The transformation of Rosso

11 months ago Mon 19th Jul 2021

Rosso provides local buses in areas of Greater Manchester and Lancashire and West Yorkshire from depots in Rochdale, Blackburn and Burnley.

The company’s history can be traced back to 1907 with the bus and tram operations of Haslingden and Rawtenstall Corporations. The last tram ran in 1932, and since then its’ buses have operated along the valley between Accrington and Bacup, with an extension of the network following after deregulation of buses in 1986. It remained under the ownership of Rossendale Council for the following 21 years.

464 buses collage

All of Rosso’s 240 colleagues and 102 buses became part of the Transdev family in January 2018 – a move which saw the former council-owned company benefiting from our established commercial expertise and vision. We quickly gave the green light to an immediate £3 million investment in a new fleet of high-specification buses for routes in and around Rochdale, Rossendale and Bury.

New-look buses were quickly introduced to our freshly branded Tottington Line and Lakeline in the months that followed, the later run in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

lakeline bus

By October of the same year, customer numbers were on the increase with a double digit rise in users of our commercial routes in Greater Manchester, followed by a 15% rise in customer journeys across Rosso’s full network in its first 18 months as part of the Transdev family, earning us the plaudits of local and central government at a time when the Northern Powerhouse agenda was gaining traction. 

15% more customers

Further high-profile branded routes were also launched as part of Rosso’s growing Lancashire network, notably the ‘trunk’ link through the valley - the 464 - linking Accrington with Rawtenstall and Rochdale, every 15 minutes, which benefitted from 14 brand new, low emission Versa buses, built in the north of England. We then revamped routes between Burnley or Blackburn, Rawtenstall and Bury as the new-look Irwell Line, as well as on Trax serving Bury, Fairfield Hospital and Rochdale every 10 minutes. 


Following further investment and rebranding of routes run in partnership with both Transport for Greater Manchester and Lancashire County Council, and widespread renewal of our large commitment to home-to-school travel, the icing on the cake was the opening of the new Rawtenstall Bus Station at the heart of the network. This was delivered by Rossendale Borough Council as past of a wider investment strategy in the resurgent town centre and we now manage the bus station on a day to day basis. We have fully branded the bus station and opened a shop to enhance the customer experience and access to tickets and information.  

Full, integrated ticketing alongside other Transdev companies was provided from Day One of the acquisition, and we continue to grow the company via our expert commercial strategy and strong partnership ethos with the local authorities around us. The company is now 22% bigger than the one five years ago and continues to be a demonstration of the success of what happens when ownership of buses transfer from public to private ownership. 

You can read more about our transformation of Rosso here