THE future of a "vital" bus service is to be discussed at a public meeting attended by the Barrow and Furness MP.

John Woodcock will join residents and councillors to look at options to replace the number 7 bus route, which has been scrapped by operator Stagecoach.

The service, which was previously operated under a school bus contract, was no longer financially viable, the bus company said.

Campaigners said the bus being scrapped cut off hundreds of passengers who rely on the bus to travel between Kirkby, Askam and Barrow.

The meeting has been by Councillor Ben Shirley, who represents Dalton North for Cumbria County Council.

Mr Shirley has been surveying residents in the search for alternative options, which could include a reduced community bus service run by volunteers.

Mr Shirley said: "I have been working hard with residents, colleagues and parish councillors to achieve the aim of providing a service to keep residents connected with Barrow and Kirkby."

Mr Woodcock said: “I am delighted to join Cllr Shirley’s campaign to look at community alternatives to the loss of the number 7 bus. Rural bus services were a key topic on my #TeamFurness cycling last month and I am determined to support the residents of Askam and Kirkby to look at every viable option to keep a service running.

“Bus routes that serve villages in the more rural part of the constituency can be an absolute life-line for the residents who live there. Decent transport links between the towns and villages in Furness are crucial to businesses as well as communities, as they support the local economy as well as ensuring already isolated communities can link with larger towns and villages.”

The meeting will be held on October 18 at Askam United Football Club in Duddon Road at 7pm.