Pioneering approach to
transform bus services in the Liverpool City Region gets the
PEOPLE actively choosing to take
the bus, rather than using it because they may have no choice about how to
travel, is the drive behind a pioneering approach to transform bus services
that Merseytravel Committee Members approved on Thursday, 3 December 2015.
Merseytravel will now enter into a formal 'Bus Alliance' initially
with operators Arriva and Stagecoach; who together operate 90% of
commercial bus services in the Liverpool City Region; focused on growing
the number of fare paying passengers, improving customer satisfaction and
driving up investment for the benefit of all who use bus services.
The ambitious growth targets of a 10% increase in passenger journeys; the
equivalent of over 9 million more journeys; by April 2017, will be 1 of
the first of their kind in Britain.
With 80% of public transport journeys in the Liverpool City Region being
made by bus, but only 10% of these being commuter journeys, there is
potential for bus to play a much more significant role in growing the City
Region's economy, better linking people with jobs and opportunities.
The Bus Alliance will take a City Region wide approach looking at matching
bus routes to demand, the clarity of fare structures and value for money,
the quality of vehicles, how easy it is to get information, reliability and
punctuality of services and the standard of customer service.
As part of the Devolution Deal, and subject to the emerging Buses Bill, the
City Region has been given the ability to franchise bus services that
secures powers similar to London and many other European cities.
While a business case for franchising is being developed, it is expected
that if a decision was taken to enact the powers it would be a number of
years before it could be introduced. The Bus Alliance will enable
improvements for customers now.
Key work areas will include:-
► Increased levels of investment in new and
► All new vehicles to have Wi-Fi and at seat USB charging points, and an aim
for existing buses to have Wi-Fi + USB retrofitted.
► Development of a clear point of contact for dealing with customer
► Development of City Centre Bus Routing strategy, making journeys quicker
and more direct.
► A review of the City Region bus network, ensuring a clear network that is
easier to understand, encourages growth and is less reliant on public
► Improved bus links to and from John Lennon Airport to Liverpool South
Parkway and the City Centre.
► Streamlined service changes from January 2016, with only 3 change dates a
year, common to all operators. This makes bus services more stable and will
allow information to be updated more easily for the benefit of customers.
► Review of zonal structures and pricing to make ticket buying more simple.
► Review of all customer information including further development of Real
► Development of an approach to better integrate bus and rail.
► Delivering new bespoke Customer Service training for all drivers
The Bus Alliance will look to build on the good work that has already been
achieved such as investments in fleet by the operators and joint work with
Merseytravel to improve the cleanliness of buses.
The introduction of the £2 all day bus ticket for young people, MyTicket,
and the increase in age eligibility for young people's fares, up to and
including the age of 18 across much of the network, is a particular recent
success with the City Region now having the best young people's ticketing
offer for bus outside of London.
In addition, work with operators has already made our Walrus smart ticketing
scheme the most active scheme outside London.
The Bus Alliance will take this work to the next stage through an investment
plan to deliver even more improvements for customers. Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel
told us that:- "Giving the green
light to this pioneering approach to bus means we can make meaningful
improvements now, working to make it a mode of choice rather than last
Rail gets the attention but eight in 10 public transport journeys in the
Liverpool City Region are actually made by bus. Bus is arguably more
flexible and improvements can be made, and noticed, much more quickly.
Together with operators, we have a real chance to do things differently,
benefitting customers and the wider economy, building on what we've already
achieved with young people's tickets and smart ticketing."
Said Gary Nolan, Regional Director North, Stagecoach UK Bus:- "We are
pleased to be part of the Alliance, and working together with our partners
will provide greater momentum to further improve the quality of bus services
across the City Region."
Commenting on the formation of the Merseyside Bus Alliance, Phil Stone,
Regional Managing Director of Arriva North West and Wales said:- "The
Merseyside Bus Alliance will first and foremost improve bus services for
passengers by setting firm targets for all operators and stakeholders. We
are delighted to be part of a stable partnership which will ultimately
deliver better journeys, new vehicles, innovations for customers, improved
infrastructure and allow us to make longer-term investment plans for
60 schools to benefit
from £3 million investment in mental health
EDUCATION Secretary Nicky Morgan
has joined forces with NHS England to launch a multimillion pound joint
mental health pilot scheme for hundreds of schools, including 60 in the
The Mental Health Services and Schools Link Pilots will test a named single
point of contact in 255 schools and in 22 pilot areas, meaning more joined
up working between schools and health services. This has been backed by £3m
of government funding.
It will mean children and young people have better access to local,
specialist mental health provision, and that support is consistent across
Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, said:-
"Mental health is a key
priority for this government and for me personally. The development of
character, resilience and good mental health is vital alongside academic
success in equipping young people with the skills needed to fulfil their
potential. That's why I'm delighted to see these schools in the North West
engaging in joined up approaches with mental health services to ensure that
children, parents and teachers know where to turn and how to access the best
support for young people with mental health concerns."
Funded jointly by the Department for Education and NHS England, each of 27
Clinical Commissioning Groups are working with at least 10 schools to trial
this new way of working with a named lead across services.
These were chosen from more than 80 applications to receive a boost of up to
£85,000 per area.
The single point of contact in the schools will be responsible for
developing closer relationships with a counterpart in local NHS CAMHS
services to improve knowledge and understanding of mental health issues, and
to help ensure any referrals are timely and appropriate.
They will be supported in the work through a series of training days. The
work will be evaluated nationally to understand the impact of joint working.
Dr Jackie Cornish, National Clinical Director for Children and Young People
at NHS England, said:- "This is an opportunity for CCGs and schools to
work together more closely, trial a new way of thinking and a new model. Our
aim is to significantly improve the care and experience we can offer to
children and young people with mental health problems. We know that if we
can help young people effectively at the earliest possible age we can gain
the best possible outcome for them in the long run and that is why we are
focusing our attention to improve joint working with schools."
This investment is building on a £1.4 billion government investment in
children and young people's mental health over the next 5 years. This is a
key government priority, as part of the drive to put mental health on an
equal footing with physical health.
The pilot is part of the vision set out in the Future in Mind report, which
made a number of proposals on how mental health services could be improved,
including for children and young people.
Minister for Mental Health, Alistair Burt said:- "When a young person
is brave enough to ask for help from their school or doctor, we should never
let them fall through the gap because services aren't in touch with each
other. That is why this initiative is so important. Children and young
people's mental health is one of my personal priorities and these pilots are
part of the biggest transformation to young people's mental health that the
sector has seen."
Plan for office accommodation on Pall Mall
PLANS have been revealed to create
up to 1,000 jobs on the site of a former railway station in Liverpool's
Central Business District.
A report to the Cabinet on Friday, 11 December 2015, is recommending that the
council acquire the 1.2 hectare site on Pall Mall from the Homes and
Communities Agency (HCA) and develop Grade A office space on the land.
It would help meet demand for top quality office accommodation on the edge
of the Central Business District, which was highlighted in the City centre's
15 year blueprint, the Strategic Investment Framework.
The plot, which is currently used as a car park, was previously home to part
of Exchange Street Station which closed in 1977 when the Merseyrail
Underground was completed.
Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet member for regeneration, said:-
"We need more top quality office accommodation in Liverpool and this site is
perfect as it sits right next to the existing Commercial District.
As a growing City, it is vital we have the right office space available in
the right place and Pall Mall is part of a natural expansion of the district
as we look to extend its footprint down towards the waterfront and Princes
This is just one of a number of schemes where we are using former HCA sites
to create jobs and economic benefit for the City. We have already completed
the new Exhibition Centre and Pullman Hotel and are driving forward a plan
for a warehouse and distribution centre at Stonebridge Cross and the film
and TV studios at the Littlewoods Building on Edge Lane.
This is all part of our commitment to making sure Liverpool is a business
The Cabinet meets on Friday, 11 December 2015, to consider the report.