A BUS operator has announced that two of its services will be axed, citing losses of £300,000.

The Rosso Red Express/X41 — Accrington to Manchester via Ramsbottom and Prestwich — and Red 4 — Ramsbottom to Bury — services will be cut and replaced by an “improved” Irwell Line.

The company, which is operated by Transdev Blazefield, made the announcement on Monday but a bus driver told the Lancashire Telegraph on Tuesday they “had not even been informed yet”.

Rosso cited annual losses of £300,000 as the reason behind the decision.

The company said it is improving the Irwell Line to serve Ramsbottom and create an every 30 minutes Bury-Ramsbottom-Rawtenstall link.

However, passengers have described the move as "poor", with others voicing fears they will be "left stranded" if services do not run on time.

Matthew Leonard, aged 39 of Ramsbottom, said: “Without the X41 I have no direct commute to work and no direct link to Manchester. It’s either two buses or the bus and the tram. This will add 40 minutes to my journey in the morning and cost me an extra £600+ a year.

"If the daytime journeys aren’t profitable then I understand them rolling them back but to cut the rush hour ones — which are undeniably well used — is poor.”

Sarah Hamilton, aged 51 of Ramsbottom, said: “They seem to have drastically reduced services through Ramsbottom in favour of Accrington and Rawtenstall, which are not exactly hotspots on my social calendar.

"They should definitely keep the X41. It’s always busy when I’ve used it.”

Rosso said the two services are due to be cut from Sunday, January 26, with the changes to the Irwell Line being introduced simultaneously.

The operator claims that "everyone will still be able to make the same journeys they make now and in most cases at the same fare — but some journeys may now involve a change of bus."

The Irwell Line will be expanded to serve Ramsbottom, and in response to customer feedback, Rosso said they will introduce a new service between Bury and Accrington.

A Rosso spokeswoman said: “The current Red 4 and Red Express routes were created in good faith on the back of customer feedback and consultation, but we’re not seeing enough people using them which means they are incurring losses by around £300,000 per year.

"Red 4, between Ramsbottom and Bury, simply isn’t sustainable given that we have two bus companies both running every 15 minutes. Fewer people are using Red Express since people have the option to use the same ticket to use the 464. Unpredictable congestion in Manchester is also making the whole service unreliable, and the Ramsbottom-Manchester link has not been as popular as we’d have hoped.

"We’re improving Irwell Line which will serve Ramsbottom, creating an every 30 minutes Bury-Ramsbottom-Rawtenstall link – something which we’ve been asked by customers to consider.

"Irwell Line will also be extended to Helmshore, Haslingden and Accrington every hour, meaning Helmshore has twice as many buses to Rawtenstall. This also provides Accrington and Bury a direct link which is again, something customers have asked us for.

"We have worked hard to minimise the impact of these changes which mean that all roads served by buses continue to do so, journeys remain possible via a direct bus or one change at a secure and comfortable bus station, and at no increase to price for the vast majority of journeys.”

More information and maps showing the new journeys, can be viewed at www.transdevbus.co.uk/rosso/were-improving-irwell-line-26-january.