COUNCIL bosses have been warned not to squander a £3.8million grant to improve bus services

The advice came from Tory group leader Cllr John Slater as Blackburn with Darwen Council rubber stamped a new agreement with operators.

The new 'Enhanced Partnership' with the borough's travel firms secured the government cash to provide more frequent, faster cheaper and reliable buses which are 'greener', more comprehensive and accessible and easier to understand and use

The new partnership will be a 10-year legally binding agreement between the council and operators Transdev, Travel Assist, Moving People, Blackburn Private Hire and Stagecoach.

The borough and Lancashire County Council have already submitted to government their joint Bus Service Improvement Plan which would change the way the bus network operates across the county.

Cllr Slater said: "This money should not be wasted.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to enhance the quality of life for the people of the borough.

"We must not squander this and get the most we can for everybody in the borough."

Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Cllr Phil Riley promised the money would be well spent.

He said: "Not every authority got this grant. I think we and Lancashire County Council did well to get it."

The borough's initial Whitehall 'Bus Service Improvement Plan' grant of £3.8million (£1.2m revenue to support services and £2.6m for infrastructure improvements to prioritise buses) will last thee years.

Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire County Council's joint Bus Service Improvement Plant asks for a Department of Transport investment of £165m to create a network of 'Superbuses' with frequent services throughout the week and weekends, a London-style single shared ticketing system, and significantly improved journey times thanks to investment in highways such as bus lanes and 'bus priority' measures on traffic lights at junctions.