People in Knowsley have the opportunity to comment on proposals to make the area’s bus network simpler and clearer from today (Friday 9th March).
Proposals will be available for view and to comment on via an online survey at merseytravel.gov.uk/busreview from 10am on Friday 9th March until 5pm on Monday 19th March.
There will also be three drop-in events where members of the public can speak to Merseytravel staff about the proposals and give their feedback. These will take place on the following days between 10am – 3pm:
· 13 March – Halewood One Stop Shop
· 14 March – Tesco Prescot
· 19 March – Huyton Bus Station
This follows events across Knowsley in November and December 2017, which saw over 200 people attend and offer their feedback on their frequency and pattern of bus use, including those services publically funded by Merseytravel, and what might make them use buses more.
Knowsley is the final area to be reviewed as part of a wider review of the whole Liverpool City Region bus network which began in May 2016 and covered St Helens, Sefton, Liverpool and Wirral.
Historically bus routes have been considered on a piecemeal basis and the idea is to consider the commercial network and the supported network – that which relies on public subsidy via Merseytravel – as a whole for the first time, to ensure it best reflects current working and living patterns, new developments and how they are served.
This is one of the undertakings of the Bus Alliance, a formal partnership with operators Arriva and Stagecoach, with the aim of transforming bus services to encourage more people to take the bus. However, the bus reviews involve all bus operators.
Part of the review has been looking at the current supported bus network, those services publically subsidised through Merseytravel, as they aren’t considered viable to run on a commercial basis, and considering how increasingly limited public resources can be focused where there is most need.
Impacts of changes have been mitigated by re-routing some existing commercial services where possible to negate the need for a service supported by public funding.
To make the network easier to understand there are also plans to make the evening network reflect the daytime services both in route and number. The proposals endeavour to ensure that everyone is within reasonable distance of a bus service.
The proposed changes would come into effect in July 2018.
Cllr Liam Robinson, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Transport Portfolio Holder, said: “We’d like to thank the residents of Knowsley who have given us their views on bus services in the area in the previous consultation stage, allowing us to put forward the proposals for changes to the bus network. We have looked at how we can best meet people’s needs within budget constraints due to government spending cuts.
“This is us continuing to work innovatively through the Bus Alliance when other areas outside the Liverpool City Region, due to budget pressures, are seeing some communities left without any bus services.”
The Bus Alliance is an agreement between Merseytravel, Arriva and Stagecoach to improve bus travel for people across the Liverpool City Region. In time, it is hoped that other bus operators will join the Alliance.
The Alliance’s ambition is for a thriving, affordable and sustainable bus network that offers the customer a value for money and hassle-free journey experience – leading to an increase in fare paying passengers. It will look at creating simpler networks and fare structures to more investment in the buses themselves. Encouraging more people to travel by bus drives investment and means less reliance on the public purse.
Key work areas include:
· A review of the City Region bus network;
· Investment in new and greener vehicles;
· On board WiFi and at-seat USB charging points on all new vehicles;
· Improved bus links to and from John Lennon Airport;
· Streamlined service changes to make bus services more stable;
· Simpler ticketing and a review of zonal structures and pricing;
· Review of all customer information including more RTI;
· Better integration of bus and rail services;
· Improved Customer Service training for all bus drivers.