Arriva has responded to criticism of the “disrespectful” way upcoming bus network changes are being introduced.

From November 19, around 15 changes to Hertfordshire’s buses will be put in place with at least 10 of them set to impact Watford. But the announcement sparked confusion as locals asked why they were not made aware particular changes were on the cards before they were confirmed.

Arriva has maintained that it carried out research and consultation before any changes were made, and has further clarified how services will operate since the changes were first confirmed. However, in a column published in last week’s Watford Observer, Watford MP Dean Russell revealed he was among those who did not know about the changes until they were published.

Mr Russell said: “Given I had been vocal on this and raised concerns directly with Arriva, I was appalled that like many residents across Watford, I only learnt of the significant changes to the Arriva services via the press.

“In my view it was very disrespectful to local residents who were not consulted, and shows sadly they were not listening."

Watford Observer readers agreed that they had struggled to get information on the new timetables to make plans, with one saying “we deserve better than this”.

Another, Karen Roft, said “I really don’t understand what the company are doing”.

"I don't think older and vulnerable members of the community have been consulted at all," she said, explaining that she has older relatives in the Garston and Abbots Langley area who are concerned they may struggle to visit each other.

A spokesperson from Arriva South said: "Before making the network changes in Watford, Arriva conducted a wide range of research, including passenger and running time data. We also asked passengers for their feedback.

Watford Observer: Dean Russell MP with a bus passing in the background.Dean Russell MP with a bus passing in the background.

"We received numerous responses as part of that consultation and they formed part of our decision-making process.

"The changes that Arriva has made in Watford has improved many parts of the network and they centre on making our services more reliable – the main thing our customers told us they wanted to us to improve."

They highlighted improvements that are part of the shake-up, including new links to Rickmansworth and between Watford and Hemel Hempstead.

"We’re always open to listening to what our customers want and need from our services," Arriva's spokesperson added.