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Publication date:- 2017-01-27

user-generated Headlines and reports on this page = 3 news items.    Page - 11.

Merseytravel seeks feedback on bus network
Report by Airida Balciunaite and Aleksandra Smirnova

ON Monday, 23 January 2017, Merseytravel held a public survey, within Southport Train Station, to carry out a survey, on a bus review, with the aim of getting more people to use the public transport and create a better experience and atmosphere for the public. Merseytravel wants to increase the use of public transport and make a targeted investment into the business that provides public services, including the bus networks, in and around the Liverpool City Region.

As we are doing our work experience in Southport Reporter, 1 of our tasks was to find out more about the bus services in Southport and surrounding areas. To do this we also did a small survey, which was based on the public transport in the area. We wanted to find out what people think about it and get the views on the bus or other public transport services in Southport area.

During this we asked a small random section of people a few questions to find out their opinions. It will be interesting to see if they are close to what the results of the Merseytravel survey reveal once they finish the consultation. Incidentally if you would like to find out more information about what Merseytravel are doing, visit:- Merseytravel.Gov.UK and look out for the:- 'Local Bus Service Review.'

In Southport, our findings show that most people who we questioned use, or have used recently, public transport. The bus operator who operate the most bus routes, appears to be Arriva with Stagecoach just behind.

The people that we questioned were all from different age groups, who mostly visited Southport Town Centre, for leisure or shopping purposes. Also, the greater part of questioned people said that they use the public transport at least 5 days in a week but some of them don't use it at all, because they have cars or live in or near the Town Centre. However, mostly these were under the age of 19 and age 36 above. We will stress our survey was very small, so no real conclusions can be obtained, but it is an interesting guide.

Further, we found out that the public finds it easy to collect the information, due to access to bus time tables on the internet or the app that has recently been introduced to public. As well as that, mostly people were satisfied with the service and believed that no improvements should be made and that the pricing is excellent as it's so cheap.

On the other hand, we also received some suggestions as to improvements which could be done to create a better experience for the customers.

1 of the suggested improvements was to keep all the public transport cleaner, but especially the buses. For example, there was a suggestion that people shouldn't be eating in the buses. Another beneficial change which could be made is to make the public transport prices a little bit lower because some of the people said that fares are too high. Also, it would really impact the consumer experience if the buses were more reliable and that they shouldn't be as late as they are usually. The last idea is of Wi-Fi network on the buses because as some people have said, some of the public transport doesn't have any Wi-Fi network at all.

It looks like Merseytravel are doing well overall, but some small tweaks to its services are required, which were suggested to us, via the people we questioned along Lord Street this week. If done well, the improvements Merseytravel hope to bring about could make a huge impact on the demand by customers and to their experience of the public transport. That can and will have a very positive impact on the local community in and around Southport, alongside enhancing facilities for tourists visiting the area. Like the easy to use ticket systems, that will speed up things for those getting on buses and trains.

We did a quick pole on social media and there is no surprise that only 5 people responded, however, we shouldn't forget the fact that the survey was on for 15 hours, so this might impact the amount of response. The pole was based on how many people filled in the Merseytravel online questionnaire, we had 60% people who were not interested and 20% who said that they completed it and 20% who said that they haven't completed it.

Please let us know what your views are on the Bus and Train connections to Southport, via emailing us to:-

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