BUS giant Arriva is proposing to close its Warrington depot in a bid to boost the company's finances.

Transport bosses say only two services, the 104 to Woolston and the 123 to Houghton Green, will be cut, though could be reinstated, at least in part, if the local authority or another company agreed to subsidise them.

Arriva says that following an operational review, the bus garage in Athlone Road will close and the majority of bus services previously operated from Warrington would be transferred to St Helens, Runcorn, Huyton and Wythenshawe.

Consultation with the 78 staff is currently underway and the company says drivers will be given the opportunity to transfer to other garages. Bosses say that if there are redundancies, it would be very few, probably in single figures.

Skilled engineering staff would also be offered similar employment at other locations.

But union leaders are unhappy with the situation.

Jeff Joyce, regional industrial organiser at the Transport and General Workers' Union, said: "We had a meeting on Monday regarding the proposed closure and generally everybody is very upset about the situation.

"This is a depot with a good reputation for service, which the company acknowledges and it is also accepted that there has been a good working relationship. That is why everyone is so disappointed.

"We have asked for another meeting next week to look at the options. The company tells us it is determined to offer alternative jobs, but it is therefore refusing to accept that we could have a redundancy situation."

In a statement issued to the Guardian, Arriva said: "It is anticipated that redundancies, if any, would be minimal and every opportunity would be taken to transfer employees to other suitable alternative employment."

Bob Hind, divisional director of Arriva added: "It is imperative that bus services in the north west are financially efficient.

"And, although it is unfortunate, this garage closure would help us to maintain that efficiency.

"Bus services would be largely unaffected and most staff would transfer to other garages."