A NEW £3million fleet of 16 buses will be launched on the route linking Hyndburn and Rossendale to Greater Manchester next month.

The single-deckers will be used on the Rosso 464 service between Accrington, Haslingden, Rawtenstall, Bacup and Rochdale.

Made by Optare in Yorkshire, the buses an an updated and upgraded version of the 30 vehicles introduced in July last year on Transdev's four mainline services linking Burnley and Pendle’s main towns and reaching out to Clitheroe and Accrington.

Hyndburn Council leader Cllr Miles Parkinson said: "This is great news for travellers."

The new buses are part of a multi-million investment in Rosso promised by Transdev bosses when they took over the company in January.

The brand new, high-spec buses for the 464 route are equipped with customer-friendly features, including fast Wi-Fi, USB power points and wireless charging for mobile devices.

Steve Ottley, General Manager of Rosso, said: "We’re really looking forward to the new 464 buses arriving. They will offer a real improvement to our customers' experience.

"The buses will be fitted with free Wifi, USB power points at every seat and have ‘next stop’ announcements on board."

The new vehicles follow the deployment of refurbished buses on The Tottington Line, route 469, between Tottington and Bury and on The Lakeline, 456/458, between Rochdale and Littleborough

Mr Ottley also announced that Rosso has started a search to find a friendly local to become the voice of the 464 route.

He said: “No-one knows better than our own loyal and local customers what makes an amazing journey, after all they travel with us every day.

“That’s why we’re looking for someone from the area we’re proud to serve, with a warm, clear and friendly voice to provide simple on-board announcements on our new buses.The winner will quickly become one of the most familiar voices in Rossendale, Bury and Rochdale.”

Contestants are asked to upload a 30 second video of themselves explaining why they should be the voice of the new buses to YouTube, or post it on Rosso’s Facebook page or on Twitter using the hashtag #Voiceofthe464 and email the link to the video to voiceofthe464@transdevplc.co.uk by August 19.