Community figures are demanding assurances over the future of a ‘lifeline’ bus service following the sudden axing of other routes in Southend.

Councillors in Beflairs fear Arriva’s Number 29 service could be under threat after another operator, First Essex, made cuts to some of its services in the city and across south Essex.

The number 29 Arriva bus route is key for Belfairs as it provides a direct link to Southend city centre.

First Essex made several changes to its timetable and reduced some of its services including the Number 21, which served parts of Belfairs. The firm was slammed by critics for not offering a consultation on the proposed changes and pressing ahead with the cuts at short notice.

Councillors have now written at a letter to Arriva to seek assurances it has no such plans to axe services.

In particular, they’ve highlighted the 29 service due to the key links it has for residents in Belfairs.

While Arriva is yet to comment and has not given any indication of possible changes to services in the future, worried councillors are seeking assurances.

Jack Warren, Conservative councillor for Belfairs said: “We have had many complaints from residents about the recent changes to First Bus services, which were carried out with no consultation and at short notice.

“Whilst we appreciate these decisions are ultimately for the bus companies to make, they can have a massive impact on the residents we represent, particularly those without other modes of transport.

“The No.29 links Belfairs to the city centre, and we have sought assurances from Arriva over the future of this key route.

“We have asked to be consulted if any changes are planned.”

One part of the letter sent to Arriva stated: “The No.29 route is a lifeline to many of our residents in Belfairs, particularly for those who are elderly or unable to drive”.

The fears come after Southend Council was unable to secure £68 million of Government funding to improve local bus routes over the next five years.