Public views sought on proposals for a modern Sefton bus network

People in Sefton have the opportunity to comment on proposals to make the town’s bus network simpler and clearer from next Monday (16th January).

Proposals will be available for view and comment online at www.merseytravel.gov.uk/busreview from 9am on Monday 16th January until 5pm on Thursday 26th January.

There will 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:

  • Friday 20th January, 10am to 3pm – Maghull Library
  • Monday 23rd January, 10am to 2pm – Southport railway station
  • Thursday 26th January, 9am to 4pm – Bootle Strand

This follows events across Sefton in September and October which saw over 1200 people attend and more than 800 offer their feedback on their frequency and pattern of bus use, including those services publicly funded by Merseytravel, and what might make them use buses more.

Sefton is the third area to be reviewed as part of a wider review of the whole Liverpool City Region bus network which began in May this year.

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 first 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, bus reviews involve all bus operators.

Part of the review has been looking at the current supported bus network and considering how increasingly limited public resources can be focused where there is most need.

Impacts of changes have been mitigated by re-routing or extending 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 to 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 April 2017.

Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel said:“The input we had from Sefton residents on their patterns of bus use and what would get them to use it more has been extremely helpful and insightful. We now want comments on these detailed proposals before we finalise the plans.

“Through these bus network reviews, we’ve worked hard with bus operators in re-scoping the network and believe the proposals will offer a network that is clearer, simpler and with some real benefits for the people of Sefton.

“We recognize that there may be some proposed changes that don’t suit everybody with some people having to walk further to catch a bus, but we’ve been looking 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 Wi-Fi 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 Real Time Information;
  • Better integration of bus and rail services;

• Improved Customer Service training for all bus drivers

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