Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has confirmed he will step in save Merseytravel funded buses serving schools should it be confirmed that Halton Transport has gone in to liquidation.
Should the company go in to liquidation, 35 bus routes will be severely affected and without intervention from the Combined Authority school children could have been left stranded.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said:
“Buses are vitally important to all of our communities across the city region and I understand the concern the emerging situation with Halton Transport will cause to people who rely on their services and, of course, the workforce affected.
“Merseytravel is responsible for many bus services that serve schools and are operated on its behalf by Halton Transport. I have taken immediate action to ensure that those services will continue to run from Monday morning, should the company go in to liquidation.
“I can’t promise there won’t be any disruption, but I aim to minimise the impact for local people as much as possible and I’d like to thank all my officers and our partners for their hard work in putting contingency arrangements in place so quickly, should the worst happen.
“Traditionally Halton Council have not been part of the Merseytravel area but as they are important members of the Combined Authority, I wanted to make sure we are in a position to act swiftly to ensure that services will be in place from Monday.
“The events of the past 48 hours have strengthened my view that the speed of Halton’s transition into the Merseytravel area needs to quicken so that local people get the same standard of service no matter where in the City Region they live.
“I have explored the possibility of the Combined Authority purchasing Halton Transport to protect jobs and services but unfortunately we are legally prevented from doing so under national legislation.
“More broadly, this situation demonstrates how important it is that we have a sustainable, integrated bus network across the whole city region, with local people’s needs at its heart, rather than the fragmented, deregulated system we currently have.
“That’s why I’m committed to delivering an integrated ‘London-style’ transport system that is affordable, reliable and designed to meet the needs of every community in our city region.
“To this end, next month the Combined Authority will be publishing details of how we will propose to use new devolved mayoral powers to reform our bus services in the interests of passengers.”
Replacement bus services would be operated by Stagecoach and Arriva under Merseytravel contacts.
A spokesperson added, “These are emergency measures developed at very short notice. Wherever possible, Merseytravel will work with bus operators to further enhance these services as the ongoing situation becomes clearer.”
The service numbers of that would be covered are listed below. Further details and suggested alternatives are included on the Merseytravel website.
6, 14, 14A, 17, 61, 201
600, 615, 618, 619, 654, 686
700, 708, 709, 710, 715, 717,
720, 725, 733, 743, 750, 751,
753, 754, 755, 757, 760, 774,
786, 787, 793, 794
The 61 and 201 service formerly run by Halton Transport as a commercial service will be run by Arriva. The 201 service will be an ArrivaClick bus, operating as a normal bus, which will accept cash and the full range of relevant tickets.
For the next two weeks all valid Halton Transport tickets will be accepted on all Arriva services in Halton and throughout the city region.
For customers using the 14 and 17 commercial services, there are alternative services provided by Arriva.
Further information can also be found on the Arriva website.
Customers can also check other operator websites and use the Merseytravel Journey Planner to plan their journeys.