A petition has been launched in an attempt to save a bus service described as vital to students and the elderly.

In March, bus operator Arriva announced that the 505 route running between Chingford and Harlow through Waltham Abbey would stop operating on May 9, drawing criticism from members of the public.

The route, which runs hourly and is used regularly by Harlow College students and the elderly.

The online petition to Essex County Council last week had 310 signatures, with a target of 400.

The petition states: “Essex County Council needs to find an alternative company to run the route, with subsidies if necessary, or set up a not-for-profit operator to take it over.”

Dave Plummer, Green Party council candidate for Waltham Abbey South West, set up the petition.  

He said: “The busses in Epping Forest are a mess, and to see a bus service being terminated, it is exactly the opposite of what needs to be done.”