“PANICKED” school children are being left stranded at the side of the road as buses have become too overcrowded to stop because a designated service was cancelled.

A week before students returned to Sweyne Park in Rayleigh from their summer holidays, a designated bus service from Hullbridge to the school was cancelled by First Buses.

The move has left parents furious, with their children left without a route to school, despite paying weekly bus passes.


The number 20 service at 8am and at 8.15am, either side of the usual school bus service, are either too full to stop at the corner of Ferry and Lower Road in Hullbridge, or fail to turn up at all, parents claim.

Mel James, 52, from Hullbridge, has been forced to take her son to school every day this week.

She said: “Why did they cancel the service now? Just as the kids come back to school.

“There’s at least ten students a day who are being left at the bus stop because the buses aren’t stopping.

“It’s pretty annoying, and I won’t be able to take him when I get a new contract for work.”

“He’s getting more and more stressed because of the buses, he’s in his GCSE year and he doesn’t need this at all.”

Parents have taken to social media to slam First Buses, who have been inundated with complaints.

Several have urged the bus company to put on double decker buses to cope with demand.

Michael Hoy, councillor of the Rochford West ward, has written to First. He added: “My daughter couldn’t get on the bus as it didn’t stop. In the evening it appears to be even worse.”

“Every day pupils are waiting at the bus stop and cannot get on buses.”

A spokesman from First, said: “The 820 route was cancelled due to lack of demand.

“The numbers had dropped on the 820 and there was sufficient capacity on the number 20, which runs every 15 minutes and stops nearby.

“The busiest journeys from Hullbridge on the 20 in the morning and to Hullbridge in the afternoon are scheduled to be operated by double deck buses to ensured there is sufficient capacity. While busy, numbers recorded were less than the maximum overall capacity of the double deck buses.

“There was an incident on Tuesday whereby a single deck ran, due to the double deck being unavailable.

“Steps have been taken to make sure this doesn’t happen again. “There have also been issues with very heavy traffic on certain days which is often the case in early September.”