.

Parents had raised concerns about the 95A and 92 bus services, particularly the unsuitable schedule for students and the sharp increase in the cost of a school bus pass.

The scheduled times did not align with school hours, and the school bus pass had increased by over £200 from September.

Following the meeting, Dame Priti said: “I urge the managing director Gavin Smith and Essex County Council to urgently resolve the issue the timetable poses for students before September and I look forward to engaging further with both Mr Smith and the council on this important issue.”