Merseytravel has led the development of the Transport Plan for Growth
. The five year delivery plan looks at transport from a new perspective, aligning both Local Transport Plans for Merseyside and Halton. It sets out the City Region’s strategic vision for transport, whilst also taking into account the national high-level economic policy drivers of localism, devolution of power, and growth. It sees transport as an enabler for growth, connecting people and places. Crucially, it promotes greater joint working with other sectors within the City Region to develop areas such as freight and logistics, housing and land-use planning, economic development and regeneration, employment and skills and health and wellbeing.
Merseytravel, on behalf of the Combined Authority, has developed a long term rail strategy
. It details the schemes that will support and grow the Liverpool City Region economy over the next 30 years by improving links within it and to cities and towns further afield. It demonstrates ‘big picture’ thinking by Merseytravel and the City Region as such strategies are not traditionally driven by local bodies. The strategy ensures that transport planning is intrinsically linked to economic planning. It includes taking forward such projects as the Halton Curve to connect the Liverpool City Region with Cheshire and North Wales and a new Merseyrailfleet to carry significantly more passengers and on a potentially extended network, running to places such as Warrington and Crewe.
Merseytravel has an essential role in getting the Liverpool City Region at the top table when it comes to transport matters of local, regional and national significance. Merseytravel is, on behalf of the Liverpool City Region, leading on the ‘Linking Liverpool’ Campaign. While the campaign started out with a narrow remit of securing a direct high speed link to Liverpool, the subject of improved northern connectivity through Transport for the North within the context of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ has since come to the fore, with a push for improved rail links north south and east west. The Liverpool City Region is calling for a new rail link between Liverpool and Manchester which connects onto the planned HS2 network – boosting journey times and freeing up freight capacity on the existing rail infrastructure.
Merseytravel’s championing of the importance of adequate capacity for freight has led to Merseytravel being chosen to lead the freight and logistics element of the Transport for the North strategy and delivery plan. Ensuring that freight from the growing SuperPORT can be adequately accommodated on rail is of interest not only to the Liverpool City Region, but also Manchester and towns and cities right across the east-west corridor and beyond.
Rail North, which includes representation from Merseytravel, led work across the northern cities to develop the specifications for bidders for the new Northern and TransPennine franchises that started on 1st April 2016. The aim was for more local control and influence to get a better deal for customers, driving up standards.
As a result, the new franchises will see updated fleets with more capacity, replacement of the old Pacer trains, and free Wi-Fi, as well as additional services including a new direct service to Scotland from Liverpool.