People are being given the chance to have their say on plans to reform bus services in the Liverpool City Region as Mayor Steve Rotheram launches a major new public consultation today.
Local residents, businesses, trade unions and stakeholders are being asked to give feedback on a new bus franchising scheme proposed by Mayor Rotheram and the Combined Authority.
The Mayor has committed to using the powers available to elected mayors through devolution to revolutionise the region’s bus services.
In a landmark move, Mayor Rotheram and the Combined Authority voted unanimously last year to confirm franchising as the region’s preferred future model for running the bus network and services. The region is one of only two places in the country to go to consultation.
Currently, in the Liverpool City Region, private operators decide the routes, timetables, fares and standards. There is also limited coordination between private bus operators and other forms of public transport.
Bus franchising would give the Combined Authority greater control over fares, routes and timetables, allowing the services to be operated in the interests of local bus users with private operators running them under a contract with and to the requirements of the Combined Authority.
Reform of the region’s bus network is a key part of Mayor Rotheram’s wider ambition to build a London-style transport system that makes getting about faster, cheaper, cleaner, more reliable.
Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, said: “Hundreds of thousands of people in our area rely on buses to get about every day. For many, they are a vital lifeline that connects them to the outside world, to new opportunities, and to each other.
“Yet, for far too long, people in our communities have been forced to contend with a second-class bus service that’s too confusing, too unreliable, and too expensive. I want this to become a thing of the past – because we simply can no longer afford to accept a public transport service that leaves behind the very people who need it most.
“Using the powers that devolution has given to us, I want to build a London-style integrated transport system that’s faster, cheaper, cleaner and more reliable – and that starts by taking back control of our buses to give us greater control over fares, routes and timetables. Working together, I want to put the ‘public’ back into public transport and build a fairer system that puts passengers before profit.
“As we move a step closer to making that ambition a reality, I want our residents to have their say on our plans. So, whether you regularly take the bus or not, I’m encouraging everyone to get involved in this consultation and make their voice heard.”
The proposed bus franchising scheme was developed as part of a comprehensive assessment comparing it with other options.
Under the plans, there would be the opportunity for buses to integrate more effectively with other modes of transport, including the region’s new fleet of publicly-owned hydrogen buses and £500m trains. Ticketing would also be made simpler and more convenient with the introduction of a tap-in tap-out system with daily fare caps that mean passengers would always pay the cheapest fare across the whole network.
The public consultation on proposed reforms to bus services in the Liverpool City Region will run until 3 August 2023, with people being invited to take part in the consultation even if they are not regular bus users.
People can find more information on the proposals and take the online questionnaire by visiting liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/movingbusesforward
Over the coming weeks all households in the Liverpool City Region should receive a leaflet with more information on the proposed changes to how bus services work, as well as details of how to take part in the consultation.
A series of roadshows are also being held across all six boroughs of the city region – Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, and Wirral – giving people an opportunity to discuss the proposed changes and to complete consultation questionnaires. Further information on the dates and times of these events can be found at liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/movingbusesforward
The consultation team can also be contacted with questions via email at email@example.com or by phone on 0151 330 1249.