Moving Buses Forward

Bus Franchising Network Review

St Helens bus network engagement is now closed, thank you to all who took part.

Following a major public consultation in summer 2023, Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram made the landmark decision to move to a bus franchising model in the region, bringing bus services into public control.

Before franchised services is rolled out across the region, we’ll be asking people for their views to help shape the future of the bus network.

We would like to know how often you currently use the bus for particular types of journeys and what changes or improvements you would like to see.  


Help us shape the future of your bus network

Bus franchising will give the city region greater control over fares, routes and timetables, allowing the services to be operated in the interests of local bus users, with surplus profit reinvested into improving services.

The bus network will also be better integrated with other modes of transport, like the region’s new fleet of state-of-the-art publicly owned trains. Tap-and-go ticketing and daily fare caps will also be rolled out, meaning passengers will always pay the lowest price for their journey

Under the new plans, private operators will be contracted by the Combined Authority to run bus services – this is the system that exists in London and the one currently being introduced in Greater Manchester.

To ensure a smooth transition, franchising will be introduced in phases starting in 2026. It is planned that the move to a fully franchised system across the whole of the Liverpool City Region will be complete by the end of 2028.

Have Your Say on Bus Franchising

People will be invited to make their voice heard about services in all the boroughs of our region – Halton, Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.

There will be five franchise rounds.

The geographical split of the five franchise rounds is shown below, but it should be noted that individual services will cross from one round to another.

  • Round 1 St Helens
  • Round 2 Wirral
  • Round 3 Sefton
  • Round 4 North Liverpool & North Knowsley
  • Round 5 South Liverpool, South Knowsley & Halton

We’ll be asking you to tell us how you think bus services could be improved by taking part in an online survey or attending in-person events being held across the region.

In early 2024, we gathered feedback on the St Helens bus network. We will asking for people’s views on other areas of the network in the coming months.


Liverpool City Region map with all five boroughs highlighted

Moving Buses Forward: The Story so far...

Buses are the backbone of the Liverpool City Region transport network. Over 400,000 journeys every day are taken here by bus, more than 8 in 10 of all trips by public transport. In communities across our region buses connect people to work, to school and college and to the shops and leisure activities.

That’s why we need to build a bus network that works for everyone with services that are more reliable, efficient and affordable.

In 2023 a major public consultation was held on the future of bus services in the Liverpool City Region, with people being asked to have their say on how the network should be run.

Over 6000 responses were received with almost 70% of those respondents supporting the introduction of franchising and saying the believed it would have a positive impact on future bus network improvements.

After careful deliberation and analysis of the results, in October 2023 Mayor Rotheram took the landmark decision to take back control of our bus services, reversing nearly 40 years of deregulation.

Further Information

For more information on the Liverpool City Region Bus Franchising Consultation, please see documents below

Bus Franchising Consultation Documents

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