MORE than 100 angry passengers turned out in force to a meeting with a bus company to voice their opposition at proposed service cuts.

People living in Hawkwell and Hockley feel they will be most affected by changes to routes 7 and 8 planned to come in next February.

Operator Arriva has said because of low customer numbers on the two routes between Rayleigh and Southend, it is not commercially viable to keep all six buses an hour and so it is planning to cut off-peak journeys.

Proposals being put forward mean there would be just two buses an hour – one Number 8 through Hawkwell and one Number 7 through Ashingdon each hour.

It was standing room only at the packed meeting of Hockley Residents’ Association, at Kilnfield House in Station Approach, on Tuesday night.

Passengers, particularly the elderly, are worried about the frequency of services to and from Southend Hospital and overcrowding.

Brian Guyett, residents’ association chairman , said: “The number of people attending on a very cold night demonstrated the strength of feeling on this issue.

“Nothing was resolved, but Arriva did listen to our views and said it will take them on board.

“The biggest issue coming out of the meeting was that the bus from Southend hospital to Hockley is already overcrowded.

“If it’s reduced to one an hour people just won’t get on it.

“People are upset about this.”

Malcolm Spalding, commercial manager for Arriva Southern Counties, said: “It was a very useful meeting with residents and I was pleased to explain our proposals more fully and to hear their concerns.

“We are considering the comments made and while the reasons behind the need for the alterations are unchanged we are looking very closely to see if we can make some adjustments.”