PASSENGERS are struggling to get their heads around a new bus stop system, just one day after it was introduced.

Essex County Council introduced an overhaul of Colchester’s bus system on Sunday, in a bid to reduce bus traffic and air pollution.

The number of buses using individual stops has grown due to increased frequency and new routes.

As a result, all stops within Osborne Street, Stanwell Street, St John’s Street, Head Street, High Street and Queen Street were reviewed.

One of the main changes is the number of times buses will stop in the High Street, to reduce traffic outside the George Hotel.

Instead of putting bus service numbers on the bus stop flags, a so-called common route corridor has been added to help passengers identify where the buses will be going.

With the changes being in place for a day, residents are finding it hard to understand where their bus is headed.

Peter Kay, of the Colchester Bus Users’ Support Group, said: “Despite having had it pointed out to them twice that they needed to put up a simple notice at each stop stating where the routes formerly picking up there had now moved to, ECC refused to do any such thing.

“There was no digestible information at stops for the large percentage of people who had not already got copies of the information leaflet.

“Also of course no-one had the courtesy to appear in the town centre.”

He said on the same day Queen Street was closed for emergency roadworks.

He added: “Thanks to this, some buses were not able to stop in town at all. Of course, no notices were put up at the affected stops to tell people this.

“A total of 64 Greenstead passengers, even those who dutifully got to the new stops, were waiting an hour or more with no means of knowing that no bus was ever going to come.

“Welcome to idiot-town.”

Gordon Rogers, 79, tried to get the bus from the town centre to Wivenhoe yesterday morning, but it drove straight past him.

He said: “I’m so disgusted with how this has gone. I tried to catch the number 62 outside Atik but it drove straight past and stopped outside Mann’s Music Shop. I had to quickly hobble down the road, it’s causing chaos.”

Essex County Council said a poster to say where the routes formerly picking up at a stop had moved to was considered, but thought it would be more confusing. A spokesman said: “We did have someone from the council out on Sunday who confirmed there is information at every stop. Each stop has both the new timetable data and a ‘where to catch my bus’ poster with map.”

They added: “Queen Street was unfortunately closed by Anglian Water responding to a water leak. Utilities have the legal right to close roads for emergency repair without notifying in advance.”