A NEW bus firm launched its first services this weekend.

Diamond North West will operate 18 buses across Bolton and Bury after buying the Weston Street depot from struggling transport giant First.

The buses will run on the same routes and times to the same stops but will be operated by a different firm, with the vehicles decked out in Diamond's blue livery.

First will only retain control of its Vantage services which will continue to run from the company’s remaining Oldham depot.

Diamond began its work today after taking charge of 500 staff and the Weston Street depot in a deal thought to be worth £5.3m.

The firm already runs services from Wigan and passengers will have seen some of the buses running through Bolton.

The takeover includes the following bus services:

  • 2- intu Trafford Centre to Bolton (daytimes only*)
  • 8- Manchester Shudehill to Bolton
  • 36- Manchester Piccadilly to Bolton
  • 37- Manchester Piccadilly to Bolton
  • X39- Farnworth/ Little Hulton to Manchester Piccadilly
  • 68- intu Trafford Centre to Farnworth (daytimes only*)
  • 162- Manchester Piccadilly to Norden
  • 163- Manchester Piccadilly to Bury
  • 471- Bolton to Rochdale
  • 472- Bury to Ramsbottom Circular
  • 474- Bury to Ramsbottom Circular
  • 501- Johnson Fold to Farnworth
  • 507- Bolton to Harwood Circular
  • 511- Bolton to Bury
  • 524- Bolton to Bury
  • 561- Bolton to Withins Circular
  • 562- Bolton to Withins Circular
  • 582- Leigh to Bolton

Passengers travelling on any services taken over by Diamond, can buy tickets on the bus with cash or contactless payment. Horwich m-tickets are also available on the 574 and 575, and between Bolton and Horwich on the 576.

Tickets issued by First, including tickets purchased through their mobile app, will be accepted on all Diamond North West services from August 11 until further notice.