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Issue:- Thursday, 22 September 2016

Headlines and reports on this page = 2 news items.    Page - 5.

Views sought as Sefton bus network review gets underway

RESIDENTS have the chance to give their views on bus services in Sefton as part of an on going review of the whole Liverpool City Region bus network.  Working as part of the Bus Alliance, a formal partnership with operators:- Arriva and Stagecoach, Merseytravel is looking to create a simpler, clearer, and where possible, more direct network that can help encourage more people to take the bus.

Historically bus routes have been considered on a piecemeal basis and the idea is to consider the commercial network and the supported network; that which relies on public subsidy via Merseytravel; as a whole for the 1st time, to ensure it best reflects current working and living patterns and new developments and how they are served.

Part of the review has been looking at the current supported bus network and considering how increasingly limited public resources can be focused where there is most need

As part of this review, we are looking for people to tell us how they use the bus network in the area, particularly any supported bus service.

A series of drop in events are being held, starting next week, where members of the public will have the opportunity to speak to representatives from Merseytravel about bus services across the area. Previous events in Kirkby and St Helens provided useful feedback which helped to inform the changes to the bus network.

There will be 6 drop in events taking place across the Sefton Borough and in Liverpool over the next few weeks:-

Monday, 26 September 2016, 10am to 3pm, in Maghull Central Square.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016, 10am to 3pm, in Crosby Village.

Thursday, 29 September 2016, 10am to 3pm, at Marian Square, Netherton.

Friday, 30 September 2016, 10am to 3pm, on Chapel Street, Southport.

Monday, 3 October 2016, 9am to 5pm, at the Bootle Strand.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016, 9am to 5pm, in Williamson Square, Liverpool.

There will also be an opportunity to provide feedback on bus services in Sefton via an online survey on the bus review pages on the Merseytravel website.  With help from the feedback received from these events and via the Merseytravel website, proposed changes to the network will be drafted and an additional drop-in event and online consultation scheduled to give the public an opportunity to comment on them, details of which will be published on the Merseytravel website.

As in other areas where we've already undertaken these reviews, it is anticipated that we will work with the operators to extend or re-route some commercial services (i.e. those without public subsidy) to cover areas previously served by publicly supported services.

To make the network easier to understand we are also planning for services on the same routes to operate under the same number whatever the time of day where possible.

We will be working with all operators, to ensure that passengers will have alternative provision available within their area if a service is removed or changed. Any changes will come into effect in January 2017.

Further details of the bus network reviews can be found on the Merseytravel website.

Cllr Liam Robinson, Chair of Merseytravel said:- "Sefton is the next area to be reviewed in a series of bus network reviews right across the City Region. Our aim is to create a simpler, clearer and easy to understand network as part of broader plans to encourage more people to take the bus. Through our close working with the bus operators as part of the Bus Alliance we are able to work innovatively at a time when budget pressures are causing other areas to significantly reduce or even remove all their supported bus services leaving some communities without services altogether. Speaking to bus users, both existing and potential, is important as it helps us to find out how we can meet their needs best within budget constraints; something not all areas do."

The Bus Alliance is an agreement between Merseytravel, Arriva and Stagecoach to improve bus travel for people across the Liverpool City Region. In time, it is hoped that other bus operators will join the Alliance. Key work areas will include:-

 A review of the City Region bus network.

►  Investment in new and greener vehicles.

►  On board Wi-Fi and at-seat USB charging points on all new vehicles.

►  Improved bus links to and from John Lennon Airport,

►  Streamlined service changes at set times of year.

►  Simpler ticketing and a review of zonal structures and pricing.

►  Review of all customer information including more Real Time Information.

►  Better integration of bus and rail services.

►  Improved Customer Service training for all bus drivers.

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