A CALL to improve to reliability and timekeeping of a key bus service to the Royal Bolton Hospital will be made when an MP meets the bosses of its new operator.

Sir David Crausby will discuss the future of the 501 route from Johnson Fold through Bolton to Farnworth with the management of Rotala on August 27.

The firm’s subsidiary Diamond North West takes over the service from First Bus on Sunday.

Bolton North-East MP Sir David had been approached on the issue by constituent Simon John Pearce who had faced problems using the 501 to get to and from the Royal Bolton, both three years ago and again in July.

He said: “A regular user said unreliability, 30 minute waits and missing 501s were sadly not uncommon.”

Sir David said: “There have been issues in the past with the 501 that First failed to address and many people have been let down.

“It’s important that we have a reliable and affordable link between the town centre and the hospital."

A Diamond North-West spokesperson said: ““In the first week of taking over we will be introducing 20 new Euro 6 buses which will help improve reliability and are environmentally friendly for the local community.”

A First Bus spokesman said: " In the case of service 501 we successfully introduced changes to improve punctuality and reliability in January. "