CAMPAIGNING pensioners and local councillor Salim Sidat have ‘rescued’ bus services through Audley and Queens Park.

Blackburn with Darwen Council and M and M Coaches of Accrington have stepped in to bring back the routes axed by Transdev in September.

Audley ward’s coun Sidat was furious at the giant bus operator’s decision to axe the 17 and 18 routes claiming lack of passengers leaving local pensioners and young families in the lurch.

Residents Rita Smith, aged 79,and Joyce Binns, aged 75, backed him in taking the issue to the borough.

Now council officials have managed to negotiate a new set of services numbered 8 and 8A to serve the area with the aid of a small subsidy.

Coun Sidat said: “After lengthy discussion with bus operators, I am happy to announce that we have finally concluded negotiations with M and M coaches to run a bus service through Audley and Queens Park.

“Initially they registered a service up Audley and North Road, we have however asked now to include Hereford Road area too. It has been agreed this will operate for 12 months with a review to see how it is performing.

“The proposed date to start the bus service is Monday (Nov 26th).I have met loads of people who have struggled without a bus service.

“One elderly couple who are both ill with the husband having a heart condition were finding it very hard to move around Blackburn. Taxis were costing nearly £40 a week and they could not afford it. This inspired me on to get this service back on quickly as there are so many others in the same financial position.

“The people of Audley Queens Park and Intack need a bus service. I am delighted with this news.”

Council transport boss Dave Harling said: “We are delighted that M and M Coaches have agreed to operate this route. I would urge local people to make use of the new service. It will operate for 12 months and then we will look to see how many have used it. If it is successful, it could be extended beyond 12 months.”

M and M Coaches manager Bob Tufnell said: “We are delighted to bring back this service with the co-operation of the council after the large operator in the area pulled out. We would just appeal for people to use it.”