Merseyside and Halton bus users are benefitting from £3.5 million improvements thanks to the work of the Liverpool City Region Better Bus Area project (BBA).
The Liverpool City Region Better Bus Area project (BBA) is a positive collaboration between Merseytravel, Knowsley, Halton and St Helens Borough Councils and bus operators Arriva, Stagecoach, Halton Transport and Huyton Travel.
It has been responsible for coordinating and delivering bus infrastructure improvements in Knowsley, St Helens and Halton during the past four years (2013/14 to 2017/18).
Relieving congestion, improving connectivity and improving infrastructure are the BBA’s core aims. The BBA members identify and then allocate funds and resources to improvement schemes, which can include upgrading traffic signals, bus stops or road junctions that will contribute towards achieving those aims.
Improving road junctions or traffic signals can for example aid the smooth flow of buses through the junctions, have a positive impact on journey time and contribute towards reducing congestion.
“In addition to the obvious improvements to bus flows there are added benefits for residents which align with the Bus Alliance ambitions of getting more people on the bus and helping to broaden people’s horizons by providing better access to employment, education and training opportunities.
“We want to build on the successful foundations cemented by the Bus Alliance and Better Bus Area and utilise the new devolved powers in the Bus Services Act to be able to take this to the next level and deliver even more customer focussed improvements and benefits.”
Cllr Stan Hill, Halton Council’s Executive Board member for Transportation, says: “These new measures have provided significant improvements at the junctions for both general traffic and public transport, in that waiting times and journey times have been reduced and traffic flow has improved. The travelling public did experience some disruption while these changes were implemented, but I’m sure most will agree that these junctions are now much improved.”
Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Cllr Graham Morgan, said: “I’m delighted with the work we have carried out through the Better Bus Area project with our partners to improve the road network and bus facilities in Knowsley.
“These enhancements are great news for bus passengers in Knowsley who benefit from improved facilities, more efficient traffic flows and better connectivity with surrounding areas.”
St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Growth with responsibility for transport, Councillor John Fulham, said: “I very much welcome this injection of external funding into public transport which a large number of St Helens residents depend on to go about their daily business.
“Together with great offers including the MyTicket for youngsters and the new ‘all area’ Solo bus tickets, achieved under the Bus Alliance, these developments make travelling by bus a better option for the public.
“The City Region’s commitment in investing in these types of improvements can only be a positive thing in the long run as it will reduce congestion and decrease journey times which I hope will encourage more and more people to come to realise how reliable this form of transport can be.”
Howard Farrall, Managing Director, Arriva Merseyside said “We are delighted that our work with the Better Bus Area has had such a positive impact on the punctuality and reliability of services. In turn, Arriva hopes that this encouraging feedback will encourage more people to choose to travel by bus, while also helping to further reduce congestion and air pollution.”
Colin Stafford Managing Director for Halton Transport said: “We have been a partner of BBA since the scheme started we have worked very hard with the BBA board to identify and implement major road improvements, real time information screens at bus stops along with a Quality partnership route on the 17 service Widnes to St Helens all of which has seen great improvements to both reliability and customer satisfaction which has seen a growth in patronage.”
Rob Jones, Managing Director at Stagecoach Merseyside, Chester and South Lancashire said: “As bus operators we strive to provide our passengers with reliable bus services. With more vehicles on the road than ever before, congestion at pinchpoints across the network can cause delays. Through this proactive partnership approach to tackle congestion we have made some really effective strides forward in improving the flow of traffic at key hotspots, thereby enhancing service reliability and, crucially, helping to reduce pollution across the city region.”
For more information on the Better Bus Area please visit the Merseytravel website at merseytravel.gov.uk/betterbusarea