Liverpool to press ahead on franchising plans

The Liverpool City Region is moving ahead with plans for major reform of its buses involving services being taken back into public control.

The Combined Authority has voted unanimously to confirm franchising as the region’s preferred future model for running the bus network and services – a move that would reverse the industry’s deregulation in the mid 1980s.

More than 80 per cent of journeys on the city region’s public transport network – over 400,000 a day – are made by bus, providing many people with a lifeline to connect them with work, friends and family.

The franchising move is a part of Liverpool city region mayor Steve Rotheram’s plan to reform the region’s transport by building a London-style system that aims to make travelling in the region quicker, cheaper, greener and more reliable.

Under the plans, buses would integrate better with other modes of transport, including the region’s new fleet of publicly-owned trains, and ticketing would be upgraded with the introduction of a tap-and-go system with daily fare caps that will mean passengers always pay the cheapest fare.

Steve Rotheram says: “Good public transport is the hallmark of any modern, successful city region and buses are its backbone. Hundreds of thousands of people rely on our region’s buses every single day. They are a lifeline for connecting people in our communities with each other and opportunity.

“But too many feel left behind by a system that simply does not work for them. In too many places, public transport is too confusing, too unreliable, and too expensive. Liverpool City Centre can sometimes feel as far away as London.

“Thanks to devolution we have the power to roll back the 1980s and reverse four decades of disastrous deregulation. We’re taking back control of our bus network and running it in the interests of local people – not private shareholders.”