TRANSPORT bosses have promised that buses on a major route between Bolton and Manchester will be on time.

First Bus has given assurances to passengers after it unveiled changes to its 36 and 37 services, the first going via Little Hulton and the second via Farnworth.

The scheme will make the buses “punctual, reliable and cleaner” — and 45,000 homes in Bolton will be given a free day bus ticket or a reduction on their first weekly season ticket.

Public transport campaigners have welcomed the promise.

Preva Crossley, Bolton spokesman for the Greater Manchester Transport Campaign (GMTC), said: “We do need public transport because it is widely used.

“If I go into Manchester I go on the train, but any improvement in bus services is great — although it needs to be done all over Bolton.

“Any improvement is good because I find that when I go for a bus it’s sometimes late and I find them unreliable at times. If they’re going to keep their promises and provide a reliable service, that’s fine.”

All vehicles are being painted purple, lilac and white and a “new and improved high frequency service” will see buses run every 10 minutes.

A company spokesman said inspectors at bus stops and GPS tracking systems would ensure a punctual service.

As part of the relaunch more than 45,000 homes in Bolton will receive an online offer free or reduced tickets.

Matt Rawlinson, operations manager for First in Bolton, said: “The refresh of the buses on these routes is just the first step of our exciting plans to develop and grow our business.

“Local teams of drivers, engineers and operations staff have been working hard to deliver the first of many planned new high frequency routes across Bolton and further afield in Greater Manchester. These Bolton routes will be followed by other high frequency routes as part of our plans to boost passenger numbers and improve standards of service.”

New cleaning programmes are also being phased in at depots to ensure buses are “cleaner than ever” and customer service from drivers is also set to be improved.