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Liverpool City Region's Transport Infrastructure

Liverpool City Region's Transport Infrastructure

Transport Information

For current transport alerts and travel information visit the Merseytravel website.

"Liverpool City Region has always done things differently, and with transport we make no exception"

Whether for business or pleasure, we’re improving and transforming the ways in which people can move around the region and beyond.

A modern, effective transport system is what defines great international cities (and city regions). Connecting people to employment, education and leisure also supports and grows the economy.

Achieving this is not an easy task, but Liverpool City Region has always done things differently, and with transport we make no exception.

As part of the Northern Powerhouse, we are already delivering better, smarter transport options for those who live and work here.

Working with other northern cities and regions through Transport for the North (TfN) means even greater opportunity for a transport network that reaps benefits on a much larger scale, improving travel, and all the services that go with it, across the whole of the North.

Liverpool City Region’s buses

Buses are the backbone of our transport system, with 82% of all public transport journeys locally being made by bus – that’s 400,000 people every single day.

It is because of this that we’re working to constantly improve them, not only for those who currently use them but to encourage those who don’t, to give it a try and see it as a real alternative to the car. We want it to be real value for money, with quality, cleaner, greener buses, reliable services and easy to understand journey planning and smart ticketing.

Our pioneering, award-winning Bus Alliance, a formal partnership between Merseytravel and the area’s two biggest operators, Stagecoach and Arriva, has already allowed us to address a number of challenges and reverse the national trend of falling bus use.

The number of bus journeys young people are making across our city region has risen by 168% thanks in no small part to the day ticket, MyTicket, which allows unlimited day travel across Merseyside for those aged five to 18. We have also secured half-priced bus travel for apprentices aged 19-24, removing one of the key barriers we identified as prohibiting young people from undertaking vocational training.

While we are rightly proud of the progress we have made with buses, we are not stopping here.  We will be using our devolved powers given to us in the Bus Services Act 2017 to drive through further improvements on our bus network, to ensure fare-paying passengers get the best value and service.

Liverpool City Region’s trains

We’re seeking investment in both our trains themselves and the infrastructure to open up the network to more people and places across the city region.

New trains for the Merseyrail network

Our current fleet of trains have been on the Merseyrail network the since the late 1970s. They’re getting more expensive to maintain and won’t be able to cater for future passenger growth.

The new state-of-the-art trains, being built by Swiss firm Stadler as part of a £460 million programme led by Merseytravel on behalf of the Metro Mayor and City Region Combined Authority, are due to start running in 2020.

The project will also bring a direct economic boost to the City Region estimated to be around £70 million per year, plus 1,000 new jobs, as well as supporting wider economic growth.

Halton Curve

New services will unlock leisure and business opportunities between the Liverpool City Region, its airport, Cheshire and North Wales – made possible through the re-signalling and upgrading of 1.5 miles of existing single direction track on the ‘Halton Curve’. Services between Chester and Liverpool Lime Street, using the Halton Curve, are due to commence in May 2019.

Liverpool Lime Street station

We have worked closely with the rail industry to bring about a significant improvement to the station that allows for more frequent services to existing and new destinations. Completion of a new and re-modelled platform and re-signalling now means that there’s capacity for two services per hour to London, with planned direct services to Glasgow from May 2019 and to Edinburgh from December 2019.

Maghull North

The newest station on the Merseyrail network was opened in summer 2018. It improves access to the Merseyrail network for local people, helping reduce pressure on the older station in the town and supports the proposed new housing developments, which will see over 1,500 new properties built in the area.


The station has been transformed into a transport hub with a new bus interchange, 340 more car parking spaces, new booking hall, lifts, subway and stairs. It will help local people capitalise on Newton-le-Willows’ enviable position of being halfway between Manchester and Liverpool, helping open up leisure and employment opportunities in both city regions. It builds on the recent electrification of the rail line, which means that journeys between Liverpool and Manchester can take as little as 30 minutes.

Alstom Depot

We have invested £3.4 million with Alstom, to help create a new train maintenance and repair facility at Widnes. This is also creating new jobs, as apprentices at the depot receive highly skilled practical training in partnership with a local college, to give them a life-long career in engineering.

Intercity rail

We are committed to ensuring that our city region has the connectivity it needs to grow our economy and build the foundations for future prosperity. That’s why it is essential for the Liverpool City Region to have the very best connections between the North of England, the rest of the UK and to the world.

We are working hard to ensure that Liverpool City Region is fully connected to the HS2 network via a new twin-track line between Liverpool and Manchester as part of Northern Powerhouse Rail. This will to meet capacity needed for the doubling in passenger numbers by 2040, meaning faster journeys, and will free-up space on the existing network to make the most of investments in the freight and logistics sector in the city region.

Evidence shows that linking Liverpool to HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail in this way will generate an extra £15 billion boost to the city region’s economy, including 24,000 new jobs, 11,000 new homes and 3.7 million more visitors every year.

We continue to work with partners from the business and social enterprise sectors to make our case for full connection to Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 through the Linking Liverpool campaign.

Mersey Ferries

Our iconic Mersey Ferries are an essential part of the Liverpool City Region’s rich and diverse history.

They have been serving local residents throughout their 800 year history in many different formats, providing vital commuting and trade links between Wirral and Liverpool. The Ferries offer a unique cross river transport service that offers significant resilience to our other modes of transport across the region.

The world famous ferries provide daily cross river commuter services at peak times, as well as River Cruise Explorer services. In addition, we offer the fantastic Manchester Ship Canal, Summer Evening Cruises and themed music cruises providing guests with unique experiences that are not to be missed.

The Mersey Ferries have a special place in all our hearts and through our Mersey Ferry Long-Term Strategy we are looking to safeguard their future for generations to come through major investment. The strategy focuses on maintaining a cross river transport link, and utilising vessels in their spare time in the leisure market. This will hopefully be achieved through a range of key interventions, including investment in new vessels and the land based infrastructure.

Learn more

Affordability & Concessions

The cost of transport remains a big concern for customers. Therefore, offering an affordable range of travel options remains a key priority for Merseytravel.

Merseytravel sets fares for the Mersey Ferries and the supported bus services we run. We have historically set the Mersey Tunnel tolls, with discounts for regular users, but from 2015/16 this became a decision for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Commercial bus and rail operators are responsible for setting their own fares, but we’re working hard to influence operators to get passengers a fair deal.

This hard work is paying off in the bus sector as over 95 per cent of buses in the Liverpool City Region are now providing cheaper fares for all young people up to and including the age of 18. This has been achieved through initiatives like MyTicket – which for £2.20 offers all day unlimited travel on participating buses.

Liverpool City Region is the first region to introduce this benefit outside London, presenting a standard for other regions to follow within the UK.

In November 2018 a new Apprentice Travelcard was launched offering young people aged 19-24, who are employed on apprenticeships, half-price bus travel across Merseyside. The Apprentice Travelcard allows holders to purchase weekly and four-weekly passes in line with existing Solo fares for under-19s, allowing unlimited travel across the Merseyside bus network and potentially saving users more than £400 a year.

Train operator Merseyrail continues to offer amongst the lowest fares in the country according to the latest figures.

Merseytravel supports schools to encourage pupils and staff to travel sustainably – walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing. It also works with partners to offer assistance to jobseekers that have found it difficult to access employment due to the cost of travel.

Our concessionary travel scheme means that we offer more than is currently required by legislation. People who are eligible for our concession schemes can travel free on buses, trains and use cross-river ferry services. We also offer a concession use of the Mersey Tunnels for a small number of eligible disabled people

Liverpool City Region’s roads

Connecting people and places across the city region is crucial which is why investing in our roads is a key priority for the Combined Authority.

The Key Route Network is made up of roads that are vital in keeping people and businesses on the move, and are key to boosting economic growth in the city region.

Responsibility for the network was devolved to the Metro Mayor as part of the Liverpool City Region’s devolution agreement. The Combined Authority recognised the importance of maintaining these roads, and we have carefully designed our investment programme to support important routes and to boost economic growth, benefitting everyone who lives and works in the city region.

In March 2018, the Combined Authority approved a package of £25 million funding through its Strategic Investment Fund, to improve roads in 15 highway schemes across the six local authorities.

This includes work to improve the condition of the roads, including tackling pot holes as well as upgrades to digital connectivity and bus routes.

In addition, October 2018 saw the allocation of a further £3 million from the Combined Authority, to support maintenance and upgrades to the Key Route Network.

Mersey Tunnels

The Kingsway (Wallasey)and Queensway (Birkenhead) tunnels are major thoroughfares, with about 27 million vehicles travelling through them each year.

The tunnels are the largest in the UK and are key assets for our city region.

The tunnels became assets of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (CA)  in April 2014.

Merseytravel remains responsible for the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the tunnels and procuring and overseeing major infrastructure projects.

Liverpool City Region’s smart transport

Making access to public transport more streamlined and customer-friendly by making ticketing simpler and easier for customers is a key focus of the Combined Authority. Smart technologies will give customers greater choice about when and how they pay for travel, helping them get the best value.

Making access to public transport more streamlined and customer-friendly by making ticketing simpler and easier for customers is a key focus of the Combined Authority. Smart technologies will give customers greater choice about when and how they pay for travel, helping them get the best value.

Liverpool City Region’s cycling and walking network

A 600km network of cycling and walking routes is planned for the Liverpool City Region over the next 10 years.

The network, based on upgrades to 31 key routes, will be planned on a whole city region basis, improving links to the public transport network and between residential areas, employment, training and retail sites.

Two thirds of all journeys in the city region are less than five kilometres, but half of those are made by car and the cycling and walking network is one of the first actions bringing the Combined Authority’s Local Journeys Strategy to life.

Making places walking and cycling-friendly not only reduces congestion, improves air quality and brings significant health benefits, it also has wider economic benefits – boosting inward investment and attracting new talent by helping create the places that people want to live and work in.

The LCR Transport Partnership was successfully awarded £8.3m ERDF Sustainable Urban Development (SUD) funding for the first 55km phase of the cycling and walking network. Match funding for the project is being sought from the Transforming Cities Fund and other contributions will come from the LCR CA’s constituent local authorities.

More policy information

If you would like to learn more about our transport policy or are looking for guidance and procedures to get involved with our transport schemes then please visit our policy documents page. Our policy documents offer detailed information on the various policies.

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