Steve Rotheram launches big bus debate for the city region

The Big Bus Debate is a year-long public conversation to help inform how the Liverpool City Region’s bus network can be better in the future.

The government is in the process of devolving new powers over how our buses operate and although the city region’s bus network is already one of the best outside London, we know that there are still many ways in which it could be improved.

The Big Bus Debate will help inform how those new devolved powers are used to drive through major improvements to the network and give greater control back to the public sector and bus passengers.

Launched in October 2018 by Steve Rotheram, the Big Bus Debate started with an online survey with over 1,500 responses. It will be followed up in 2019 with face-to-face surveys and focus groups along with conversations with business and community organisations.

The types of improvements identified could include:

  • Smarter, simpler, more affordable, and easier to use ticketing.

  • Quicker and more reliable bus journeys, which spend less time stuck in traffic.

  • Greener buses that help improve air quality.

  • Improving buses so that more car users choose to make the switch.

  • Making it easier to switch between different modes of transport, whether cars, buses, trains, walking or cycling, and to find out information about the options including detailed bus times, in real time.

Liverpool City Region’s bus provision has already seen significant improvements as a result of the Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance.

The Alliance is made up of Merseytravel, Stagecoach and Arriva and has already seen over £40 million spent on introducing newer, more environmentally-friendly buses into the network, as well as improving current buses with better seats, improved bus times, free Wi-Fi and USB charging points. The Alliance is also encouraging car users to make the switch to travelling by bus with the Better By Bus campaign.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“Buses are the backbone of our transport system, with more than 400,000 journeys in our city region every day. Action to drive up quality has already been taken by Merseytravel and the Combined Authority with our major bus operators.

“And while I can confidently say that we have one of the best bus networks outside London, I’m not willing to accept being second best.

“Despite the improvements we have driven through locally, there are clearly ways in which we can continue to improve, including smarter, simpler and more affordable ticketing and quicker and more reliable services.

“That’s why I launched the big bus debate so that people can tell us what they want to see and together we can build we can build the modern, affordable and reliable public transport system that our city region deserves.

“There are a number of different options for change and I will examine each of these carefully, in the light of what people tell us through this debate, to determine which one will deliver the greatest improvement for fare paying passengers.”


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