A national shortage of drivers has been blamed for delays on some Epping bus services.

Essex County Council has confirmed that Central Connect, which is also known as Galleon Travel, has been experiencing service issues within recent months due to the shortage.

One resident, Danielle Fox, says that she has been frustrated after noticing 418 bus service, which runs every two hours from Loughton to St Margaret’s Hospital, has “stopped running” since September.

According to her, the 418 is a “lifeline” for those without cars and anyone requiring medical attention at the hospital.

She claims: “Bus passengers here in Theydon Bois have missed outpatient appointments and an elderly gentleman was stranded in Epping having to consider a taxi to Abridge which he could ill afford.

“I have many more instances that I can relate of the stress and havoc the sudden disappearance of the bus service has caused.”

Ms Fox says she tried to contact the county council and Central Connect but has yet to hear a response as to why people are unable to use the bus service.

The county council explained that “certain roadworks” have also contributed to further service delays and issues over the past few months on some bus services, but a spokesperson said: “We are not aware that the 418 service is affected by these issues.”

The schedule for the 418 has also remained unchanged online, with a bus timetable showing that it is continuing to operate at two-hour intervals – although it does not flag up if there are any significant delays.

Essex County Council added: “We are working very closely with the operator to resolve these issues proactively.”

Central Connect has been contacted for further information.