Liverpool City Region is home to 1.6 million people and made up of 6 Local Authorities: Wirral, Sefton, Liverpool, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton. With devolved powers and under the leadership of re-elected Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, the LCR is transforming its transport system, from new publicly-owned trains for Merseyrail to the first new Mersey Ferry for 60 years. However, the bus remains the backbone of the transport system and upcoming reform and investment will ensure that it plays a full part in delivering London-style transport for the region.
As observed in other metropolitan areas of England, the long term trend has been one of bus passenger decline for LCR. Merseyside, though, still boasts the highest level of bus journeys per head within the North West, and higher than the national average: 80% of all LCR public transport trips are made by bus and 14% of all journeys to work are by bus (more than twice those carried by rail). Bus services perform a vital role in supporting the communities and economy and in providing areas with higher levels of need with access to opportunities. Measures such as the introduction of Myticket have helped increase the number of trips and improve the bus offer for young people. Nevertheless, the LCRCA want to go much further.
In his keynote presentation at TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2022, Councillor Liam Robinson – the LCRCA’s Portfolio Holder for Transport (and Chair of Merseytravel’s Transport Committee) – talked to us about the key projects which are bringing the LCR’s vision for bus to reality, from industry-leading zero emission hydrogen buses to prioritising buses through the Green Bus Routes programme and reforming the region’s bus system. The combined authority’s vision for bus, he explained, features “quick and reliable journeys”; “a comprehensive, integrated network”; “excellent customer service”; an “emission free network”; plus “straightforward ticketing and great value fares”.
Highlights of Liam’s presentation included: LCR’s “HyBus Trial”, which blends the North West’s first Fuel Cell Electric Bus (FCEB) fleet with the first Hydrogen Refuelling Station; the design of Hybus “in line with passenger feedback”; upgrading key bus corridors across the City Region by introducing/implementing priority lanes (dedicated road space for bus and active travel), junction geometric upgrades (both to give bus priority and to improve integration with active travel), reviews of parking and loading restrictions, traffic signal upgrades (intelligent signals that will give buses priority), new transport and mobility hubs, a strategic traffic re-routing study, bus stop and shelter upgrades (to ensure a high standard in passenger waiting experience), and bus stop build outs (to improve accessibility and speed up boarding and alighting); a bus priority junction improvement case study of Knowsley; a “phased approach” to delivering the Green Bus Routes Programme; regaining devolved powers over buses and progress since 2017 towards a London Style Regulated model (bus franchising and enhanced partnership evaluation, Covid impact and review, Big Bus Debate engagement exercise etc); and “Next Steps” following the CA’s endorsement, in March 2022, of franchising as the preferred model.
If you satisfy our regular delegate qualification criteria but were unable to join us in Manchester on September 9th for the live in-person event at Chetham’s School of Music, CLICK HERE and complete the short “Download form” (located at the bottom of the post) to receive a unique link enabling free access to the presentation video recordings and slides (including the film footage and slides from Liam’s keynote).
Those qualifying to receive the rich presentation content from this event include commissioning, procurement, trialling and partnering leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers and planners from local authorities (e.g. city, borough, metropolitan, district and county councils); public transport operators; regional transport partnerships, sub-regional transport bodies, combined authorities, integrated transport authorities and passenger transport executives; highways authorities and road operators; government and supporting national transport agencies; fleet operators, parking operators, prime contractors etc.