CALLS have been made to reinstate a bus route which was stopped almost a decade ago.

Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Collins, 59, from Eastwood said the town’s older people are unable to travel to Southend and further afield due to the lack of bus services and wants to see this improved.

The 23A bus which ran from Eastwood and Leigh was stopped almost a decade ago but now Mr Collins said there’s strong demand for the service again.

He said: “This is something I have been working on for some time.

“The service was run by Southend Council but was stopped when the council bus services were taken over by other providers.

“I have been speaking with different companies and working out the feeling of the community.

“I’ve been holding an online survey and so far have about 140 responses in a week and mostly people are for the service.

“There are a lot of older people in Eastwood who do not drive and cannot get about for either volunteering roles, or days out or even social occasions.”

He said he also thinks it could help to relieve traffic issues in the town.

Mr Collins said he doesn’t understand why bus routes such as this one were stopped.

He said he feels it has a big impact on people who do not drive and he is urging companies to come forward and help.

Residents also said they want a service back that runs from Eastwood to Leigh and further.

Liz Potter, 71, from Eastwood said she’s backing Mr Collins’ work around the bus route.

She agrees it’s had a negative impact on the community.

She said: “I want to work in charity shops part time but do not drive.

“If a service like this was reinstated I could work in a shop for a few hours a week.

“I think we also must remember it is also an issue of helping older people get about which affects loneliness too.

“I’ve been speaking to other people in the community and there is definitely a demand and strong feeling for this.”

Southend is served by a mix of companies which run buses for profit with some essential services also provided by the council which can be subsidised depending on the need for them from the community.