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STUDENTS will be cut off from after-school activities and commuters could be forced to pay £300 a month for a taxi home if a bus route is slashed.

Campaigners are ramping up the campaign to stop the 250 bus route, which runs once-an-hour from 7.30pm between Waltham Cross, Loughton and Debden, from being scrapped.

It means that those who work in London but get home late would have no other option than to shell out for a taxi home each day – a feat which would likely end up costing £15 at a time.

This week, people were out garnering support and hearing impassioned pleas as to why the bus is so important in the area.

Green Party campaigner Dave Plummer said: “I heard personal stories from people who will be cut off from all sorts of things, and have to start paying for taxis.

“They rely on these services for education, employment, business and socializing and this makes a powerful argument for retaining and improving the services.

“I still can’t get my head around it. It seems ridiculous.”

Around 300 people have signed an online petition while an extra 200 have signed the paper copy.

The decision to cut the route has been made by Essex County Council, over claims the service costs £15 per person to run.

A consultation on the closures ended on July 3 and Mr Plummer’s next step is to call a meeting with the authority’s leader, David Finch, to discuss the petition.

Essex County Council leader, Cllr David Finch, said: “We provide financial support for a number of bus services. It is our responsibility to ensure that they provide a reliable service to as many residents and communities as possible, while also delivering value for money to the taxpayer.

“During this latest redesign we found that the future cost of supporting some less well used bus services would have needed taxpayers to contribute more than the price of a flight to Lanzarote each time somebody used the bus. That is clearly not sustainable.

“We have listened to nearly 5,000 residents whose views have helped redesign the bus network to provide a more reliable for bus users and deliver better value for money for taxpayers across Essex.

“I can assure residents no bus service is ever withdrawn without us exploring all other alternatives.”

Neighbours have already seen the 167 bus route cut, which had run through Debden until parts of the route were scrapped when the council withdrew £580,000 in subsidies.

If proposals go ahead, the reduced service will come into effect in September 2017.

To take part in the consultation, visit surveys.essexinsight.org.uk/busconsultation2017 https://www.change.org/p/cllr-david-malcolm-finch-leader-of-essex-county-council-save-the-250-and-251-bus-routes