A BUS company is extending late-night bus service from Southend to Great Wakering as part of a series of timetable upgrades.

From March 31, Arriva's number 7 buses from Southend will continue beyond Shoeburyness to serve Great Wakering and Little Wakering Corner, every day from Monday to Saturday.

Great Wakering Parish Council and the Rochford Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership are subsidising the service, which will allow travellers to leave Southend bus station as late as 11.28pm and still get back to the villages after an evening out.

Arriva's marketing manager Richard Lewis said: "We are delighted to have been able to work in partnership with the parish council and the crime reduction partnership to give a later service to the Great Wakering area.

"The idea was put to us by the council. We now hope those who can benefit from this initiative will use the service to make the investment worthwhile."

The number 5 service is also being extended - will soon run beyond Basildon, to provide a direct link between Southend, Basildon, Chadwell St Mary, Grays and Lakeside Shopping Centre.

Buses will run half-hourly between Southend and Basildon, with one bus an hour continuing to go via Basildon Hospital to Lakeside. The number 13 service between central Southend and Temple Sutton will also be running more frequently from the end of the month.

The firm is also promising more easy-access buses on services in Southend, making them more user-friendly for parents with buggies, shoppers with trolleys and anyone who has difficulty getting on and off buses.

For more details, call 0844 8004411, go to the Arriva travel shop in Southend bus station, or once the new timetable is in force, click the link below.