COMMUTERS have hit out after a long-running bus service connecting Darwen to Accrington was cancelled by Transdev.

For years, the Number One bus service ran from Darwen Cemetery to Accrington town centre, via Blackburn town centre.

But Transdev, which runs the service, has switched it from a Spot On service to a Lancashire United Service, taking passengers from Ewood to Bolton.

The changes came into effect earlier this month meaning that for the first time in years passengers wishing to travel from Accrington to Darwen have to change at Blackburn.

Brian Holliday, 64, of Brecon Road, Intack, said he previously used the bus to go to meetings in Darwen.

He said: “I was stood there waiting for the Number One bus to Darwen and it just never came.

“One driver asked what I was waiting for and then told me I would have to go into Blackburn and change there.

“It was just a shock. This is ridiculous.”

Mr Holliday said the bus services in East Lancashire were poor compared to other parts of the country.

He said: “I go to Lincoln quite regularly and their buses are smashing.

“It is so much better in other counties where they run their own bus service and it’s not Transdev.”

Darwen Coun Dave Smith said he had raised concerns about the changes at a meeting with Transdev bosses.

He said: “They said hardly anyone caught the bus but I thought they were quite busy.

“There’s only one Number One bus an hour at night now.

“It also makes things difficult for people who may have got jobs in Darwen or Accrington because they knew the bus link was there.

“It is very disappointing.”

A Transdev spokesman said: “It was changed because there are often long delays in Blackburn town centre, so it was felt that by breaking up the service it would speed things up for passengers.

“When reviewed, only three per cent of passengers made the full journey from Darwen to Accrington.

“Splitting it so passengers change in Blackburn will make the service more reliable.”