Calls have been made for Essex County Council to spend the £100,000 earmarked for improving a busy bus service from Southend to Rayleigh.

Hawkwell, Hockley and Ashingdon residents have bombarded the Arriva buses social media pages with complaints after months of frustration about their number 8 bus.

They claim that the buses are often so full that drivers just pass some bus stops without stopping.

Rochford councillor John Mason is urging Essex County Council to use the £100,000 provided by Barratt Developments in 2013 to improve the service.

He said: “The money was supposed to be used to fund the number eight bus service. I want to know what they’ve done with it.

“Section 106 is where the developer gives the council money to benefit the local residents. There are 60 affordable homes on the estate.

“The council negotiated the payment from Barrett’s to support the number eight Arriva bus service and it hasn’t been spent.

“Arriva have reduced their service and residents are complaining, and quite rightly so. Where has the money gone?”

Councillor Mason pushed for the council to return the money “if they have no plans to spend it”, which he described as “equally disgraceful”.

Essex county council confirmed that they are aware of the money, which has not been spent and remains available through the section 106 agreement.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “We are working with Arriva, which runs the number 8 as a commercial service, on how best to use this money sensibly and sustainably.

“Section 106 contributions are strictly controlled, but we are working as quickly as possible to access these funds to mitigate recent changes to the service and benefit bus users in the local area.”

Sophie Kirkham, 22, of St Clare Meadow, Rochford, said the buses are “an absolute nightmare”.

She said: “Usually the buses are running late or they will say they’re at my bus stop on the Arriva app and then they don’t turn up.

“It’s time something was done about it.

“More services need to be in place – it’s a joke.”

A spokesman for Arriva said: “We have been making every effort to improve punctuality and reduce overcrowding on schools services across South Essex, and continue to do so.”