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Moving Merseyside Forward

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 Buses

Buses


Bus travel accounts for almost eight out of ten of all public transport journeys in Merseyside. Currently, this amounts to around 136.7 million passenger journeys each year.
 
Almost 90 percent of bus services in Merseyside are run on a commercial basis by operators including Arriva, Stagecoach, Avon and Halton Transport. They choose where to run their services and set their own ticket prices.
 
The remaining 10 percent or so are funded by Merseytravel and these are those routes where there is a gap in the network or where a significant social need has been identified, such as to and from healthcare or key employment sites. Merseytravel sets the fares on these particular routes. Any route that is funded by Merseytravel is clearly indicated as so on the public timetable.
 
Merseytravel, like similar bodies across the country such as TfGM, Nexus and TfWM, work closely with bus operators in a bid to get the best deal for customers and to influence how they operate, but we do not control the network.
 
We have developed a Bus Strategy which sets out the importance of buses to the Liverpool City Region and our vision to transform the bus offer, aiming to make it a mode of choice rather than last resort, increasing revenue and driving investment.
 
Buses are vital to people in the City Region and its economy.  Every day in our region over 100,000 people use the bus to get to work and over 60,000 to get to education, so it is crucial that we have a thriving bus network which supports this.

Bus Alliance

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. Already, a 9.7% increase in fare paying patronage has been seen, reversing a decline seen over decades.  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, which is increasingly squeezed.
 
Key work areas include:
 
• A full 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;
 
The Alliance has already made a number of achievements since being setup, including:
 
• Scrapping complicated zonal ticketing structure
• Introduction of new 4-weekly young persons’ multi operator ticket
• £19m operator investment in new buses and a further £4.9m OLEV funding through joint bid
• Refresh of all customer information and upgrading of facilities at interchange points
• Bus networks reviews in five areas across the city region
• Enhanced services to Liverpool John Lennon Airport and new 24 hour bus routes launched
• Key Route Network recognised in Alliance governance

Tickets

There are two main categories of bus tickets – operator specific tickets and Merseytravel tickets. Merseytravel tickets such as the Solo, Saveaway and the Trio are accepted on all buses. ‘MyTicket’ allows unlimited travel for young people aged 5 to 18 across Merseyside and Halton and can be bought on board any bus at a cost of just £2 a day.

Our smart ticketing scheme, Walrus, was launched across the whole Liverpool City Region in March 2015. Saveaway and Solo tickets are now available on Walrus from Merseytravel Travel Centres and at any PayPoint outlet in Merseyside. Operator-specific tickets for Arriva and Stagecoach are now also available on the Walrus card and can be bought directly from the driver, along with our own One Day Solo ticket.
 
Our plan is to further develop the ticket range available on Walrus and the ways in which people can buy tickets.
 
Like Oyster in London, Walrus is the only smartcard for the Liverpool City Region, and we will continue to work with operators to fully integrate their tickets with the Walrus card giving customers more choice and flexibility when buying tickets.

Bus stops and shelters

Merseytravel is responsible for the maintenance of the bus route infrastructure including timetable information at the stops. We encourage people to report any damage to a stop or shelter or any missing, damaged or incorrect information.  The easiest way to do this is to ring 0151 330 1571 with details of the stop.

Journey information and planning

Merseytravel is responsible for producing bus timetables for every local bus service in Merseyside. It also prints and maintains the bus timetable posters at bus stops and shelters– 6,200 across Merseyside. Timetables at bus stops across the Liverpool City Region have recently undergone a revamp to make it easier for customers to use them, with an increased font size on individual departure times and extra information such as “Where to board your bus” listings.  New bus stop flags which show the name of the stop and key locations served have been introduced over the past year.
 
Bus times tend to change on 4 dates per year – in January, April, July and September. We always try to display accurate and up-to-date timetable information, but timetable changes mean that several thousand stops might need updating at once. We try to make these changes as quickly as possible but there may be a delay in getting updated timetables displayed at stops. The website is the place to go for the most up to date information.

We are also looking at other ways that we can make it easier for people to plan their journeys. The Merseytravel mobile app is available in both the App Store and Google Play store and our online journey planner can also be accessed from our website. Some Real Time Passenger Information screens have also been installed at key sites across the bus network.

Bus Network Reviews

Starting in May 2016, Merseytravel has been co-ordinating a series of bus network reviews across the Liverpool City Region, looking at each district to see how the network can meet the modern needs of the public.
 
The reviews are one of the key work areas of the Bus Alliance which is seeing Merseytravel, Arriva and Stagecoach work together to transform bus services to encourage more people to take the bus. However, network reviews involve all bus operators working in the area that is under review.
 
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 and new developments and how they are served.
 
Part of the review has been looking at the current supported bus network, those services publically subsidised through Merseytravel as they aren’t considered viable to run on a commercial basis, and considering how increasingly limited public resources can be focused where there is most need.
 
A consultation process involving members of the public and key stakeholders, which saw a number of drop-in events and an online survey in each district, has helped to shape the reviews.
 
Impacts of changes and removal of services have been mitigated by re-routing some existing commercial services where possible to negate the need for a service supported by public funding. The proposals endeavour to ensure that everyone living in a built-up area is within reasonable distance of a bus service.
 
You can find out more about our bus network reviews at www.merseytravel.gov.uk/busreview

Quality Bus Network

Merseytravel works with the local authorities to make improvements to key bus routes. The ‘Quality Bus Network
aims to make bus travel more convenient and quicker by: 
 
• Making buses more regular during the day by coordinating timetables between different operators
• Improving facilities at bus stops, providing better information and improved access.
• Ensuring drivers can accept daily and weekly tickets from other bus companies on Quality Bus Network routes
• Working with local councils to make improvements to the highways
 
There are currently seven routes on the bus network in the Liverpool City Region that come under  the Quality Bus Network.

Bus priority measures

Merseytravel works together with the local authorities in looking for ways to make sure public transport is able to get around the region efficiently and provide a quality service for the general public.
 
While Merseytravel does not maintain the local highways, it does work with the councils to make sure they are kept to a good standard, making it easier to manage the flow of traffic.
 
The Key Route Network is a network of important roads which link up the Liverpool City Region.  The routes reflect key bus routes and corridors and enable bus routes and punctuality improvements to be looked at across traditional district boundaries.

Merseytravel, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Tel: 0151 330 1000  |  Fax: 0151 330 1234