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 Final confirmed changes to Wirral bus network revealed after review

Final confirmed changes to Wirral bus network revealed after review

Published on 01/08/2017

​Following on from the recent public consultation period, changes to bus services in Wirral as part of the on-going bus network reviews, aimed at creating a simpler, clearer network across the city region, have been finalised.

The changes will be implemented on Sunday 3rd September 2017. Changes and improvements to services, some of which are the result of the public consultation, in Wirral include:-

  • Access to Bromborough Industrial estate will now be provided by the 38 service, which will serve a wider range of areas including Birkenhead
  • 124 / 125 service from New Brighton on evenings and Sunday will now go beyond Seacombe and on to Woodside
  • 84 service has been re-routed via Poulton Lancelyn and extended to Heswall, providing more access to Clatterbridge Hospital
  • The 90 route extended to provide service to the Holmlands Estate to fill the gap left by the withdrawal of the 154/155 service 

As part of the review, a number of services which were supported by funding from Merseytravel have been withdrawn, including the 118/119, 286, 901, 293 and most of the 145/146.

Many of the areas covered by the removed routes are well-served by existing commercial services, while new services 1A/1B/1C and 408/409 (a commercial service operated by Arriva) are being introduced to cover areas where there was no alternative provision.

Further work is currently on-going to endeavour to find solutions to some of the other issues raised during the consultations. Full details of the changes can be found on the Merseytravel website at www.merseytravel.gov.uk/busreview.   

Wirral is the latest area to be reviewed as part of a wider review of the whole Liverpool City Region bus network.

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 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 across Wirral and an online survey, has helped to shape the review.

As has been in the case with the other reviews, Impacts of changes 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.

The consultation for Wirral has resulted in adaptations to routes and services beyond those that were originally proposed, including the decision by operator Arriva not to withdraw the 423, which will now be slightly altered instead.

Cllr Liam Robinson, chair of The Combined Authority Transport Committee, which oversees the work of Merseytravel, said:

“The review of the Wirral bus network has resulted in a number of changes which we believe will help to make a clearer, simple bus network for the area.

“We’ve worked hard with operators to devise the new network and have listened to people who live and work in Wirral during the consultations, making some changes to our initial proposals as a result.

“This is another example of us working innovatively through the Bus Alliance to provide cost-effective services, at a time when some areas outside our City Region have communities left with no services at all.

“We do appreciate that some services have been removed and in some cases, people may have to walk slightly further to a bus stop or make a connection to complete their journeys, but where possible we’ve ensured that everyone can access 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 of the Bus Alliance will 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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