THREE bus services which were scaled back because of the coronavirus crisis are set to be stepped up across Oldham in June.

Supported bus routes in the borough, and across Greater Manchester, were cut back in late March, amid measures such as workers being furloughed and social distancing being enforced.

The passenger numbers, like those for tram and bus services, quickly plummeted as a result.

And now Greater Manchester transport chiefs are proposing to reinstate around 40 routes to their previous frequency, from June 15.

These include the 415 Oldham-Chadderton-Middleton daytime service, run by Go Northwest Mondays to Saturdays, the 356 Nexus Move Oldham-Denshaw-Greenfield-Mossley-Ashton bus and the 402 circular between Oldham, Royton and the Royal Oldham Hospital, operated by Stott's, which have each been two-hourly but will go back to being hourly.

Alison Chew, Transport for Greater Manchester's (TfGM) interim head of bus services, said in a Greater Manchester Combined Authority report: "During the first weeks of the lockdown period TfGM officers reviewed the supported bus network and identified appropriate reductions in services to reflect the significant reduction in demand for services, whilst protecting services required for essential travel.

"This piece of work resulted in a rationalised network with reduced frequencies (usually every two hours, with first and last journeys retained where possible) operated on 75 per cent of supported services, with a very small number of supported services suspended, including Free Bus services 1 and 3 in the regional centre.

"Throughout the lockdown period patronage on supported services has been closely monitored and to date it has not been necessary to increase service provision to meet an increase in demand, even when taking social distancing into account.

"In line with the planned ramp-up of commercial bus services it is now considered appropriate to start the process of reinstating service frequencies to their previous levels.

"Although the Government guidance has not changed, (i.e. residents should work at home where they can and only travel on public transport if absolutely necessary), social distancing measures will mean that the capacity available across the network will be significantly reduced.

"It is essential that service frequencies are restored in a co-ordinated and consistent manner with regard for wider considerations. As a result, the reinstatement of subsidised services from June 15 has been identified as the appropriate date to restore the majority of supported services."