St Helens residents to have say on future bus services under franchising

Publish date

Monday, February 19, 2024


  • Borough to spearhead introduction of new franchised services
  • Bus reform programme will give greater public control of fares, routes and timetable
  • Four-week public engagement starts today
  • In-person roadshows being held across St Helens plus online survey

St Helens residents are being asked how buses could be improved ahead of the biggest shake up to the Liverpool City Region’s network in almost 40 years.

Last year Mayor Steve Rotheram made the landmark decision to take back control of bus services in the Liverpool City Region following the recommendation of local authority leaders. The decision followed a major public consultation in which around 70% of people backed plans for franchising.

“Hundreds of thousands of people in our area rely on buses to get about every day, with 82% of all public transport journeys taken by bus.

“Franchising is the biggest shake up to our region’s buses in four decades and, while it will take a few years to reregulate the entire network, the change will be transformational. We will have greater control over fares, tickets and routes to ensure that services are run in the best interests of passengers – not shareholders.

“We’re taking back control of our network and putting our buses back where they belong: under public control. It is another massive step forward on our journey to building an integrated London-style transport network that will make getting around our region faster, cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable.”

Steve Rotheram

Mayor of the Liverpool City Region

The Combined Authority today starts four weeks of public engagement with people being invited to take part in an online survey or attend one of seven in-person roadshows being held across the borough. St Helens is set to become the first area to introduce bus franchising as part of a phased introduction from 2026.

Residents will be able to give feedback on bus connections they would like to see and potential future improvements to the network. The survey will also ask people to suggest changes that might encourage them to uses buses more frequently.

The Combined Authority will now deliver a franchised bus service for the region that will allow greater local control over fares, routes and timetables, with services operated in the interests of passengers and surplus profit reinvested into improving the network.

A fully franchised system is expected to be in place across the whole of the city region by the end of 2028.

In the coming months people will also be invited to make their voice heard about services in – Halton, Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton and Wirral.

“Buses are the backbone of the public transport network here in St Helens – tens of thousands of residents every day use the bus to travel to work, school and college, to the shops or to see family and friends.

“We need a bus service that is affordable, reliable and works for everyone in our region, which is why last year Mayor Rotheram took the important decision to undo nearly 40 years of deregulation and bring bus services under local public control.

“Now we’re asking people in St Helens and beyond to let us know what they want to see from new, franchised bus services in the borough.

“Whether you take part in the survey online, or attend an in-person roadshow session, we want to hear from you.”

Cllr David Baines

Leader of St Helens Council

The St Helens bus franchising engagement will run from Monday 19th February until Sunday 17th March

The online survey is available at

St Helens franchising roadshow events will be taking place at the below locations on these dates:


Mon 26 Feb

St Helens Travel Centre
Bickerstaffe Street, WA10 1DH

Tues 27 Feb, Thurs 29 Feb

Opposite Cassandra’s Coffee House
St Marys Arcade, WA10 1AR

Fri 1 March

Earlestown Market
Earlestown, WA12 9AQ

Mon 4 March

Chester Lane Library
Four Acre Lane, WA9 4DE

Tues 5 March

Rainford Village Hall
34 Church Road, WA11 8HB

Weds 6 March

St Andrews Church Hall / The Hub
Dentons Green, WA10 6RU

Thurs 7 March

Haydock Library
Church Road, WA11 0LY