REVISED bus services have been launched by council bosses who stepped in when a bus operator announced plans to scrap the routes.

Essex County Council decided to partly fund the 91, 92 and 95 services after Hedingham Omnibus decided they were not financially viable.

The initial move, which also saw Tollesbury’s bus depot shut, led to alarm from people in surrounding villages who said the services were lifelines to reach Maldon, Witham and Colchester. A campaign was launched by residents and Witham MP Priti Patel, whose constituency includes Tollesbury and Tiptree.

The official new timetable for routes 91, 92 and 95 sees each service having seven buses leaving and arriving in Tollesbury on weekdays.

Previously, a typical weekday offered at least 10 services each.

The more limited Saturday services were previously under contract from County Hall and have not changed.

While the service has been reduced, residents of Goldhanger and Tollesbury have praised County Hall.

Carol Piersy, of Goldhanger WI, said: “We’ve seen it all and have been using it, and it seems to be working fine at the moment.

“It may be reduced, but it means we get to spend more time in the shops when we visit Maldon or Colchester.

“Many people that I have spoken to seem to be finding the service adequate, and I hope it stays that way.”

Tollesbury resident Jasmine Place, 60, said: “It was such a relief to hear the buses got saved, so many of us were in a panic for ages.

“While they may be less frequent, as long as we have a regular bus service coming out to us, we’re not that fussy.”

Ms Patel said: “Residents in villages and rural areas need access to good quality bus services to access facilities, services and jobs.

“The loss of bus services has caused gceat anxiety to residents and I would expect that the council and Hedingham listens carefully to the response from residents to the new timetable and make changes to ensure that these bus services are adequate and satisfy local needs.”