Home Business and economy Bus reform consultation: calendar of in-person events gets underway across Liverpool City Region

Bus reform consultation: calendar of in-person events gets underway across Liverpool City Region

by Jonathan Kearney

A consultation on the future of bus services in the Liverpool City Region has stepped up a gear with the start of a calendar of in-person events last week.

The 12-week consultation is giving people chance to have their say on proposals to bring the local bus network under greater public control.

City Region 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.

As well as being able to complete the consultation questionnaire online, people are now being invited to attend one of 49 in-person events hosted as locations across Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.

In-person consultation events take place at the following times in Knowsley:

Thursday 8 June 12pm – 4pm Whiston Town Hall Whiston Town Council, Whiston Town Hall, Old Colliery Road, Whiston, L35 3QX
Thursday 29 June 12pm – 4pm Huyton Old School House St.John’s Road, Huyton, L36 0UX
Friday 7 July 11am – 3pm Stockbridge Village Library The Withens, Stockbridge Village, Knowsley, L28 1AB
Saturday 15 July 11am – 3pm Centre 63 Old Hall Lane, Kirkby, Liverpool, L32 5TH
Tuesday 25 July 10am – 2pm Prescot Town Hall Prescot Town Hall, 1 Warrington Road, Prescot, Merseyside, L34 5QX

The events allow people to not only complete a paper version of the questionnaire if they choose, but also to speak with the consultation team and ask them questions about how the bus system works and what franchising proposal could mean for the future of the network.

The first events were held last week at venues such as Bromborough town centre in Wirral, the Strand shopping centre in Bootle and the Castlefields Community Centre in Runcorn with local residents turning out to make their voices heard.

Cllr Steve Foulkes, vice chair of the Transport Committee for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said: “Buses are the backbone of the Liverpool City Region travel network, with more than 8 in 10 of every public transport journey here being made by bus.

“Unfortunately, the reality is that for too many people, bus services just don’t work as well as they should.”

“Using the powers available through devolution Mayor Steve Rotheram has committed to building a London-style integrated transport system that’s faster, cheaper, cleaner and more reliable – and that starts by taking greater control of our buses so we can do things like set fares, routes and timetables.

“As we move a step closer to making that ambition a reality, it’s important that our residents to have their say on our plans. So, whether you regularly take the bus or not, we’re encouraging everyone to get involved in this consultation and make their voice heard.

“Already lots of people have taken part in the consultation by completing the online questionnaire – but now people have a chance to come along to one of the in-person events being hosted across Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral and speak to the team about what bus reform could mean for our region.”

Mayor Rotheram and the Combined Authority voted unanimously to confirm franchising as the region’s preferred future model for running the bus network and services. The region is one of only two in the country to run a consultation on the future model for bus services.

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.

Find out more about sessions taking place at liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk/movingbusesforward/consultation-events/