WIRRAL communities isolated by a severe lack of public transport have received a welcome boost after a depot and dozens of services previously run by the collapsed bus firm Avon were taken over.

Selwyns Travel has taken on the depot of bus firm Avon after it unexpectedly closed down in October last year, as well as more than 40 supported service contracts.

Most of them cover school routes, but there are hopes that with a large firm back in the area, progress can be made in restoring some of the routes lost when the Wirral firm ceased trading.

Speaking at the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority's transport committee on Thursday, Cllr Steve Foulkes said he wanted to give a "big warm Wirral welcome to Selwyns".

He added: "I hope we're going to maximise the fact there is now a depot for a major operator in area to try and make links with those services."

He said many people across the peninsula are still campaigning for more services on evenings and weekends, adding: "The report highlights the collapse of Avon and there are still issues around replacing those services.

"There are still areas of the Wirral that are isolated particularly on the evening and weekend so I'm looking forward to [seeing] progress."

Chair of the committee, Cllr Liam Robinson said he agreed with Cllr Foulkes, also adding he wanted to continue to work together with Wirral councillors to "improve the current situation".

Despite Avon's collapse, which happened because the firm was "losing significant amounts of money", several of its services were saved after being taken over by Arriva North West and Stagecoach.

But that was by no means all of them, and communities such as Prenton were left isolated, with that area having lost the "vital lifeline" 83a service.

Ward Cllr Angela Davies described the collapse of Avon as having a "terrible impact" on local residents, making it harder for residents to get to hospital, school and the shops.

A Merseytravel spokesman said: "A number of Wirral supported bus service contracts which cover school routes were due to end later this month and as a result, a re-tendering process has taken place.

"The result of this process has seen some changes to services, including the introduction of new operators.

"We can confirm that Selwyns have been successful in their tender for 40 of these contracts and will begin operating the services from April 29."

Runcorn-based Selwyns was contacted for comment.