GREATER Anglia is adding additional services at peak times in south Essex following a backlash over its new timetable.

The operator has reduced services across the East of England in response to the Government’s work from home advice, which has led to a drop in passengers.

But the changes have been heavily criticised since schools reopened after the Christmas break, with students in Billericay and Southend facing long waiting times to get a train.

Parents have also raised concerns about packed trains where passengers are unable to social distance.

Greater Anglia says it will now be adding three more peak services on the Southend Victoria line.

This includes:

• 6.30am service from Southend Victoria to Liverpool Street

• 4.10pm service from Southend Victoria to Liverpool Street

• 5.32pm service from Liverpool Street to Southend Victoria

Another change will see the 6.05am service from Southminster to Liverpool Street will now stop at Billericay, Shenfield and Stratford.

Greater Anglia says it has reduced services because passenger levels are down nearly 50 per cent on pre-pandemic levels.

That figure drops to 30 per cent at peak times.

Jamie Burles, Greater Anglia Managing Director, said: “We’re very sorry for any inconvenience caused to customers by the new temporary timetable.

“We’ve listened to feedback and we’re making changes to make journeys better for school children and commuters alike.

“We’ll continue to monitor passenger numbers, listen to our customers and make adjustments if necessary, by either increasing the length of trains or adding extra services.”

He added: “Our railway has changed as a result of the pandemic.

"We’re seeing fewer commuters and business travellers due to people working from home when they can, and we’re now funded entirely by the Government – and ultimately taxpayers.

“We have a duty to our customers and to taxpayers. We want to provide a reliable and punctual service for our customers, which is also good value to taxpayers.

“We are determined to continue running a reliable and punctual service for all our customers, as we have done throughout the pandemic.”