CAMPAIGNERS for better public transport in Colchester feel changes to bus stops are unfair.

An overhaul of Colchester’s bus system is taking place in a bid to reduce bus traffic and air pollution and Essex County Council has announced changes will be made from Sunday.

The number of buses using individual stops has grown due to increased frequency and new routes, and the county council feels it is reducing the attractiveness, reliability and economic viability of the service.

But campaigners such as Peter Kay, of the Colchester Bus Users’ Support Group, feel the changes will not get the town moving.

He said: “These changes have been devised without any indepth knowledge of the streets in the town centre, or any perception of bus routes from the passengers’ viewpoint.

“No-one who relies on buses in Colchester as their means of transport was permitted to be involved.

“C-Bus did send in a written submission but every single point made was ignored.

“When the details were finally shown to selected outside parties in early September, and Essex County Council received reactions to the most passengerhostile elements, they refused to postpone the start date for further consideration, although there was no reason why it could not be postponed.”

A partnership of bus operators, Essex County Council and Colchester Council have worked together on the changes.

The aim is to reduce buses queueing for, or using, stops and the risk of passengers trying to board the bus from the road instead of the stop. Mr Kay added: “Bus congestion certainly exists, caused mainly by Colchester Council closing the real bus station, the inadequacy of its successor, and the bus companies’ habit of letting buses wait at stops for longer than necessary.

“Rather than correct these follies, it is now proposed to take it out on selected groups of passengers instead, not least on those with walking difficulties.”

The county council said the changes will reduce congestion and improve safety, service reliability, air quality and passenger experience in the town centre.

Essex county councillor Ray Gooding said: “Bus services are integral to our county’s transport network and provide a vital lifeline for many people.

“These changes will ensure bus services in Colchester are an attractive choice when travelling.”