RESIDENTS fear they will be left stranded and unable to access vital GP appointments after a bus service is axed.

Transport company First has decided to scrap the 66A bus service which serves Old Heath in Colchester at the end of August because too few people use it.

But Lee Scordis (Lab) who represents the area on Colchester Council and Essex County Council said he has not been consulted on the planned changes and feels it would be a huge loss to residents.

He said: "I have not been consulted or informed of this and not a single resident was consulted about this.

"Essex County Council has paid a lot of money for new bus stop shelters on this route and the bus companies don't show any gratitude at all.

"It is absolutely disgraceful."

Mr Scordis added: "This is clearly about money and this is one of the problems with having private companies run our public transport - profit comes before people.

"Colchester faces a massive congestion issue and cutting a bus service will only make more people use their cars and add to the congestion.

"In my opinion it also discriminates against elderly people and disabled people who rely on local bus services.

"Barn Hall Avenue especially has a higher proportion of elderly and disabled residents.

"My fear is it will lead to severe isolation for some people.

"This service covers three large housing estates and offers a direct route to town so there can be no complaint about a shortage of potential customers."

Abbie Chambers, of Roosevelt Way, said she would be reliant on favours from friends to get around.

She said: "As someone who is disabled I rely on this service and whenever I use the 66A service it always seems busy.

"It's the only service that comes near my area and also drops me near the local GP surgery.

"Without this service I am going to be reliant on lifts from friends or taxis."

Operations manager for First Colchester Steve Hartman said: "As people from the area will be aware, due to a very low number of people using the service around the estate we reduced the frequency some time ago to every hour.

“The situation has not improved and even less people are now using the service along Barn Hall Avenue, Roosevelt Way and Mountbatten Drive, so it makes sense to reallocate the resource into our 66 service timetable, which will improve the frequency from every 30 mins to every 20 mins and provide a better service for the majority of people using the bus along Old Heath Road.

“We realise this decision will inconvenience the few people that were using the service, but I’m sure people can appreciate, we need to run buses where they are getting used.

"Essex County Council has been made aware of our decision to revise the route”.