A LONG-STANDING bus ticket has been scrapped, leaving angry passengers out of pocket.

The day rover ticket, which allows travel on all buses in Southend, has been axed by the town's two bus operators.

Passengers will now have to buy two separate tickets if they want to use both First and Arriva services, or let buses go past while they wait for the right bus to come along.

Their only other option is to buy an octopus ticket, which covers both services but costs more because it serves a bigger area and more bus companies.

Bus user Elisabeth Wheatley, 18, who lives in Little Wakering Road, Wakering, said: "I used to get a rover which cost me £2.70. I could use that for travel in Southend, Benfleet, and Canvey, however many times I wanted on one day, on both Arriva and First.

"Now they have brought out this octopus ticket, which is similar but costs £3.60. I buy an Arriva ticket, because that covers where I live. But it means if I want to get a bus from Southend to see my friends, I can only get on an Arriva bus."

Miss Wheatley, who works for a financial servies company in London, says the scrapping of the ticket has also forced her to get taxis from her home to Southend East train station.

She said: "There's only one bus an hour in the morning from where I live. Then, when I got back the other night, there wasn't a bus for 50 minutes. I could either wait or get a taxi. But I think if I've paid for a bus pass, I need to use it."

Jagdish Kaur, spokeswoman for First, said: "There is no change to the price of the existing range of First day, weekly, monthly, three-monthly and annual tickets.

"But tickets purchased to start on, or after June 15, will no longer be available for travel on other companies' commercial services."

Tickets issued prior to June 15 can still be used on all bus services until their expiry date.