Discounts for local
Mersey Tunnel users and budget savings to the Combined Authority
REDUCING the level of funding from
the local authorities for Merseytravel's operations, discounts for Mersey
Tunnels' Fast Tag users and a freeze on cash tolls were supported by the
Merseytravel Committee at its meeting.
Members considered Merseytravel's budget recommendations which include
reducing the transport levy for the second year running on local authorities
from £113.7m 2015/16 to £105.4m for 2016/17, which equates to a reduction of
over £22 million in the last 2 financial years.
These savings have been made possible through reduced operating costs and
additional income generated by Merseytravel as part of its medium term
Savings have also been made through efficiencies over a number of years
including more efficient service delivery and savings in our commissioning
and procurement processes.
As part of the budget setting process, Merseytravel also agreed its
Corporate Plan for next year and identified improving connectivity for the
City Region, developing a City Region Bus Strategy, delivering its own
transport services effectively, promoting affordable public transport and
supporting the Combined Authority as its 5 key priorities for next year.
At the same meeting, Members also supported four proposals regarding the
Tunnel Tolls and a £27.8m grant to Merseytravel for the safe operation and
management of the tunnels on behalf of the Liverpool City Region Combined
A task group, set up at the request of the Combined Authority to review the
Tunnel tolls, put forward recommendations that form part of the proposals
regarding the tolls for 2016/17.
The proposals include a freeze on cash tolls, increasing the Fast Tag
discount by 20p for Class 1 vehicles; with proportionate discounts for
other classes of vehicles, allowing all emergency services liveried vehicles
free travel through the Mersey Tunnels and free travel for all users between
10pm on 24 December and 6am on 26 December each year in recognition that
public transport services are not available during these times.
Said Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of the Merseytravel Committee:-
"It has been our policy for many years to drive down costs and as a result
significantly reduce the levy required from the Combined Authority while
still demonstrating value for money. As a result, councils are able to
retain more funds to support directly delivered services at a time when
they, like all public bodies, are being required to do more with less. This
year's budget proposals reflect that commitment as we have reduced the levy
again this year, and by 17% over 2 years, and we have a package of proposed
savings measures for consideration. Merseytravel has achieved this by making
significant savings in the cost of managing our assets and in the operation
of our direct services. We are also looking to retain the resources we need
to deliver our corporate priorities for the benefit of the Liverpool City
Region from taking forward big infrastructure projects to further developing
smart ticketing and our work in improving Merseyside's connectivity through
Transport for the North. In relation to the Mersey Tunnels, the
proposed tolls will result in savings and targeting discounts through the
Fast Tag scheme is the best way to help regular and local users. The savings
for even infrequent users are still significant at the rates of discount
that are being recommended and I would urge all Tunnel users to consider
Fast Tag even if they are not using them every day."
As the Mersey Tunnels are now assets of the Liverpool City Region Combined
Authority, it will consider the recommendations made by the Merseytravel
Committee and take a final decision on the level of tolling and budget
setting at its meeting.