A NINE year battle to get a bus service extended to stop at a hospital has finally been won.

Members of the Brentwood Bus and Rail Users Association are celebrating after the 498 service which runs between Brentwood and Romford will be extended to Queens Hospital.

Since 2004 the group has been asking for operators First Bus to add the stop due to the amount of passengers who wanted a direct route to Queens.

After several refusals, the bus company has confirmed from April 27 the route will travelling directly to the hospital, much to the delight of the association’s secretary David Kendall.

Mr Kendall said: “One of the reasons the Association was first formed all those years ago was to fight for a direct 498 bus service into the grounds of Queens Hospital because we knew how important it was to so many Brentwood bus users.

“Over the years we thought we were close to getting a breakthrough but our hopes were always dashed.”

Before the extension, passengers wanting to travel further than Romford town centre had to either catch another bus or walk.

In 2011 local bus firm Brentwood Community Transport started up a service from Blackmore to the hospital going through Brentwood to help cater for travellers.

Mr Kendall thanked all the supporters who have campaigned for the extra stops to be added, paying particular attention to former group chairman Wendy Way, who stepped down from the post last year.

He said: “Wendy and I attended many meetings and wrote a lot of letters asking for the change to happen and I know she will be over the moon to hear this news.

“I would also like to thank all the members of our association for their support and Brentwood Community Transport for proving to First and others that a direct service into the grounds of Queens Hospital always was a commercially viable proposition.”