A PETITION has been launched in a bid to save a bus service which is facing the axe in Rossendale.

Bus operator Transdev has decided to scrap the X44 bus service through Edenfield because transport bosses believe the service is ‘under-used’.

The daily service, with nine return journeys between Nelson and Manchester, will be scrapped by the end of the month.

It will be replaced with a new X8 service through Edenfield that will run just twice a day.

Services on another Nelson-Manchester bus route, the X43, will also be increased but this does not go through Edenfieid.

Bus user Richard Bishop, 39, of Market Street, Edenfield, has backed a petition which has gathered 150 signatures in just a week.

He said: “Just on the 6am service alone I count 12 people getting on the bus to Manchester.

“This service is not under-used. These changes will be really inconvenient for everyone.

“If we could see it was underused we would be able to understand.

"But Transdev are simply wanting to make the changes that suit them, not their service users.”

County Coun Darryl Smith said: “'I am appalled that Transdev intend to replace a much-used service with a very much-reduced one.

“There is simply no justification for this move.

“I am currently in discussions with the Director for Sustainable Transport at Lancashire County Council to see what can be done about this.”

Transdev previously tried to cancel the service in 2006 but, after a high-profile petition, it was saved at the last minute.

A spokesman for Transdev said: “Due to the low utilisation of this service, the decision has been taken to withdraw this route and increase the frequency of the X43 route to every 15 minutes.

"However, Edenfield will continue to have a frequent, accessible public transport network after these changes are implemented.”