A BUS operator has announced £2.4 million worth of investments which could create up to 50 jobs.

The investment by Transdev will involve a fleet of 23 buses supplied by Rochdale manufacturer Mellor in partnership with Lancashire County Council ­—18 of which will operate on the new Ribble Country bus network across the county.

The network will start operations on May 2 and will travel between Burnley, Pendle and the Ribble Valley.

Mellor’s Strata Ultra bus design will be reminiscent of the old Ribble Motor Services company, whose red buses used to serve the North West, from Liverpool to Carlisle

Transdev CEO Alex Hornby said: “As part of our new multi-year partnership with Lancashire County Council, we are thrilled to unveil the Ribble Country brand in tribute to the transport heritage of the area we are so proud to serve.

“A new look and expanded network needs the right bus for the job and we’re delighted to have chosen Mellor, a proudly local North West company, with our order for its class-leading Strata Ultra product which offers us the quality, reliability and flexible performance we need.

“These impressive new buses will deliver an ideal blend of capacity with excellent fuel economy and combines Mellor’s rigorously tested coach-built bodywork with the proven Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis and drivetrain, which is fully compliant with tough Euro 6 low emission standards.

“It’s an environmentally friendly, customer friendly design which will help us deliver on our mission to create buses people are proud to be seen on – and we can’t wait to welcome our Lancashire customers on board these amazing new buses next month.”

The remaining five buses will be used from the same date on another new Transdev service between Preston, Higher Walton, Bamber Bridge and Leyland, also to be operated in partnership with Lancashire County Council.

Transdev says that it has chosen Mellor’s Strata Ultra bus design as it offers an accessible vehicle which can carry 30 passengers but can can also navigate rural routes and town streets.

Mellor Bus division managing director Mark Clissett said: “This is a significant fleet delivery for us and an important new service for the people of east Lancashire.

“Our Strata Ultra bus offers the ideal solution for regional transport operations where larger buses are simply not viable. Transdev’s new Mellor fleet will provide essential public transport across dozens of local towns and villages, linking communities and performing a vital daily service for thousands of people, while still delivering consistent productivity for Transdev.”

The new ‘Ribble Country’ buses also intend to create new links and provide more buses across a network of 10 routes serving Clitheroe, Padiham, Burnley, Nelson and Colne.

To find out more about the Ribble Country network, go to: https://www.transdevbus.co.uk/burnley.