Sue Robb of 4Children talks to Julie Laughton and Alison Britton from the Department for Education about the role of childminders in delivering the 30 hours free entitlement.
Bus Alliance agreement in Liverpool
The Liverpool City Region is to benefit from improved bus services and investment in the local economy through a new agreement.
The Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance, an agreement between Arriva, Stagecoach and Merseytravel, will provide local people with improved, more efficient, joined-up and better value services.
The deal will deliver more than £25 million worth of investment in bus services in the first year of the five year partnership, benefiting existing passengers alongside a bid to attract new ones.
The landmark agreement also sees a commitment from operators to provide modern bus fleets with an average age of no more than seven years. Passengers will benefit from a range of new services and customer-focused improvements, including improved smart ticketing, and Wi-Fi and USB charging on all new buses so passengers can charge their mobile devices on the move.
The formal signing of the Bus Alliance agreement also releases additional Government OLEV funding of £4.7 million – the single biggest award out of the last round of funding in July – for 72 new, greener buses across the city region.
The Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance is the latest development in an ongoing, comprehensive bus strategy for the region.
Howard Farrall, area managing director, Merseyside, said: “The signing of the Alliance is an exciting milestone for passengers across the region. It commits all operators and our partners to a package of measures designed to make the bus network here on Merseyside even more attractive, affordable and accessible for passengers.
“The Alliance promises to be a first-class partnership for our region. It brings together operators and the local authority, working together under an agreed framework to deliver even better bus services, networks and customer service for passengers.”
Elisabeth Tasker, managing director of Stagecoach Merseyside & South Lancashire, added: "Buses are central to life in Merseyside, from getting people to work, helping shoppers access our high streets, and connecting people with education, health and leisure opportunities.
"We are making a huge investment to attract more people to bus travel: better value fares, greener vehicles, smart ticketing and tools like our new Stagecoach bus app which offers features such as journey planning and live bus information.
"Merseyside already has one of the highest levels of bus satisfaction in the country. By working together through the new alliance, and tackling the growing challenge of road congestion, we can deliver an even better customer experience and get more people on board the bus."