Cheaper fares and more reliable and frequent services are part of Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s plan to shake up Liverpool city region’s bus network. Tony McDonough reports
A bid to transform bus travel across Liverpool city region will see cheaper fares, more reliable and frequent services, bus lanes and fewer carbon emissions.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is looking to get a slice of a £3bn funding pot allocated as part of the Government’s National Bus Strategy. He says his Bus Services Improvement Plan (BSIP) provides a blueprint for the future of bus travel in the city region.
Building on the existing LCR Vision for Bus, it will drive plans to provide services that are more frequent, reliable, and affordable while making it easier for passengers to understand and use.
Alongside work already taking place to reform bus services across the region, with franchising identified as the Combined Authority’s ‘emerging lead option’, the BSIP will help deliver improvements to bus journeys in all parts of the region.
Improving bus services is a vital part of Mr Rotheram’s ambition for a London style transport system. In the region, 82% of public transport journeys are taken by bus. Under Mayor Rotheram’s plans, getting around the region will be quick, cheap and reliable.
He said: “Good public transport is vital for connecting people with each other and with opportunity, with people in our region overwhelmingly relying on the bus to get about.
Thanks to the failed deregulation of the 1980s, too many bus services don’t work for the people who use them.
“I’m determined to fix that. Getting around our region should be quick, cheap and reliable – like it is in London. If it’s good enough for the capital, then it’s more than good enough for people in our region.”
The BSIP will include the four key areas of improvement that were agreed as part of the LCR Vision for Bus in July 2019 and shaped by city region residents and businesses through the Big Bus Debate:
- Punctuality and reliability of bus services.
- Ticketing and the cost of travel.
- Network design (hours of operation, service frequencies, network coverage and integration).
- Onboard experience.
A customer charter is also being developed, which will set out the standards passengers should expect when travelling by bus. The outline approach for the BSIP will go before the Combined Authority’s Transport Committee on Thursday, September 16, followed by the Combined Authority on Friday, September 24.
The final BSIP will be submitted to the Department for Transport by October 31.