MANCHESTER City Council’s transport boss has promised talks with East Lancashire bus operator Transdev over its concerns about a traffic ban on Deansgate.

The firm’s chief executive Alex Hornby said it was already causing diversions and delays for its Witchway Express from Burnley and Rawtenstall and its Red Express service from Accrington and Ramsbottom.

He warned making the ban permanent could scupper a planned £3.5million new fleet of buses.

Manchester City Council’s executive member for transport, Cllr Angeliki Stogia said: “Prior to temporary work being carried out on Deansgate, all bus operators were informed of our plans by Transport for Greater Manchester and at that stage, we received no indication that Transdev had concerns about the scheme or alternative bus routes identified. We are in contact with them and are keen to maintain a constructive dialogue to find solutions which work for all parties.

“Our ambition is to create more space for people, to enable them to safely return to the city. We are currently holding an open conversation - in which Transdev, all other bus operators and passengers are welcome to take part - about how this temporary arrangement works in practice, for everyone from commuters to residents to local businesses.”