COMMUTERS have been handed a boost after plans to reintroduce a direct bus service between Ramsbottom and Manchester city centre were revealed.

From April 8, Rosso's x41 Red Express service from Blackburn to Manchester will be re-routed to take in Ramsbottom.

It will be good news for Ramsbottom bus users who have been without a direct service to the city centre since First terminated the x35 last year.

Without the service, those travelling from Ramsbottom have been forced to use a combination of bus services and Metrolink services to get into Manchester.

The Red Express service currently runs every 30 minutes from Blackburn bus station to Chorlton Street in Manchester.

It travels via Accrington, Haslingden and Helmshore before joining the M66 and heading towards the city centre via Prestwich.

From April, the route will be changed to take in Ramsbottom Lane, Bridge Street, and Manchester Road, before joining the M66 at junction 1.

The announcement comes after Bury North MP James Frith's recent meeting with Alex Hornby, the chief execute of Transdev, who recently completed the takeover over of Rosso from Rossendale Borough Council.

Mr Frith said: "I'm delighted that, following my meeting to ask for consideration of this, Rosso will be re-routing their existing Red Express service from Blackburn to Manchester via Ramsbottom from April, giving the folk of Rammy a fast, regular service into Manchester and up into Lancashire.

"I hope this is the first in a series of positive changes to improve public transport connectivity and services across Bury, Tottington and Ramsbottom."

The company, who were recently taken over by Transdev, are also looking into introducing extra services following First's announcement that they will be withdrawing the 468 service between Tottington, Bury and Fairfield Hospital in April.

Rosso currently run regular buses between Bury and Tottington on the 469 route and between Bury and the hospital on the 467/468.

Both routes run every ten minutes during the day.