Franchising is ‘lead option’ for Liverpool says mayor

Liverpool is actively considering London-style franchising as it considers options for the region’s bus network. A report from Liverpool City Region metro mayor Steve Rotheram to the combined authority recommends that bus franchising is supported as the ‘leading option’ for the city region’s bus network and services.

The recommendation is based on two-years of work, including a year-long Big Bus Debate, in which local people shared their current experiences of bus travel and what they’d like to see in the future.

“Our communities rely on buses to connect them to work, education and training, family, hospitals and other public services, but too often the current, de-regulated system is letting people down,” says Rotheram. “People have told me through our Big Bus Debate, that buses don’t run at the times they need them, especially early in the morning, late at night and at weekends, and that too many people find the current system to be confusing, unreliable and expensive. This has to change.

“I am determined to deliver a London-style integrated transport system for the Liverpool City Region. There are a number of ways we can achieve that through the powers in the Bus Services Act, but I am clear that whichever model we choose the outcome must be the same: a bus service that is simple, punctual, reliable and affordable. A system that is designed around what we know our communities and our local economy needs, provides people with a genuine quality alternative to the car and helps to tackle the climate emergency. 

“Doing nothing is simply not an option.”

 Further assessment of bus franchising, alongside existing partnerships and an Enhanced Partnership model, will be consulted later in the year.