CLACTON'S MP has put his driving skills to the test during a visit to bus company depot.

During Giles Watling's visit, Hedingham and Chambers shared its plans to implement an improved and more reliable bus service.

They discussed ongoing issues around driver shortages and provided an overview of how its plan will focus on delivering better frequency, punctuality, and easier connections for residents to access shops, work, and support services.

The planned improvements to the Clacton network will see route four journeys return every 15 minutes.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: At The Wheel - Clacton MP Giles Watling behind the wheel of a busAt The Wheel - Clacton MP Giles Watling behind the wheel of a bus (Image: Cliff Birks)

Residents will be given the opportunity to review and feedback on the plans ahead of their launch by participating in an online survey.

There will also be an opportunity to attend a face-to-face event in Clacton town centre, which is open to all.

Gavin Smith, managing director at Go East Anglia, which owns Hedingham and Chambers, said: “We were delighted to welcome Giles to our depot and share with him our plans to improve the bus services across Hedingham and Chambers.

“We are aware of the recent challenges felt across our services and are confident that these changes will result in an improved bus service that residents can rely on, which will also encourage day visitors to use it instead of bringing the car.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Skill Test - Clacton MP Giles Watling taking part in the reversing challengeSkill Test - Clacton MP Giles Watling taking part in the reversing challenge (Image: Cliff Birks)

Mr Watling asked about plans to attract more tourists onto the buses and listened to how the expansion of their Clacton Breeze Open Top service this summer will help to boost tourism.

The business also said it is supporting the Government’s Help for Household £2 Scheme, which allows passengers to travel by bus routes for just £2 on many single journeys until the end of March.

Mr Watling also stepped into the driver’s seat and took on the “reversing challenge” under the watchful eyes of their training instructor, successfully manoeuvring a double-decker bus across the yard and parking it in between two cones.

The route 4 improvements will begin on Sunday, April 16, whilst the open day in Clacton town centre is on Wednesday, March 15.

Residents can provide feedback on the planned improvements via the Hedingham and Chambers website from Monday.