A BUS company which missed stops and left passengers in the cold is to be hauled before a public inquiry to explain its actions.

When Imperial Bus Company Ltd announced it was ending the H1 service between Loughton and Harlow late last year many users noticed a decline in standards with many scheduled stops simply not taking place.

The Transport Commissioner has now instigated a public inquiry where the company faces charges of failing to correctly operate a designated service.

Simon Webb's daughter Simone, 16, of Newmans Lane, Loughton, was frequently left stranded last year when she needed to catch the H1 to Harlow College.

Welcoming the latest news, Mr Webb said: “I'm very pleased. It's high time Imperial Bus were taken to task for their service. They treated the public shamefully and a lot of people were left very upset. Students and elderly people were left in the cold when they just didn't turn up.”

Loughton county councillor Chris Pond said he had received many complaints from people about the H1 service and the fact it was now to face a Government enquiry was no surprise.

He said: “I had numerous complaints about the H1 when it was running in terms of punctuality and them not running at all. The situation of the H1 and 55 is a complete mess.”

A spokeswoman for the Transport Commissioner said: “The company have been called to a public inquiry on April 9 at Eastbourne and the case has been called to consider regulatory action in view of a monitoring exercise which was carried out by a bus compliance officer in December 2009 which found alleged punctuality irregularities and a failure to operate journeys in accordance with the registered details.

“Section 155 of the Transport Act 2000 enables the Traffic Commissioner to consider imposing a penalty of £550 multiplied by the number of vehicles authorised under the licence.”

Imperial Bus Company Ltd declined to comment.

-The 55 bus service operated by TWH which replaced the H1 service will itself cease on April 2 to be replaced by a 555 service from Loughton to Harlow via Waltham Abbey