A council has been accused of failing to carry out road improvements to protect a hospital bus route.

Campaign group Save Our Buses have accused Waltham Forest Council of failing to protect the W12 bus linking Wanstead, South Woodford and Walthamstow to Whipps Cross Hospital.

The group claims passengers across Redbridge and Waltham Forest are now waiting much longer at stops along the W12 route.

Following a timetable cut last December, bus frequencies fell from every 20 minutes to every 30 minutes.

Transport for London proposed adding an extra bus to the route to keep the W12 running every 20 minutes.

John Darnell, a spokesman for Save Our Buses, said: “Along with the extra traffic, the W12 route became less reliable. We were regularly seeing huge gaps in the service followed by buses running together.

“Often journeys were cut short of their destination leaving even fewer buses at the ends of the route. We were pleased when TfL came up with a plan to improve things.”

Roadworks were needed to accommodate the extra bus, which was a little longer than other buses in the W12 fleet.

Initial works were completed by Redbridge and Waltham Forest councils just over a year ago.

However, once work was completed, the extra bus failed to materialise.

Save Our Buses contacted to TfL to find out what had happened.

A TfL spokesman said: “Works were completed by April 2017, followed by a further route test in May 2017. However, this subsequent test showed that further works would be required on Vestry Road, Rensburg Road, Salop Road and Pembroke Road to allow longer buses to run.

“Waltham Forest Council has not committed to undertake any further works.”

In a statement, Save Our Buses claimed Waltham Forest Council’s failure to complete the necessary roadworks led directly to the W12 frequency cut.

Mr Darnell said: “Waltham Forest Council missed the bus on this occasion and passengers suffer. This is a failure of transport policy in a borough where thousands depend on the buses.

“Waltham Forest Council must get the necessary roadworks completed but TfL has to restore a decent frequency on this route. A bus every 15 minutes would be just the ticket.”

TfL’s Claire Mann, Director of Bus Operations, said: “We are constantly reviewing our bus network to ensure we provide the best possible service.

“We have changed the frequency of the W12 bus route between Walthamstow and Wanstead to meet passenger demand, which has fallen recently along this route. We understand the concerns raised locally and will continue to keep this under review.”

Deputy council leader Cllr Clyde Loakes, who is responsible for the environment, said: “It is simply not true to suggest that we have failed to make road improvements. We have been working closely with Transport for London to adapt our road network to accommodate longer buses on the W12 route and at their request undertook some initial work in April 2017 to make this possible.

“However towards the end of last year, as part of its review of services, TfL decided to reduce the route frequency due to a lack of passenger demand and cost savings.

“On behalf of our residents I personally wrote to TfL to express my disappointment at this reduction. We will continue to work with TfL on any future reviews of this route.”