Liverpool favouring bus franchising transport system

Liverpool City Region’s Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has revealed that bus services could be franchised as part of a London-style public transport system for the city region.

Papers, released by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, recommend that bus franchising is supported as the emerging ‘leading option’ for the future of the city region’s bus network and services and that a detailed and independently audited assessment is now completed.

The recommendation follows two-years of intensive work, including a year-long Big Bus Debate, in which local people shared their current experiences of bus travel and what they’d like to see in the future. Almost 3,000 local people shared their views, revealing that people were dissatisfied with the frequency and punctuality of buses, the cost of bus travel and the availability of direct bus routes.

Currently, eight out of 10 public transport journeys in the Liverpool City Region are made by bus, making buses critical to the wellbeing of the city region’s economy and communities.

Increasing use of public transport is considered to be vital to addressing the climate emergency and to tackling poor air quality, which kills 1,000 people a year in the Liverpool City Region alone.

Steve Rotheram said: “Our communities rely on buses to connect them to work, education and training, family, hospitals and other public services, but too often the current, de-regulated system is letting people down. People have told me through our Big Bus Debate, that buses don’t run at the times they need them, especially early in the morning, late at night and at weekends, and that too many people find the current system to be confusing, unreliable and expensive. This has to change.

“I am determined to deliver a London-style integrated transport system for the Liverpool City Region. There are a number of ways we can achieve that through the powers in the bus services act, but I am clear that whichever model we choose the outcome must be the same: a bus service that is simple, punctual, reliable and affordable. A system that is designed around what we know our communities and our local economy needs, provides people with a genuine quality alternative to the car and helps to tackle the climate emergency.

“Doing nothing is simply not an option. That’s why next week we will ask the Combined Authority to support the completion of the work required to fully assess the emerging option of bus franchising against the alternatives for our future bus system in the Liverpool City Region, so as to deliver what people have told us they need from their buses and the whole transport system.”