BUS shelters have been switched from back to front to try to stop passengers falling into the road.

But the changes have upset some people who say they can’t see when the bus is coming because their views are blocked.

Graeme Newman, from Southend Council, said 207 of the borough’s 210 bus shelters have now been changed so they face away from the road.

The council said the change was made for safety reasons and dates back to an incident in the Nineties when a young child died after leaving a bus and falling back into the road at the Elms bus stop in Leigh.

Mr Newman said: “This is being implemented for safety reasons so in the event a passenger stumbles or falls when leaving their seat in the shelter they fall away from the road rather than into it.”

“Some people sitting in the shelters may have their view of approaching buses slightly obscured by the information posts next to them.

“These posts are necessary because they are used to display timetable information and host the React system to give information for blind passengers.

“However, the people seated in the shelters only have to lean forward slightly to be able to see approaching buses as the posts are only 30cm wide.”

Bus pass holders Les and Jean Thorington, of Hadleigh Road, Leigh, were frustrated with the turnaround.

Mr Thorington, 76, said: “We use the bus quite often from outside Leigh Church. This shelter was only put in last week, and it seems the wrong way round.

“You just can’t see when a bus is coming. You’ve got to get up to see as the glass panel is the wrong side, and we’re facing away from the road as well.

The Southend Area Bus User Group has also received scores of complaints about the problem.

Chairman Donald Fraser said: “They’d be all right for Sweden which drives on the other side, but not here. The old shelters were clear both ends, but people have made complaints if they’re sat down they have to be careful not to miss their bus because they just can’t see.

“We’ve waited weeks for them and now this.”

The latest problem follows a blunder outside St Thomas More High School, in Kenilworth Gardens, Westcliff, when a new bus shelter was put up directly behind some old metal railings. This meant passengers had to leave the shelter at the back and walk around the front to board the bus. This has been rectified.