EAST Lancashire is to get a new bus brand with improved services in May.

Transdev are launching the Ribble Country network with a fleet of 18 specially-built 18 Mercedes midibuses.

The new network is supported by Lancashire County Council from an extra £750,000 it has earmarked in 2021/2022 for improved bus links, particularly in rural areas, and increase frequency of services where there is strong demand.

The brand name recalls the former Ribble Bus Company founded 102 years ago.

The new services start on May 2.

A Transdev spokeswoman said: "In partnership with Lancashire County Council, we’re bringing you a vastly improved bus network connecting Burnley, Pendle and the Ribble Valley.

"This will see us introduce a brand new fleet of 18 Mercedes midibuses, fully accessible and stylishly appointed inside and out, along with increased timetables and new Sunday buses too. Look out for our buses in the new, bright Ribble Country identity, reflecting our pride in the local area and our heritage.

"Bus users in East Lancashire can look forward to better services from May."

Cllr Andrew Snowden, the county council's lead member for buses, said: "Improving public transport has been one of our top priorities as we recognise that good bus services are vital for people to get to work, access education and other services, and are a lifeline for people in rural areas.

"We've already restored lost links to many communities which would otherwise have very little or no public transport, and we're now building on this by making existing services more frequent, reliable and convenient to use."

The new and revised services will include:

* Ribble Country 4: Clitheroe – Peel Park Circular;

* Ribble Country 6: Burnley – Reedley Hallows – General Hospital – Nelson – Marsden Park – Boundary Mill – Colne replacing the current 95;

* Ribble Country 14: Burnley - Clifton Farm;

* Ribble Country 15: Burnley – Healey Wood and Rose Hill;

* Ribble Country 64: Burnley – Sycamore Avenue - Lowerhouse – Padiham – Sabden – Whalley – Clitheroe;

* Ribble Country 65: Burnley – Sycamore Avenue – Lowerhouse – Cambridge Drive – Padiham – Higham – Fence – Nelson;

* Ribble Country 66/67: Clitheroe – Chatburn – Downham- Barley – Fence (66) or Blacko (67)- Barrowford – Nelson & Colne College – Nelson;

* Ribble Country 68: Colne – Barrowford-Carr Hall – Nelson replacing the 95A; and

* Ribble Country 69 Nelson- Chapel House Road – Brierfield – Burnley General Hospital.