The majority of respondents (nearly 70%) to a consultation on Liverpool City Region’s bus services have reportedly voted in support of the mayor and Combined Authority’s proposed franchising scheme.
Franchising means bus services would be brought under local control.
The 12-week consultation was engaged with by more than 6,000 local residents and saw feedback from stakeholders, bus operators, and local businesses.
The authority and independent transport consultants AECOM have reviewed, analysed and summarised the responses.
Nearly 70% supported franchising, with the same proportion expressing that bringing buses back under public control will lead to improvements across the bus network.
If the scheme goes ahead, Liverpool City Region would become the second area outside of London to take control of its bus network since the 1980s, when services were deregulated by Margaret Thatcher’s government.
The mayor will make a decision following a discussion with local leaders later this week.
A recent report concludes that franchising offers the best opportunity for the Combined Authority to deliver on its ambitions laid out in its Bus Service Improvement Plan.
Some of these aims include quick and reliable journeys, an integrated bus network, simpler ticketing, good value fares and an emission-free fleet.
Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region mayor, said: “Around 82% of all public transport journeys are taken by bus in our region – that’s 400,000 journeys every day.
“They’re a vital public service that connects people to opportunity and to each other. For far too long, passengers in our area have been forced to contend with a second-class service that’s too confusing, too expensive and too unreliable.
“…The public have made their feelings loud and clear and next week we’ll be taking a really important decision on the future pathway for our region’s buses. Fixing the bus network is central to my ambition to deliver an integrated, London-style transport network that’s faster, cheaper, cleaner and more reliable.”
Operators would be commissioned by the Combined Authority to operate the routes, replicating the model in place in London and as is being implemented in Greater Manchester.
What’s more, the scheme would see buses bettere integrated with other modes of transport.
If franchising goes ahead, a three-year transition period would occur to allow network improvement measures and infrastructural adjustments, such as the introduction of bus lanes.
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