A COUNCIL is set to ask a bus operator to reconsider its decision to axe the express service from its main town to Manchester.

Transdev this week announced that it was scrapping the Red Express/X41 from Accrington to the city centre via Ramsbottom and Prestwich from January 26.

Now Hyndburn Council is writing to the company after its ruling Labour group leader Cllr Miles Parkinson and opposition Tory boss Cllr Tony Dobson described the move as 'disappointing'.

Transdev said they were scrapping the X41 and the Red Four services from Ramsbottom to Bury because low passengers numbers meant the two routes combined are losing £300,000 a year.

It said passengers from Accrington to Manchester would be able to use the 464 to Rawtenstall and then transfer to the X43 Witch Way service from Burnley to the city.

A company spokeswoman said both services, which run every 15 minutes, are already used by many customers from Hyndburn.

In March last year Transdev scrapped the part of the X41 journey from Blackburn to Accrington.

She said the firm would be improving its Irwell Line at the bottom of Rossendale and around Ramsbottom and Bury.

It will be extended with a new 482 service from Rawtenstall to Helmshore, Haslingden and Accrington running every hour and the reinstatement of Accrington's direct link to Bury.

Cllr Parkinson said: "I am angry and disappointed to lose the Red Express/X41.

"Connectivity is vital for Accrington and Hyndburn to thrive and for people to get to well-paid jobs in Manchester.

"I shall be asking the council to write to Transdev and ask them to reconsider this disappointing decision."

Cllr Dobson said: "It is always disappointing to lose a bus route from the borough.

"We need to make sure it is for the right reasons. Bus, rail and road link to Manchester are very important to Hyndburn.

"We will support the council writing to Transdev to ask them more about the reasons for this decision and to reconsider the scrapping of the X41."

The Transdev spokeswoman said: "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. We have worked hard to minimise the impact of these changes."