The majority of people say they disapprove of changes to the bus timetable being proposed by Essex County Council.

Some Sunday bus services operating across Essex could be reduced, while two evening services could be withdrawn altogether.

The consultation, which is being reviewed, includes those services relating to journeys after 10pm Monday to Friday and from 11pm on Saturdays, as the council looks to reshape the local bus network.

However 56 per cent of respondents disagreed this should happen, citing a lack of alternatives.

The consultation is set to include dropping the frequency of buses on Sundays to a two-hourly service between 8am and 7pm.

Those Sunday services that could be affected include the 351 between Chelmsford and Brentwood and the 71C between Chelmsford and Colchester.

On the potential of reducing Sunday services, 59 per cent did not agree.

Cllr David Kendall said there were concerns that this could be a forerunner to services being axed altogether.

He said: “The general conversation coming through from people are on Sunday services. If you make them two hours and if there is a cancellation, you are waiting four hours potentially for a bus.

“A lot of people use Sunday services for social reasons. This is their way of meeting other people. There is a real concern about that.”

However Helen Morris, head of passenger transport at the council, said: “This is about people trying to save as much of the network as possible, in very difficult financial circumstances.

“An awful lot of the feedback we got on individual services was about services that are not under threat at all.”

In addition the consultation, between December and February 2019, will also explore the proposals to withdraw two evening services – the number 21 between Bocking and Black Notley and the 418B between Harlow and Loughton – as they currently cost more than £5 per passenger journey.

All 59 evening and Sunday bus services currently provided under contract to Essex County Council are being reviewed as the council looks to re-shape the local bus network and how more can be devolved to communities and their representatives.

Across Essex there are around 41 million passenger journeys annually, of which 2.8 million are on the supported network.

Of those, 500,000 passenger journeys take place on evenings and 300,000 on Sundays.

In Essex around 85 per cent of the network, by passenger miles travelled, is provided commercially. On these services, commercial operators set their own bus routes, set their own fares, and run their services as their commercial interests require.

The remaining 15 per cent of the bus network is supported by the council and these routes carry 2.8 million passenger journeys a year.

Any changes to each service will be made by cabinet next month.